Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Maturity has hit an all-time low 

I said to Steve this morning, "We need to have some drama so I have something to write about." I was kidding. Nonetheless, I've got to be careful what I wish for...

I had figured on letting Steve sleep until noon today. Generally, unless there's some important reason for waking up (like the apartment is burning down) or I force him out of bed, he'll sleep for ten or twelve hours at a minimum. So I got up at around 4:00am myself, figuring I'd go back to bed after a while and finish sleeping.

But Steve woke up at 8:49am, after less than nine hours of sleep. I dragged him over to the computer to show him that not only was our blog getting a lot more traffic, but that people were leaving comments & mentioning us on their own blogs. I was pretty excited by all this.

After that, and listening to him talk about a rather bizarre dream he'd had, I wound up dozing off in bed. I wasn't all that tired, but I needed to get some sleep as I had to work tonight. So I slept for a while, he woke me up a couple of times, pulled me outside to smoke with him once, and I went back to sleep.

All of the time I was sleeping, he was lying in bed with me reading. I wrote about this once, but not here, so I'll quote what I said:

The one thing that gives me a lot of confidence in the relationship I have with my fiance is that he tries so hard, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make me feel happy and loved. At times I almost think he takes this a little *too* far.

For example, I've mentioned that I sleep better when he's with me than on my own. Since then, if I lie down to take a nap, even if he's not in the least bit tired himself, he'll immediately stop whatever he's doing and come to bed to hold me or lie next to me reading a book. I've told him he doesn't have to do this, as I'll eventually get to sleep when he's not there, but he says if I'm happier with him there with me, then that's what he wants to do.

So imagine my surprise when about seven hours after I'd first gone to bed, Steve woke me up and started bitching. Something about how he'd been in bed seventeen hours and he was sick of it. As I recall, I said something along the lines of, "Well shit, get out of bed then."

But no, that wasn't good enough. He wanted me to get up, and "do something" with him. He wouldn't define "something". He couldn't name anything he wanted to do. He wanted me to get out of the bed, right now, half-asleep as I might be, and pick out something for us to do. I just wanted to go back to sleep.

I got fairly pissed off at all this. After a while, I got out of bed, stomped to the balcony, lit up a cigarette and glared at him. "What the fuck do you want me to do?" I asked. No answer, he just laid down on the living room floor. Whatever. I went back to bed.

Steve acts like a three year old sometimes. This doesn't bother me... we have some good, totally immature fun. What bothers me is when he acts like a toddler and I'm supposed to be his mommy and entertain him. Gah.

I mentioned this to him a little while later, and he said something along the lines of, "You're a woman, you're older than me, and I have a close relationship with you... I'm going to wind up treating you like my mom sometimes." Great.

This is ironic, considering when Steve first moved in we had a few bickerfests because I was "being too helpful"... as I recall, he bitched me out for acting like his mom.

The rest of the night was a bust. Just one idiotic argument after another -- I was (and to a certain degree still am) irritated about the fact he woke me up and basically demanded I entertain him.

Pizza Hut says they don't deliver until later in the evening than we ordered our P'zones, so Steve elected to go pick them up. I didn't go. I was entirely too tired and irritable to go get dressed just to drive a few blocks to pick up some food, then bring it home to eat. I mumbled something about getting dressed being a pain in the ass. I got bitched at about that. I got more pissed.

Then we were eating and I jokingly threatened to throw my cup of marinara sauce in Steve's face because he ate all his and took some of mine. He goaded me on by making comments about how I was bitchy because I needed to get off. I'm amazed at my self-control, as I didn't hit him in the face with the sauce, but it was a very close call. Certainly, I wanted to.

I got lectured on this one. I always know when I'm about to get lectured, because Steve takes on this annoyingly fake "fatherly" tone of voice and starts out with the phrase, "In the future..." This time he said something about how it was a bad idea to make "physical threats, even jokingly". I'm not sure how saying I'm going to throw a cup of sauce at him is a physical threat, but whatever. Now if it were a hammer I was threatening to throw...

I was even more pissed after this. I seriously was beginning to feel as though my head was about to explode. More than anything, I just wanted him to shut the fuck up and go away. I didn't say that, however, because I know it'd just escalate the drama further, not to mention upset him quite a lot.

So I got up, turned the lights out, set the alarm for 9:30pm, and laid down in the far corner of the bed. Steve asked why I turned the lights out. I told him I wanted to rest. And then he picked his pillow up, dropped it at the foot of the bed, and laid down on the floor there.

I knew I was owned then. I mean, what do you do when your future husband, a grown man seven inches taller and way bigger than you are, is lying in a fetal position on the floor sobbing and saying he's afraid of you? The answer, at least for me, is that you do whatever you can to comfort him.

Some autistic people throw temper tantrums when they get overloaded. Others, like my own fiance, completely fall apart.

...and then I remembered the ominous words I got from a woman who is currently in the process of divorcing her husband, also on the autistic spectrum:

Well, that works just fine until the day, maybe 15 or 20 years from now, when you realize that you've raised three children, and you are married to the oldest one. AND he wants you to be his mother for the rest of his life.

I'm walking right into this, but at least I'm walking into it with my eyes wide open.

The Schizophrenic Experience 

Steve's asleep, and I've nothing better to do right now, so I thought I'd make an attempt to describe what it's like living with schizophrenia. I feel something like a freak show exhibit doing this, but hey, anything to entertain the masses. Besides, I'm bored.

The original diagnosis came when I was 14. I'd been hearing things, seeing things, and had some very strange ideas at the time. Everything had symbolic meaning. So I announced I needed a shrink, and my parents complied, albeit reluctantly. I mentioned this before, and I don't remember it all that well, except that the psychologist I saw seemed rather shocked.

Well, who wouldn't be? She specialized in counseling teenagers, going through normal teenage stuff. And then I came into her office, raving mad, checking the room for bugs, trying to explain the purpose of the leather bag full of rocks and cornmeal I wore around my neck.

She asked me if I liked my father. I was somewhat taken aback by the question -- at the time, I'd always had a good relationship with my dad. I think this woman was convinced that the root of all mental illness in teens was their dads. The question seemed out of place, and I wondered at what hidden meaning it had.

She informed my parents I should be hospitalized, and they drove me home, muttering. They were in denial. They thought I was going through a phase and I'd outgrow it. I never went to the mental hospital, and never returned to the psychologist. I remained unmedicated until I went to Job Corps, some eight years later.

Most of the time, I'm relatively normal. I hold a steady job, I'm outgoing and friendly. People I meet tend to walk away thinking I'm a bit odd, but can't really place why. Then, usually in times of great stress, I have an episode.

It's like an earthquake. At first there's a few mild tremors -- I hear whispering, I see things out of the corner of my eye. Ordinary things start taking on great meaning. I get terribly, terribly suspicious.

And then it hits, and reality crumbles. It's like living one of those crazy-assed nightmares people get. My location changes, people change from one to another, objects morph into other objects, voices are everywhere, everyone is out to get me. And nothing makes a lick of sense.

After a few days, it cools down (much faster with the help of medications)... things gradually go back to normal, but there's always the aftershocks. Semi-coherant episodes, where I act bizarre, but still have some grasp on reality...

One of the more amusing of these aftershocks occurred a few months ago. This was perhaps a week after I'd been released from the hospital after my last major episode. I was at home, talking to Steve in IRC while he worked, when he noticed I was out of it.

We have central air conditioning in our apartment, that comes out of vents in the ceiling. I'd noticed an odd tapping sound coming from the vent directly above me while I was sitting by the computer. After listening for a while, I determined it was Morse code. Obviously, there was some very small man inside the vent, and he was trying to communicate with me.

I explained the situation to Steve, who as I recall said something like, "Uhhh..."

I'd thought about trying to decipher the Morse code, but decided not to because it was grating on my nerves too much. I generally find my auditory hallucinations to be extremely annoying, and I'm willing to do just about anything to shut them up.

After thinking on it for a while, I determined it was unlikely anyone else could hear it other than myself. This is because inevitably, when odd things like this happen, everyone thinks I'm crazy. They're right, but I didn't realize this at the time. I figured I probably had an implant in my head, similar to the part of a TV or VCR that receives signal from the remote control. Since these signals were travelling through walls easily enough, it couldn't be infrared... it was most likely UHF.

UHF probably isn't blocked by metal, but for some reason I was pretty sure it was. It didn't occur to me to make a tinfoil hat, and besides I'm not sure we even had any foil in the pantry. I felt the best way to handle it was to get some metal directly into my brain. Luckily, this wasn't a self-destructive episode, or I probably would have stabbed myself in the head.

Instead, I decided to eat a can of sardines. Sardines, for those of you who haven't eaten them, have a metallic looking sheen on their skin (like many fish). I guess it's not really metal, but I was convinced it was at the time, so I chowed down on a can full.

Meanwhile, I was talking to Steve. "There's a guy in the ceiling, and he's annoying me with his Morse code, so I'm going to eat some sardines because that'll block the UHF signal." Needless to say, he was a little disturbed.

I remember he talked to me a little about it in an attempt to make me realize I was off my rocker. It didn't work. He pointed out no one would fit in the air conditioning duct, to which I replied that the person was likely a midget, or maybe a leprechaun. He told me that sardines don't really have metal in them. "Yes, they do, they're shiny!"

It's been some time now since my last full-blown episode, and I'm only medicated on an "as needed" basis. This is a lot better for me, because the side effects from taking my "nut pills" full time suck. Of course, that means I run the risk of going crazy at any given time, but it doesn't scare me as much as it used to. I'm no longer afraid that Steve is going to run back to Maryland if I hear voices.

I'll probably write even more later, as he's still asleep and I've got nothing better to do. As always, suggestions for future topics are welcome.

Comments Fixed 

Comments are now working properly. Thanks to Wowbagger for pointing out what was wrong. :)

Date Night 

Today did not go quite as planned, but overall it was actually a pretty good night. It'd be better if I could sleep, but sleep is always difficult... particularly if I've been drinking. So instead, I'll write. It seems there are now some people actually reading this (yay!) so I'm feeling a bit more motivated to keep updating.

The plan for today went something like this -- I'd stay up an hour or so after I got home from work to talk to my mom online, then sleep until Steve got home from work. When he got home, we'd take a nap until 5:00pm, spend a couple of hours working through our Dr. Phil book. At 7:00, we'd head out to Applebee's where I'd buy us dinner and drinks... then we'd hit Wal-Mart and buy beer, condoms and cigarettes. After that, we were supposed to go home, put some music on, drink up, and likely take the rubbers for a spin.

It didn't exactly work out that way, although it wasn't too far off. Steve went to work, I logged into IRC and talked to my mom for a while before I went to bed. When he got home, he was apparently more awake than I would have expected (he only slept 3.5 hours last night) and asked if I'd be interested in skipping nap time. I believe I mumbled something to the effect of, "Lemme alone, sleep now."

So he read for a bit, set the alarm for 5:00 and joined me in bed. After the alarm went off, we spent a couple of hours on the book, although we only made it through six pages. That's not a bad thing though, because we'd stopped to discuss a few things that came up as we read, and I think it went quite well. It was 7:20 by the time we checked the clock, so we got ready to go.

By the time Steve was ready, it was already 8:00 pm. This is mostly because he decided to shave before we left (I suspect it had been close to a week since the last time he shaved, and it took a while). We'd decided to go to Wal-Mart after going out, so the meat and beer wouldn't get warm in the car, and he wanted to pick up a bag of ice (which we forgot). So we headed off to Applebee's.

We sat down at the bar, as usual, and the cool bartender was there. I was impressed to see he remembered what Steve & I usually order to drink, despite the fact we've only eaten at Applebee's two or three times before. Unfortunately, I was on a budget (I only had $60 to spend) so mixed drinks weren't really an option... we had a couple enormous glasses of beer each, instead.

The food, as always, was excellent, and Steve, as always, finished eating long before I did. He headed off to the bathroom to eliminate some of the beer, and the bartender came by to ask if he was done with his plate. At first I thought he was asking about Steve's mostly full glass of beer, so I told him if he was done with it, I'd take care of it. It sounds rather dumb now, but at the time it was amusing.

While we'd been sitting there eating and talking, three old men had come and sat down near us. Winter Texans, I suspect, since they appeared to be white, and this town has very few of us gringos. Anyway, when Steve went to the bathroom, and I was joking with the bartender about his beer, one of the old guys said, "Is he done with her? Because if he is, I'm taking his seat!"

I have no idea why, but old men flirt with me constantly. It's a little weird, having someone old enough to be your grandfather trying to get in your pants. I don't mind, though, because they're generally not pushy at all... I think they realize I'm about forty years out of their league.

I used to joke with my mom I was going to get myself a rich old man, but in truth I'm kind of a cradle robber. I definitely seem to be more attracted to younger men. Steve, for example, is six years younger than I am -- I'm 24, and he's 18. Do I mind the age difference? Hell no, I love the age difference!

After dinner, we were supposed to go to Wal-Mart, but Steve had forgotten to bring money. Okay, this is partially my fault -- I didn't bring any of our common money with me, either, just my personal money to pay for dinner. And I forgot to remind him, since he's nearly always the one who carries the cash.

So we had to go home and get money before going off to Wally World. I measured Steve's height with a tape measure in the hardware department... he's always claimed to be 5'10. He's actually 6' 1/2". I knew he was taller than he thought, since he practically towers over my brother, who is 5'11.

Then, somehow, we wound up getting on the scales that are set up for "testing". This was probably not a good idea. Neither of us are actually overweight in each other's estimation, but we consider ourselves fat. It's kind of weird. Plus, we'd just gotten done stuffing our faces at Applebee's, had bladders full of beer, and were fully dressed, which probably added ten pounds as compared to a standard "naked in the morning after pissing" weigh-in.

I made Steve turn his back when I got on the scale. The bastard peeked. I was quite embarassed, and a little upset, but apparently he thought that I wouldn't mind. Well, whatever. We walked towards the checkout, both depressed about the numbers the scale had produced. Then there was the usual, "You're not fat!" "Neither are you!" exchange, and I guess we both felt better.

I used to have terrible self-esteem relating to my weight, which is kind of stupid, because I'm really not fat. I have meat on my bones, you can't count my ribs visually, I have quite a lot of T&A, but I'm nowhere near the size I would have to be to start shopping in the Plus Size section. I don't look like an anorexic model, and that really used to bother me.

It was really quite silly of me. I get hit on so much it's approaching ridiculous. If I spend a day alone, shopping at the mall, I'll come home with between six and ten phone numbers. I used to have a box full of slips of paper with guys' numbers on them when I lived in Seattle. I never called any of them. Actually, that's not true... I called one, once, when I was drunk, only to find out that he wasn't interested in dating me. He wanted to come over and fuck me. Story of my life, that.

I told Steve I'd stop worrying about my weight until he decided I needed to lose some. I'm 5'6 and I don't think I'd be happy with what I saw in the mirror unless I was under 100 lbs, anyway. Hell, I wouldn't be happy then, either, but I'd at least think I was thin enough. My opinion of my appearance, like just about everyone's, is highly irrational.

We checked out. I have no idea what the cashier thought when she saw what we were buying. A case of Bud Light longnecks, a package of condoms, a carton of cigarettes, a pound of ground beef, and a hammer. The hammer was Steve's idea. He says we need one. I have no idea for what, and he couldn't name any instances where we've needed one in the last five months, but I didn't see the harm in it, so we bought one.

After that, we went home and headed to the balcony for a cigarette. I cracked open a bottle of beer, Steve mixed this weird drink he's developed a recent fondness for (gin, margarita mix and lime juice). We had planned to stay up a while, drink and listen to music, but the music never happened and the drinking lasted about five minutes.

Steve was laying sprawled across the living room floor, wearing nothing but an undershirt. "I think we should practice with the condoms," he said. In other words, my eighteen year old lover was horny. What else is new?

Not that I'm complaining, at all. One of the biggest complaints I had about my ex-husband, before I just outright started hating him, was that he had hardly any sex drive. I called him "Once-a-month Mikey".

Neither I nor Steve had ever used a condom before, but because I've gone off the pill, it's a necessity on my fertile days. We went into this experiment with the lowest possible expectations, and still wound up disappointed. Here I was, on top of him, and he says, "Um, I'm having a hard time figuring out what's going on."

"What's going on...? We're having sex, dear."

"Oh," he said. "Am I in? I can't tell."

I found this terribly amusing, mostly because we've got a damn tight fit going, so "am I in?" just seems ludicrous. He remarked at one point that he wasn't having sex, the condom was having sex. We gave up after several minutes, as neither of us were really getting anywhere.

I have a newfound understanding of men who complain about wearing rubbers, especially after examining the "cock baggie" as we dubbed it. As thin as the material is, it still has a huge impact on sensation. Ladies, for those of you who don't understand why men dislike condoms so much... try sticking your finger in one, and rubbing it against your skin. Compare the sensation from that, to what it feels like with a bare finger. It's sad.

After this episode of "Adventures with Cock Baggies", we started throwing out ideas for alternate backup methods to use during fertile days. All the usual options for birth control have proved very problematic. At this point, despite the relatively high failure rate, I'd be happy to use a spermicide only (that is, if I could find one that doesn't irritate me.. *sigh*).

If I thought it was likely that we could get a doctor to give Steve a vasectomy after we have one child, we'd go for it now. Unfortunately, he'd only be 19 when our kid was born, and I can't see that happening. Maybe I could get a tubal ligation, but the expense is scary. And we'd really prefer to wait a little while before we do the whole kid thing...

I jokingly suggested kitchen-table castration. That didn't go over so well.

"I know!" I said. "We'll just save up all the drama and fighting, and do that during the nine-day fertile period. Then we won't want to have sex with each other anyway!"

I was, of course, mostly joking, but this is a good example of just how desperate we are. I think we're going condom shopping again soon, and picking up some different varieties to try. Maybe there'll be something out there that'll at least get sex up to the "acceptable" range. I've heard good things about the lambskin ones (I know they don't protect against STDs, but that's not an issue at all). They're expensive, but I'd pay for it myself if it meant decent sex all month long.

We went to bed around midnight. I suggested this because Steve seemed awfully tired. He said he was feeling rather emotional, too. I asked if I could do anything to make him feel better, and his answer was a bit odd -- "Don't be evil," he said. I assured him I would not, and told him to sleep as long as he wanted... usually I get impatient and try to wake him up after eight hours, even though he prefers to sleep quite a lot longer than that when he can. So I've resolved not to wake him up until noon, which will be twelve hours of sleep.

God, I wish I could sleep like he does. He falls asleep nearly instantly, sleeps very deeply, and for a long time. It takes me anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour to fall asleep, any little sound wakes me up, and I have a hard time sleeping more than six or seven hours. As I write this, he's on the bed behind me, lying stark-naked and face down, snoring loudly. I got up after spending four hours in bed, tossing and turning and occasionally dozing off for fifteen minutes at a time.

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