Archive for interpersonal relationships

GROUND FLOOR

Posted in writing with tags , , , , , , on January 8, 2017 by kimmy

elevator-pic

Although my imagination tends to embellish more than I care to admit, this time he appeared more handsome and seductive than in my most fevered dreams.

Was it the lazy way he lounged against the elevator wall as it slowly lowered us to the ground, or the gently possessive curl of his fingers around my wrist that made me sweat? I wasn’t sure. The only thing of which I was certain was that my desire would never be satisfied; that this was only another one of our endless erotic preambles that invariably concluded with nothing.

For many years, too many to count, he has prowled my dreams. Like a jaguar, sleek and dark, rousing both apprehension and desire so often that the two chase each other in a never-ending circle. Predator and prey always in motion, neither captured nor capturing. And for all these many years, I blamed myself for not yielding, for not allowing the cat to savage my body and satisfy his need.

But he is and always has been a cruel hunter, not availing himself of easy game, but reserving his attention for only the choicest morsels, those who embody closest his ideal of physical perfection. And I, alas, never conformed to those lofty standards and was, in both life and dream, judged to be wanting.

Yet despite my imperfection, he maintains his irregular orbit. Sometimes so distant that I wither and freeze; and at other times, as tonight, I burn.

And so this chase would continue unabated, as it has done for decades, if not for those fingers snaking around my wrist and his dark eyes prodding me to begin my flight. I suddenly halted the game. The elevator had finally reached the ground floor and it was, at long last, time to exit.

I stepped out and the doors closed behind me, carrying him away to places I neither know nor care. The goddess may be generous and willing to forgive the constant rejection of her bounty, but even She can become weary of the game.

TAKING THE STAND

Posted in fiction, flash fiction, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2010 by kimmy

 

If you had the opportunity to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth about yourself, would you take it?  What if you were denied the right to answer the charges? 

Angie knows all about sanctuary when none is given.  She moved in with her mother-in-law last April after her husband died unexpectedly and left her penniless.  She didn’t intend to stay permanently, but the economic downturn made job hunting all the harder and she had no choice but to rely on the mercy of a woman whom wasn’t known for it.

She put all her possessions in storage and lived in a corner of the guest room.  Given the somewhat formal nature of their relationship, she tried to minimize her impact on the household by keeping a low profile and staying away as much as possible from the mistress of the house.

For that house was not hers and she was reminded of it daily.  Despite paying a good monthly rent, she never felt comfortable using any part of the house save the corner she occupied.  And when her part-time job folded, she was obliged to work from home… an unhappy fix, but one that was forced by necessity.

The arrangement lasted only a few months.  Angie moved out and drove cross-country to Chicago where I met her for coffee on Black Friday.  The Starbucks was packed with shoppers, but we found a table near the window where she spilled her guts and wept.

“She told me I’m a terrible disappointment to her,” she snuffled.  “I infringed on her and I feel awful.”

She wiped her eyes with a blue and white hankie.  An sweet old-fashioned touch fitting for a woman who was completely out of sync with the workings of the modern world.  “Did you apologize?” I asked, knowing full well the answer.

“Of course!  But I had the distinct feeling that she was actually enjoying my discomfort.  She didn’t relax until I started crying.  I think that gratified her.”

I smiled and patted her hand.  “Oh honey, what you don’t know about the failings of human nature is a lot.”

She looked up at me with bloodshot eyes.  “Kimmy, please.   She’s a good woman at heart.”

“No, Angie.  You are a good woman at heart.  She’s an opportunist.”

“That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?  I mean, she’s only recently lost her son…”

“… who  happened to be your husband!  All the more reason to cling to each other, not to act out.”

“Stop judging, Kimmy!  You don’t even know her.”

I nodded.  It was, after all, the least I could do for her.  Yet I wondered why she felt compelled to defend someone who had shown her so little kindness.

“She has been kind; she took me in.”

“She didn’t take you in like a stray kitten, Angie.  You paid her.  You have rights.”

She stopped for a moment and puzzled the idea.  It probably hadn’t occurred to her that she had the ability to lead her life as she saw fit.

“Look, Angie,” I said, leaning in, “you are an adult, not a child.  There’s no need to cower before people who refuse to see you as such.  They are the ones with the problem, not you.”

“But I do have problems.  I’m a mess!  She told me so.”

“No.  She found fault with you for being an independent woman.  You made decisions without consulting her, decisions which impacted her life very little, but her ego a whole lot more.”

Angie looked at me curiously.  “Have I really been behaving like a child?

I smiled, thinking about my own encounters with such people.  “Not anymore than the next person.  But even the worst criminal has a right to defend himself.  You had none.”

Angie smiled back at me.  “I wonder what the verdict would be if I had the chance to exercise that right…” 

We both laughed.  “That’s why it’s so seldom given.”

SOUR GRAPES OF WRATH

Posted in social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by kimmy

Have you noticed what sour grapes people have become?  Just when you’re bursting with happy news, they’re ready with a needle.  When you’ve arranged for a lovely family get-together, someone decides to air their dirty laundry at the table.  When you’re enjoying a beautiful day at the park, some nimrod parks his Escalade, turns up the sub-woofers and lets loose a blue streak of profanity when you ask him to lower the volume.

It would be easy to follow suit and lose your temper, but what would you gain?  The satisfaction of telling off an idiot who doesn’t care what you have to say anyway?  Why blow your cool?  Sacrificing your peace of mind for a battle that cannot be won is pointless.

Why not kick back and enjoy the show?  Cranky people can be highly amusing.  They are so caught up in their reality that they have no idea of what’s going on… like the Three Stooges without the musical track.  

I have often wondered if their nasty bravado is only a façade designed to conceal an insecure nature.  As long as they are huffing, complaining, whining, sulking, bitching, screaming, demanding and threatening, no one will notice what wimps they are.

Of course it’s difficult to remember that when they are in the throes of a hard-core meltdown.  However, it’s only a strategy and one that you are not obligated to play.  In fact, refusing to play along usually sets them off most spiritedly.  It’s quite an experience watching faces turn red and poison spew from mouths that moments before were pledging solidarity.  And the funniest thing of all is that they have no clue how obnoxious and ultimately repelling they are.  They actually believe their strong-arm behavior keeps the herd together.

Who wants to hang out with a mean-spirited foulmouth?  Nobody.  That’s why, in the end, all sour grapes turn to vinegar.

PUT A SOCK IN IT

Posted in musings, rants, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by kimmy

Must I hear another long-winded explanation?  Frankly, it bores me to tears.  Who cares about your painstaking mental processes, I’ve got better things to do.

You think you’re the only one with problems?  This might be hard for you to believe, but the last time I checked you were not the only person inhabiting the globe.  In case you forgot, there are a few (billion) others with agenda just as important as your own.  Try not to take it personally.

Oh, stop pouting!  It isn’t nearly as appealing as you think.  If you want to stage a tantrum, you’ll have to find another audience because I’ve already seen the show.  The scene where you hold your breath and turn blue no longer holds me rapt.  In fact, that’s probably when you’ll find me in the lobby. . . looking for Raisinettes.

WHO, IF NOT I?

Posted in social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2010 by kimmy

Is there some other person responsible for getting things done?  I am supposed to relegate action to another and excuse myself?  Is is better to sit idly and wait upon someone who’s waiting for someone who’s also waiting for someone?  Is this nothing but a line of people endlessly waiting for something to happen?

If so, then it’s a waste of time.  What are we waiting for anyway?  The sky to fall?  The other shoe to drop?  For love, fortune and joy to walk through the door?  For a magic wand to make everything right?

We’re so conditioned to cede our hand that we’ve forgotten how to manage our own lives.  And when we attempt those first uncertain steps toward what we feel is appropriate, we get slapped and forced back in our place.  What were we thinking, that everyone would be overjoyed?  That they’d buy a round of drinks to celebrate our new independence?

Nobody lives inside my head but me.  At the end of the day, I have to account for my actions and weigh them against what I believe is right, not to what I’ve been told is right.   If I conformed to societal dictates, I’d be a mess and just as dysfunctional as it.  Is that what I want for myself?

I must make those changes within that I wish to see without, even if it means facing collective disapproval.  If I sit around and wait for someone’s permission, I’ll be waiting forever.

VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT

Posted in social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2010 by kimmy

When did it become standard practice to regard people as property? 

I was standing in line at the grocery store.  To either side of me were gossip rags screaming the latest in bi-coastal celebrity breakups.  Each one seemed more ridiculous than the next and I wondered if the Midwest was the last bastion of reason and common sense.  Or at least I did until the dowdy housewife behind me started unloading into her cell phone.  “It just makes me sick,” she said while piling frozen Lean Cuisines and boxes of Twinkies onto the conveyor belt.  “I know she’s gonna steal him away from me.”

Given the circumstances, it seemed fitting.  Where else could one feel a sense of cameraderie with the lovelorn if not next to the latest copy of Star magazine?  This particular story, however, did not require any reading.  Before I had a chance to pay and escape with my purchase, she was already onto her next gripe.  “…and after everything I’ve done for him, he owes me!”

That was more than enough.  I grabbed my bags and ran for the exit, hoping the bad juju wasn’t trailing me out to the parking lot.   I felt a cold sweat gather around my neck and I knew why.  It’s only when you’ve been oppressed, that you know the price of freedom.  Which brings me to the point:  When we commit to another person, do we sign our lives away and become their defacto possession?

It seems a strange road, the one that leads from an affectionate joining to the bitter haggling over whom gets whom.  Where along this path did we learn to regard our partners as inanimate objects?  Aren’t people sentient beings who decide their own destinies, or have I lapsed into some idealistic dream again?

I thought about the mindset of the individual who could reduce human value to a commodity which can be transferred or stolen.  Surely their self-esteem must be as low as their regard for others.  Why else would they continue claim possession of a person who has no interest in them?  Or invent highly-charged emotional reasons to justify their action?

In addition, it’s interesting that despite all the posturing and tears, the slaveowner rarely inquires into the feelings of the slave.  Apparently self-absorption doesn’t allow for it.  The only objective is to keep themselves contented, and if that means sacrifice of all others’ needs on the altar of their own glorification, so be it.

It’s ludicrous.  When did we move from gratitude to entitlement?  It’s not a given that we all will have the privilege of experiencing intimate relationships;  there are many who drift through life completely disconnected. They would give their eye teeth for a loving companion.  Yet those of us who have the good fortune abuse it and abase our partners until love is destroyed and only duty remains.

We’ve been told that a solid relationship requires faithfulness in both good and bad times.  Certainly we ought not desert each other just because we’re bored.  However I would argue that those who diminish their beloved in any way have already dissolved the union.   Marriage or other lifelong committment is an agreement between equals, not rank and file.   Once subjugation begins, the loving attachment ends and is replaced by the master/servant dynamic.

That job is a lot harder to quit.  An employer conscious of his role and the rights of his employee will accept a two-week notice.  A lover or spouse who has played the part of CEO will reject it and revert to their dual role of clingy dependent just long enough to get the agitator back in line.  Afterwards, the no trespassing sign is posted and you’d be wise to heed its warning.  We may not care for the sanctity of marriage, but in this country, property rights are defended to the death.

THE FALL GUY

Posted in musings, writing with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by kimmy

If the deed cannot go unpunished and someone has to be blamed, it’s best assigned to the least significant player.  They are expendable.  In that way, conflict with the nearest and dearest is avoided and everyone is free to resume their usual roles.

It really doesn’t matter if those closest are at fault.  To acknowledge their transgression is tantamount to disowning the relationship and that would be dangerous.  Preservation of the status quo is more important than truth, especially when so much time has been vested in it.  Better to labor under false pretenses than to admit failure.

Nobody makes mistakes, or least nobody should dare admit to it.  Mistakes are only made by the weak-minded who forget their primary loyalties, and those who are most recently introduced to the fold.  Newcomers may not be fully apprised of what is expected of them and are prone to stumble. 

If they do, seize the moment and transfer all guilt upon them.  No one really values their opinion and they have so little seniority that their absence will go unnoticed.  If enough disparaging commentary is leveled, their reputations can be permanently damaged, thereby eliminating the possibility of reintroduction to the group.

With responsibility assigned to another whom has been safely removed, resume normal activity.  However, it’s best to remember that with shrinking membership comes the danger that when the inevitable arrives, there will be nobody to blame.