Monday, August 01, 2005

What Happened

What happened, part I (my version—I haven't heard his yet)


We had decided Saturday to go to Elmwood Cemetery and The Heidelberg Project on Sunday, the one day Keith has off because he works 6 days a week.  We needed a place that wasn't too far away because we were having dinner at ML's at 6 and picking up Graham.


Keith made breakfast while I worked on Silk Creek Review and in the shower this morning, we discussed an agenda.  We decided to pack our gear at 1:15 and at 1:30 leave so that we would have sufficient time at both places and plenty of time not to be late to ML's.  If we got done early, we planned to go home first and then to ML's.


We packed the car and started out and Keith asked if I knew the way to Camp-O'Fun where I'd theoretically be taking Graham in the morning.  I said, "No, how would I know?"  I probably sounded slightly annoyed (because—HOW WOULD I KNOW?  It's in a new place this year, different from last year or the year before etc.)  I don't live there, never have lived there, and do not know my way around. I literally had no idea at all where this place was or what it was called or anything else about it.


So he said he was going to show me and started driving.


We drove past a woman riding a bike and he made a negative comment about people riding around in their underwear.  (It was not the first remark of that nature).  I turned as we were just coming next to her and she was on my side so I looked closely.  She was wearing something that looked like a bikini top from a bathing suit or a halter top.  It was yellow and had flowers and I looked closely to see if it had bra-like attachments.  It did not.


I said something to him about being a stodgy old man and he said "that's what happens to men when they get old."  I said "that's stupid," and he said, "that's your opinion," and I said, "yes it is, and you could make different choices," he said, "YOU WANT TO CHANGE WHO I AM."  I said, "no I DO NOT," he said, "Yes you do."


And then he said, "here's the school," and pointed at it and I said, "I have no idea how to get here, I forgot to pay attention," (because we were arguing), and he said, "Does that mean you don't want to drive Graham here tomorrow?" and I said, "No, it doesn't mean that, it simply means I don't know where it is," and he said "The whole point of this exercise was for you to see where the school was," And I said, "We could go back and do it over, or better yet, just let me out.  Goodbye."  And I got out.


I attempted to retrace the route we had taken and got very frightened for a while, because I had no idea where we were and all the streets had unfamiliar names.  But I kept walking and hoping I'd recognize something and eventually, I did. 


It turned out it was very simple and had he taken the time to explain it or draw a map or in any other way be nice or helpful, I could have done it with no problem.  But never once did he say, "OK, now, we're turning left at Richard, OK, note that Ridge turns into Waterloo and Waterloo turns into Vernor (?) etc and it's right here at the corner of Waterloo and Cadieux where Waterloo turns into Vernor and also it's right on Kercheval.  If I had driven him somewhere in Baldwinsville like that and then expected him to remember the way, he would have been pissed.  What happened to the Golden rule?  And I couldn't watch because we were arguing.


When I got back, I wrote down the directions carefully and drew myself a map.  At that point, I was still intending to drive Graham to Camp O'Fun both Monday and Tuesday.


1)I was annoyed about the whole showing me the way when he said nothing and pointed out nothing and made no mention of where we were turning or any landmarks.  I was also annoyed that he immediately assumed I did not want to drive Graham and was shirking my duty, which was totally untrue.  (The tone of his voice was angry and negative).  I have a lot of issues with not knowing my way around and hate it when he assumes I know something I couldn't reasonably know.  He had pointed it out in passing once a while before, but I had no idea WHERE WE WERE at the time and didn't even get a look at it, and nothing further was said.


2)I was upset about his remark about the woman in her underwear.  A.  It wasn't true (that is, it wasn't underwear), and  B.  It seemed misogynistic and puritan.  C.  It seemed like a slap at ME, since I would like to be able to be cool and comfortable.


3)I was upset because he told me for the second or third time today, "You want xyz."  That is a form of ABUSE.  No one can know what another person wants, thinks, or feels.  He often says to Graham "you think qrdst or you feel uvw, and he will NOT start saying it to me.  He did not ask me if that was how I felt or if that was what I wanted, he stated it as the truth.


4)It was NOT the truth.  I don't want to change him.  I love him as he is.  I might want to change his OPINION, but it is my understanding and belief that an opinion is not who we are.  For example, when I met him, he told me he was too old to camp, and that he was born too old to camp, but now he camps.  Is he no longer himself?  Is he no longer Keith?


5)If that particular stupid opinion IS ACTUALLY PART OF THE CORE OF WHO HE IS, then I need to reevaluate our relationship.  I am not sure I want to continue to love a man who would invest his heart and soul in putting someone down for riding a bike in a halter top.


6)I was very upset when he said, "The whole point of this exercise . . ." Because of the mean abusive lecturing way he said it (like past abusive partners) and even more so when I saw how simple it really was and how easily he could have just explained it to me.


Richard Chamberlain (or someone) wrote a book called "Don't Sweat the Small stuff."  Any one of those things by themselves would probably not be worth getting too upset about, but they were coming fast and furious, all at once.  And as a poet, I have a problem, in that I tend to see things as symbolic.  I read more into events that they perhaps should have read into them.  As "Courage says, "Sometimes dirty dishes are just dirty dishes."  [And not symbolic of an uncaring partner, for example.]  My problem is, when he acts abusive, even in relatively small ways, I am afraid it's a "red flag" and a harbinger of worse things to come.


I will not live with abuse.  I will not stay in a car with it, or in a house with it or in a relationship with it.  I will simply remove myself if it begins to occur.  I will remove myself permanently if it continues to occur.  I would rather be alone than be in an abusive relationship.  I would rather be dead.


I was sorry to miss Elmwood Cemetery and the Heidelberg Project, I was really looking forward to it.  I was sorry to miss dinner at ML's.  I was sorry to leave and drive across Canada alone in the dark.  It wasn't how I wanted things to be.  I was sorry to miss our one day together.  I am sorry to be home alone.  I miss Keith and Graham and would prefer to be happily with them.


But if it all happened again, I probably would do the same thing. 


I love and miss Keith and Graham and I also still feel upset about all this, and worried.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats


peacorpus said...

Hi, Mary. I have read all of your recent writings here, or posts, as we may call them, but decided to post my comment here, since this is the most recent one. But I suppose, all that I am about to write here will pertain to all that you have written.

I certainly know how you must feel, how much hate and disgust all the events here have caused you. And that you have all my sympathy. But generally, I will tell you that, I don't know what else to say except I understand, and that I will uphold everything that will come to your mind. Something like, this is a time I really "idolize" you. I wanted to laugh too, seeing my very innermost thoughts and the things that I would most certainly do at times like these. I keep telling him to read this blog because he can learn a lot from it. For him to read this, not for anything else, but for himself. Does Keith ever visit this site? I wanted to cry too, for all the hurts it had caused you at this time. And that I can relate to them as well. I suppose loving someone really entails all those things. Love, hurt, happiness, sorrow, lust. He told me you will be back in New York this week, and reading this now, I suppose you are back, but I certainly hope that everything went well before you left. Or that at least by this time, you have made up with Keith? But I think too that the general idea that comes to my mind after reading all this, is that, this is very romantic, and sweet. I know Keith loves you, and more so I am sure that you love him. I have never talked to Keith, but instinct tells me so.
I will have to write more about this next time, since it is making me cry already. You are loved, I'm sure you are.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thank you Pea for your kind comments.

I love Keith very much and I do believe he loves me. There is something about the way we each react in crisis that works out wrong. I've never been with a man who responds the way he does, and I don't know how to deal with it. No man I've ever known would have walked off and left me, it's something I don't understand. He does not seem to care about making up when we have argued. But it is not for lack of love, I don't think. I think he just doesn't know what to do or say.

We have NOT made up yet. I hope we will, somehow.

patricia said...

Getting out of the car and finding your way back is a brave step Mary, and I admire you for doing it. It will somehow open Keith's eyes and mind and he might think: "Wow! This woman is independent, she might not need me in the future." It could at least make him feel a bit insecure.
Sometimes, those bold steps should be done so that the man realizes that a woman is able to do things at times even without them. But, of course, LOVE is the ultimate. And I wish you and Keith make it up soonest.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I do want Keith to understand that I am not entirely dependant on him. But I want most of all to reestablish the loving relationship we had.

I lived alone for more than 15 years before I met him. I was utterly independent, and I have not lost the ability to be independent. But I would rather be with HIM.

I wish you love and all good things. Mary

patricia said...

Keith must be just letting the dark winds to pass by, and though I don't know him personally, I believe that he will woo you back. He remains to be solid, he is being calm and he is THERE for you.

Hope reconciliation comes soon.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I believe we are partially reconciled now and that there is GREAT HOPE for total reconciliation, though I won't be completely relaxed about it until the ring is back on my finger and he is back in my arms--and that won't happen until next Sunday night at the earliest.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thank you for your kind comments! :-)

Jasper said...

You women tend to make mountains out of molehills and blow everything out of proportion. So much yammering over nothing.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

JASPER! That sounds like a sexist comment if I ever heard one! And anyway, it wasn't ME who wasn't speaking. (I'm glad YOU are not my partner!)

peacorpus said...

That is right Mary. And why is Jasper yammering about all the comments here when the original post itself is about what we have been talking about here exactly? Maybe Jasper will need to read other blog posts? So as not to hamper his sexist JUDGMENTS? I certainly am glad JASPER is not my partner either!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

LOL, Pea! You tell him! Jasper, we're tired of men who say things like that and we'd rather just be alone. Or be with one of the many loving gentle men who AREN'T sexist pigs.

Jasper said...

I got me one sweet babe. She's a looker with knockers to beat the band and she seems to like me fine, so what do I need with YOU? You go off and be alone, I'll hunker right down with my broad.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Aiee, Jasper, are you trying to really provoke us?

I have a question for you, does your girlfriend know you talk about her like that? Have you ever asked her point blank how she feels about it?


peacorpus said...

Oh, yesssss. Jasper, what on earth are you doing reading this blog anyway? As for your sweet broad of a babe, or babe of a broad (yuk!) whatever, I hope she has something inside that head of hers aside from the pretty looks she got on her face (as you profess it here). But I doubt that very much if she, as you said, likes you. :-P

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

LOL! OOOh, she's got a tongue!!! Funny, Pea. He deserves itm though.

I had a friend who always used to talk like this. Several of them, in fact. Boyfriends, in fact. Glad I no longer have them. I LIKE KEITH BETTER!!!

Jasper said...

My guess is that if Keith hangs around with YOU TWO, he's probably pussy-whipped.

I came over from another blog. Did you ever notice that you can click on next blog? I just kept clicking. Most of the blogs were written by furners. You were my landing spot.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Boy, aren't WE LUCKY?

Furners, huh? You mean you couldn't read the language?

I hope Keith doesn't feel dominated. I would prefer an equal partnership.

Jasper said...

Any woman who says she wants an equal partnership probably wants to be the boss.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

That's baloney. There might be a TINY bit of that, but really, no. I always feel bad and sad if he doesn't seem happy. A person needs a balance between autonomy and partnership.

What are you, the king of your castle? Is your girlfriend THE QUEEN?

Jasper said...

You kiddin'? Queen?

She's a princess, yeah, but she ain't no queen

patricia said...

LOL =))You desrved that Jasper! You deserved that and a lot more! =))

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

What do you mean, Jasper, by "Princess"?

I wish we could all be kind, loving, and considerate.

Jasper said...

I'm getting tired of this. I don't think I want to be sucked into a vortex of your inquisition. F- that!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

But you didn't want to be deleted, did you? I can tell.

Jasper said...

A princess is someone who thinks she deserves everything, to be waited on hand and foot. She thinks she's royalty. But she's not the queen.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

It sounds like YOU are the princess.

CDT said...

You guys are ALL a bunch of lame-os, even Jasper!

patricia said...

I am not lame!
Physically I can stand with my own two feet and can walk by myself.:D
Emotionally, I am not lame either. There are times that problems of the heart arises and I face those upfront and I emerge stronger.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! This whole discussion has sort of degenrated! Is there any way to pick it up by its bootstraps and rescue it from the wastebin?

I would like to keep us all on a higher plane, I would liek to be honorable and kind--I just realized I was starting to slip down into the lower mentality by responding to provocative statements!

let's hear it for kindness!

Let's hear it for open-mindedness!

Let's hear it for growth and healing, for cosnideration, for honorable behavior.

What would that look like, anyway?

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I didn't mean all of you had degenrated, Patricia and Pea.


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