Saturday, February 23, 2013
Asylum Walk (50)
I love my little boy but I don’t enjoy his company. Sometimes I do. He’s like certain very moody friends: delightful in small doses. (Delightful is probably too strong.) What was I thinking? I ask my friends, or I would ask them if any of us could afford to voice what must be on all our minds, I can’t be the only one. How could I expect to find happiness spending virtually every minute (it would be better if he went out occasionally, but he can’t) with someone so selfishly narrow in his interests, so dogmatically boring in his monologues, so petty in his fleeting whims and so cruelly vindictive when these are frustrated even momentarily? It is sheer misery to be with him day after day. It is slow dripping hell. There, I’ve said it. He’ll change, he’ll improve, people tell me, books and TV shows tell me—but can I stand the 20, 30...50 years the promised transformation may take? What if it doesn’t happen at all? Change will come, yes—that law I accept—but why must it be for the better? The signs point elsewhere. His habits degrade while his will to indulge them strengthens. He is soft clay in the hands of advertisers and the interests they serve. They are not the devil, it is not that simple. But they can’t mold anyone I would wish to live with, or even near. Even to imagine my life with him this way feels already like a long sentence. It is like that moment when a fond glance that feeds a fantasy lingers a little too long, takes in too much, and sees the long decay that will consists of endless pitched assaults on each other’s nerves and spirits. Aside from hopeful visions, this is imagination’s other gift: to let the worst fan out in time. It is better by far that we never meet. We could not possibly be good for each other.