This has been an interesting week in the Aaronverse. I think the highlight has been the two hour span last night, where I got to spend a white picket fence style two hour session with my oldest helping with homework. Sure, it was over the phone, crossing two time zones, three states, and discussing math that I either never learned, did not remember learning, or did not pay attention to when I was learning it (and so, had to relearn it). And it was followed by playing a pseudo version of Cards against Humanity online, but it was still bonding at a level that I missed a lot of being a divorced father.
My legs, my left leg specifically, has a build up of fibrous tissue that is painful but I have to wait for the it to heal naturally. Loos like a weird alien has latched on to my leg.
My right hand has gone to sleep, probably due to MS. This is really not good and it is already causing problems with my typing.
Winter also decided to show up to Indiana right at the tail end of February, bringing with it blizzard level snowfall and chilly temperatures, though, not exactly at the same time. Seven inches of snow on the ground outside as I write this, and the temperature is a balmy 271 degrees Kelvin outside (28 degrees Fahrenheit or -2 Celsius for you scientifically lazy peeps), even though it was colder earlier in the week.
I know, I know, I should just let it go and move on with my life. But, the whole situation is bugging me, and I think I am beginning to figure out why.
The indiscretion with the estranged wife aside, one of the accusations that my former friend lodged was that I fed her information, and that it contributed to him not being able to see his kids. On the surface, this was an offhand remark that was overshadowed by the perfectly justified anger that my friend felt about the other issue. However, now that I have gotten past the previous issue, I have had more time to examine this combination claim, and realized exactly the implications of what it means. I must say, I am surprised and dismayed at what it reveals, but I think it does shed some additional light upon his mindset.
Let’s look at the first part. Set aside for a moment that, after she used me to attack my friend that I didn’t want to have anything to do with her and move on to the presumption, for the sake of argument, that I was still in contact with her.
Let’s look at the situation at the time. She had moved to her own apartment north of Indianapolis with her son and daughter. He was living with his mistress who was going through her own divorce (as far as I knew. They weren’t talking to me much, either, as they blamed me for revealing the affair to both her husband and his wife).
In the mean time, I was trying to get my life back together, and was focusing on my own business as much as possible.
In the rare incidences that I talked to anyone, I tried to remain neutral, not give anyone any information that they did not have, and basically just be a friend and not a gossip. At some point, my friend and his girlfriend moved out of town, and I found out soon after from the girlfriend it was because he had spent the night with his estranged wife, and had gotten her pregnant.
At this point, I lost a lot of respect for him. He had not only cheated on his wife, the mother of his son, but also then cheated on his mistress with his wife, gotten her pregnant, and then left town. Frankly, at that point, I would have been content to just cut my losses and let him fade into the sunset. He seemed to be in a self destructive spiral, and there was little I could do about it.
However, the girlfriend told me that I should be patient with him, that he was dealing with a lot of emotional baggage, and I should wait for him to deal with it. So, I did.
I got a message from his ex-wife, asking questions such as where he had moved to. At the time, I was not certain, only that he had left the state. I knew that the divorce had gone from messy to bench warrant contempt of court messy, but there was little I could do to help the situation, so I stayed out of it.
I got a call from the girlfriend’s ex-husband, with similar questions, as his now ex-wife had left him with their daughter. Again, I had no information to give.
Soon after, I found out they had moved to Minneapolis, but I tried to stay out of it as much as possible. Had I been called to testify, I would have had no choice but to do so, but it never came up.
So, in the end, there were a lot of factors in the two divorces, none of which had anything to do with me. First, the fact that my friend got his estranged wife pregnant may have changed the nature of the divorce. I am not a lawyer, and am not fully versed in the laws surrounding divorce in the state of Indiana, but I seem to remember having to certify that my ex-wife was not pregnant. Let’s toss that one out, since I do not know enough to say anything about it.
Next, the fact that he moved out of state without (based on the communication with both exes I got) informing the court, considering there were children involved, could be considered contempt of court.
Finally, that his ex-wife refused or is still refusing to allow him to see his kids is a legal issue that he needs to address and has absolutely nothing to do with me, and is solely between him, his lawyer, the court, his ex-wife, and her lawyer. That he is somehow trying to blame me for it is nothing more that projection.
In summation, he is trying to blame me for telling on him for 1) possibly being in contempt of court, possibly for trying to skirt the divorce laws of the State of Indiana, and 2) for not standing up and fighting for his right to see his kids.
I am sure that, if he reads this, he is going to blow a gasket, get pissed off, swear some sort of petty vengeance against me, but, since I have not once mentioned him by name, it just shows how petty the whole thing really is. Instead of standing up, being a man, and fighting for his rights, he wants to waste his energy and time attacking a handicapped man he has already thrown under the bus just to keep from admitting to himself he made a mistake.
Once again, I have been asked to be patient with him. I was once. I am beginning to think that the second chance I gave him then was all he deserved.
Some of you who know me personally know that I tend to like to argue. While, in my early life, this led to a lot of stress, tension, and headaches for my parents, as an adult, I eventually learned to channel my natural impulses to debate into a more constructive (or, at least, a bit less destructive) use on the Internet.
No, seriously. Arguing on the Internet is a good outlet for me. I found that I argue less with my wife and kids, less with my parents (well, unless it is online, but that is another issue), and less with my ex-wife.
Sometimes, it can be a bit humorous. For the past five years or so, I was an admin on a Facebook debate group about religion and atheism.
But, a few months ago, the group was deleted by Facebook for [reasons]. Oh well. At that point, I decided to try and wean myself off of the debates. I felt a sense of loss, sure, but I felt it was time. I had better things to do with my time, like working on my webcomic, Fred the Dot.
But, I missed it. Rather than get as deeply into it as I had been, I decided to limit myself. A group here, a debate there. Well, one area I started dipping my toe into was Youtube debate.
The first thing that comes to mind is the quote from Episode IV. A hive of scum and villainy. Even so, it has been oddly satisfying.
Recently, I got into a heated debate on a video regarding the portrayal of the LGBT community in games. It devolved into a discussion of how HIV spread. This individual was somehow convinced that HIV and other STIs were caused by (wait for it…) feces, and that anal sex was the cause of it, not just the transmission route. After he launched into insults and the like, I showed him an explanation of how one got HIV from the same website he had been using for his argument against homosexual men.
During the same series of discussions, I had people try to convince me that I worshiped Satan, that each generation could determine meanings for words at their discretion (to which I responded with current slang, and the person got pissed off because he thought I was using nonsense, made up words), and some of the stereotypical lame arguments against homosexuality. What I do with my private parts is none of your damn business (unless a being is involved that does not legally consent), and vice versa, and that is how I feel about everyone.
But, in the end, I realized that it is ultimately not satisfying. Imagine in a game that when you beat the final boss, the boss just stops moving and sits there. That is what it is like to argue online. So, no more. I’m moving on.
Currently in my Steam Library, I have 149 games. Some of them I have never even played. So, I will be playing and reviewing each and every one, one game a week, from now on, posting my progress here. I may even post videos. Who knows! We shall see. Super fun awesome game time!
I think that recent events have caused me to reflect deeply on some very serious issues and concepts in the realm of friendship. Specifically, the foundations upon which a friendship is built.
When people are young, friendships are easy to form, and can be about shared interests, location, schools, activities. As we grow older, there is less and less overlap, as there are fewer and fewer people, for most of us, that live in the same place as we do and also work in the same place, and also do the same social activities. Look at the show “Big Bang Theory”; the four male friends have jobs at the same place, similar interests, and hang out together in their spare time. This is not as common in the real world, unless we make it so. Adult friendships have to be based on conscious choice rather than happenstance.
However, many of us carry childhood and young adult friendships into adulthood. Sometimes, we have to shed these friendships as we grow and change. And, sometimes, these friends shed us before we think we are ready.
Over time, people have come in to and gone out of my life, sometimes easily, and sometimes not so easily. Recently, a person I considered to be a very close friend left my life, probably permanently. I mourned for the lost friendship. It was a hard thing to take. This person and I had been friends for more than a decade.
But, the more I thought about it, the more I examined our past and his present, the more I realized that I hadn’t lost as much as I thought I had. I’m not going to turn this into a post about how horrible he is or was, or how wrong he was, or any such nonsense. What I want to talk about is more a concept I am working on called Friendship Harmony.
If you think of each person as a complex melody, then any two given people will either be discordant or be harmonious together. One can see this in just about any interaction, whether it be work or play. Either people get along or they don’t. And, as people change, they may be harmonious far a while, and then fall out of sync and become discordant. To be honest, I think this is what happened between the two of us.
The hurt that he cited as being the wedge that drove us apart was a ten year old wound that, as far as I knew, had been dealt with at the time. Either it had, and he used it as an excuse for whatever reason, or it hadn’t, and it just took this long for him to get pissed enough to deal with it, in which case he has issues that he refused to deal with. Either way, we became discordant.
And that’s okay. He has his life, and I have mine. I do not hold a grudge, I do not fault him. Mostly, I do not fault him because I do not and cannot know what his motives were behind his sudden change of heart, nor do I have the energy or time to try and guess what they are. If, at some point in the future, when the wounds on both sides are sufficiently healed, maybe we can meet over coffee and discuss it. Until then, I have much more important things to do with my time and energy. We grew apart, and that is good enough for me.
In the mean time, I have other friendships I need to focus on and grow, friends that are close to me that I can spend my time with. Harmonies that are pleasing for both of those involved, and music to make.
Just under eighteen years ago, I was a very different person.
I was nineteen, pretty stupid, brash, trying to take on a world I did not understand with a head full of what I thought were good ideas and a heart that, although true, was influenced more by hormones than experience. I traveled two thousand miles on a half promise from someone who made a lot of promises, many of which were just to impress, not with the intent to actually keep.
In other words, I had thrown my lot in to some bad situations.
Into the midst of this mess, I found myself in desperate need of some real friends. I found a few. One in particular helped me through that period, a good man, and odd man, a kindred spirit, someone I relied on who grew with me and, when I returned home a bit worn and wiser, tracked me down and continued our friendship.
As I said, a very good person at the time.
He was slightly bitter and cynical towards the world, and with good reasons to be. I helped him find work for the company that I had found work with, let him live in our home, in the nursery we had started to build for my unborn child, helped find a sitter for his step daughter while he worked with me, went to bat for him with that sitter when he absent mindedly hemmed and hawed about finding a way to pay her back for the service of watching her day after day. When the time came to move his family complete here, I helped shuttle his belongings here, helped his new wife, pregnant with their child, find a good OB-GYN here. I was a good friend to him, as good a friend to him as he was to me. I enjoyed his tiki birthday party his wife so lovingly put together. I watched him be kind of a pain in the ass to her from time to time, but I knew he loved her. Being a tech guy, I knew what kind of pressures he was under, and what kinds of quirks of personalities he had, as I had them myself.
I shook my head as he was so excited about one thing or another, like a kid in a candy store. For months he would talk about nothing else, then move on to the next thing as if the previous thing had never existed.
When he had a grand plan to take over the company we both worked for, I listened. Sounded good. He was a bright guy, and it sounded like he could pull it off.
Two weeks later, after the boss fired everyone involved (except for the one guy my friend had included in the plan who went straight to the boss with the information) and my friend was able to swing some piece work from that boss, I did not begrudge him. I had other irons in the fire.
When my marriage came unraveled, my friend and his wife were my strong and vocal supporters, even setting me up on a date with on of his wife’s coworkers, helping me through some of the hardest parts of the process.
The beginning of the end happened only five years after we met, even though the end happened ten years later. I had started dating a woman in Ohio, and was anxious for my friend to meet her. I had grown to be friends with the wife of the lawyer who had handled my divorce, a woman half his age, full of energy and who liked to hang out at all hours of the day or night and drink coffee and talk, much as I did at the time. So, deeply enamored by my love from Ohio, I invited them both to Denny’s to meet her. She had to head back to Ohio at midnight, so I thought we would call it a night at that point.
My two friends did not do so. In fact, that was the beginning of their affair.
Soon, the two of them were sneaking off to be together quite frequently, with me being the unwilling confidant to the whole thing. As I was friends not only with the two of them, but with both spouses as well, I ended up in a very uncomfortable position. It all came crashing down a few weeks later, while I was in Ohio with my lady love. The wife of my friend discovered the affair, and demanded that I be the one to inform the female half’s husband. As if the whole thing were somehow my fault and responsibility. She ranted and raged at me until I finally cut the connection to her, and I gave him enough information for him to figure it out on his own.
The whole thing imploded (including, eventually, my relationship with Miss Ohio, albeit for other reasons). And, of course, nearly everyone blamed me. My friend’s wife blamed me because I knew about it. My female friend blamed me because I “told on them”. My friend, I think, blamed me for a similar reason. He almost came to blows with my lawyer in my lawyer’s house (Bad idea, by the way). Everyone got divorced.
And now we come to my big mistake.
During the whole kerfuffle, my friend’s now estranged wife called me, distraught about the whole thing, nearly in tears, and asked me to chaperon while she went out looking to pick up a guy at a bar. I told her I thought it was a horribly bad idea for her to do that, considering they were in the middle of the divorce, and that she was in an emotionally fragile state, and it would just complicate things, and that I didn’t feel comfortable doing that to my friend in the first place. It was bad enough that he was cheating on her, I could not in any good conscience help her, in turn, cheat on him. She convinced me that I could help her from going too far, that she just needed some companionship maybe just needed to go out and be an adult for a while. I finally agreed, more determined to save her from herself than to help her get lucky.
Before you continue, dear reader, know that the contents that lie herein are now ten years in the past, are difficult for me to write, as they detail a betrayal I committed and am ashamed of. I have left all names off of this document and will not allow any comments that include any names to be published. The only reason I write these words at all is to clear my conscience, as a way to atone for my wrong doings to an extent. I am not looking for forgiveness from any of those involved, merely understanding.