Sunday, February 25, 2007

Drama Rolls Downhill

Sometimes you have to mow the lawns with the help you have, not the help you wish you could have. Over the years I have met a real assortment of characters who have wanted to pursue a career in the dynamic field of landscaping and lawn care. Sometimes they are wonderful lovely assistants. Sometimes they are terribly inattentive, lazy and bad. Sometimes it is just an indifferent job to them to make some cash for a while.

On occasion they can have so much baggage it consumes their lives and that baggage can come rolling down my driveway even after they are gone.

In the fall of 2005 a tall, charming and handsome young man needed some extra spending money and my name was mentioned to him as a source of work. At six foot one with longish dark brown hair and a young man’s lean defined frame he had the looks and build to be the rack for any fashion designer’s clothes.

He would show up most of the time wearing board shorts and a scruffy thick dark and half grown beard. The hair might be matted and there were rarely shoes or even the notion of clean feet. Work was a secondary concern. Often there were very important matters he needed to attend to and he would be late or not show up at all to earn some extra spending money.

At 25 this handsome young man with an engaging personality was a drunk and a stoner in an already debilitating homeless kind of way. It was often a sad sight and just as often infuriating when he was unable to keep his word.

Among his many misfortunes was the delusional woman who had attached herself to him in the manner of a professional stalker.

That particular piece of his baggage has rolled down my driveway many times, a crazy woman putting on the pretense of normalcy while hunting for her prey. I try to be polite.

The wild curly bleached blond hair is the first thing you see. Then the surgically inflated breasts are presented. They are always on display, cinched in to bikini tops and lassoed together for lift. What ever other remnants of clothes she may be wearing are intended to display the rest of her killer body.

The face thank goodness hasn’t been enhanced with strange lips and stretched skin. It is a real face with a character of its own, not an attempt at Barbie’s. For forty she looks mighty good.

Then it starts. A great concern for the boy combined with a running list of her assets, property in Europe and her accomplishments, a grand career as a sculpture and the words don’t stop and the mouth won’t close. And it is all lies. She is just as penniless and homeless as the boy, but is skilled and lucky enough on a regular basis to blind all manner of men with her lassoed assets to come down my driveway in assortment of borrowed fancy cars and trucks.

All the time she is fishing, fishing for information I might have about the boy that she can use to find him or manipulate him.

I learned quickly that first fall that this is a Plan B situation. Always have a Plan B when he is involved and let him come and go with the winds. Just maybe he might see something in my steady sobriety that looked good to him the next time he blew in looking a little bit worse and a little more hurt.

That bleached blonde piece of baggage came down my driveway this morning after a long strongly suggested absence. The boy may have finally gotten away for good and she was on the desperate hunt.

He had told me the previous week that he and his numerous state appointed babysitters were trying to get him admitted to a strict long term two year residential treatment center on another island. No date had been set and they were trying to expedite the process. He wanted to make some money to take with him.

That piece of baggage came by wanting to claim her righteousness and truth while parsing the minutia of the boy’s lies, demanding I should believe nothing he said. She had been the caring one who took him to the airport to go to treatment. Really?

How could I not be upset and offended by him? Because he was a drunk, that is what they do to get by. I was on Plan B. It was not a sign that I didn’t care.

Snuck in to this verbal onslaught castigating the boy were the questions of when did I last see him? Did he say goodbye? Did I know he was going? I thought you said you took him to the airport. What is the point of this conversation?

I didn’t believe a word she said. When the time came to denounce me for having an opinion about a 25 year old drunk having a child with a homeless and delusional 40 year old who displayed her assets and accomplishments like a porn star looking for a new director and that I had no right to interfere in their personal life, politeness ended and our visit was over.

Later I called his cell number which I hardly ever did. I let him call me. The number had been disconnected. I take that as a good sign.

I say a prayer for a handsome young man with an engaging personality, a prayer of freedom and hope.


The County Clerk said...

Yeah... sometimes we just have to... yeah...

But the whole thing is a buzz kill. I'm in a similar (not as bad) situation with my Dog-Nanny.

I've come to the rather heartless conclusion that 1) I have problems that are not hers and 2) she has problems that are not mine.

Sorry brother. This is a drag.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

You are keeping a much better attitude/perspective on this than I would have. I am sending positive thoughts his way... hope he figures out whatever it is that he needs to figure out.

Anonymous said...

Knowing when to emotionally divest oneself from others' pathos is necessary skill. Nice post, different flavor.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

It is much easier to divest oneself emotionally when that person is a relative stranger than if they are family, close friend or tied to you strongly in some way.

Seeing something like this you try to find some terrible defect of mind or character to blame it on and dislike them for. Instead I saw a wonderful human being in pain and distress. I could get cranky about some of the things he did but I couldn't hate him.

Basic compassion makes you reach out and I hope he is now getting the help he needs.

Xris said...

I've had this story in my head for the past week. It has an emotional resonance for me that I couldn't put words to at first.

I recognize myself in all three roles. I have been each of these three people at different times in my life.

In my youth, I was lovely and clueless. Long-haired, even, though never tanned. Emotionally, I was a bull in a china shop. I self-medicated in a variety of ways. Lost and unaware how precarious my life was.

I've also been the stalker. Latching onto the latest infatuation with an emotional ferocity out of all proportion to the contact. Falling in love in an evening and not letting go for weeks or months.

And me today. With some 15 years of recovery from that life and the one before. With a loving partner who thinks I'm still lovely. Putting down roots in a welcoming community. I hope that now I am beginning to embody some of the grace you describe and present.