Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At Odds

The other night as I was taking the dogs out, someone approached the condo gate and waited. He had a small, familiar dog with him; it was the Yorkshire Terrier that belongs to the girl next door. I let the guy in and he thanked me. I said nothing. The Boyfriend had returned.

He'd been tossed out after disturbing the other residents, scaring his girlfriend, and generally proving he needed anger management classes. Now apparently he's back in my neighbor's life. I'm on pins and needles, wondering how long it'll take him to revert to his aggressive behavior.

There's forgiveness, and there's being a sucker.


I've been missing my boy while he's been in Missouri with his dad. They're back tonight, and I'll be meeting the kiddo at school tomorrow morning. I can't wait to give him a good squeeze. My ex scheduled his vacation on my time, and although we'd agreed two months before the trip that we would swap time, the week before the trip, he'd unceremoniously broken the agreement, insisting that the language in the Court Order meant he didn't owe me any time in return for taking my time. I argued about it at first, then told him if that's how he wanted to interpret the Court Order, I'd remember that when planning my vacation next year. I'm sure he doesn't think I'll schedule a trip, much less on his time. I've surprised him before.


A co-worker moped into the office today and told me she needed a hug. When I hugged her, she felt like a skinny kid. I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was sad that her oldest child had graduated from college and was headed for law school. Was she sad that he was all grown up? Well, partly that, and partly because she didn't want him to be a lawyer. She sees being a lawyer as incompatible with her kiddo's Christian upbringing. I assured her that there are a lot of good, ethical lawyers (my family law attorney is one, occasionally to my disappointment - oh, I kid!), and she wasn't convinced. Look, I told her, what about immigration attorneys? Estate planners? Things like that? Maybe, she admitted.

After a few more hugs, she told me her youngest son, a teenager, had hit a home run that weekend. "Great!" And broken the rear window of a car. "Oh..." A Lexus. "Eek." And a bunch of other parents had run out to the lot and taken pictures. "Hoo-boy..." The hole left by the ball looked like a cartoon, all jagged and centered. (Okay, I thought that was kind of funny.) She said she asked the league rep. about her liability for the damage, and the rep. said she wasn't liable because cars park at their own risk in the lot next to the ballfield. Indeed the parking lot next to the ballfield where my son sometimes plays has big signs stating exactly this. Still, she went out to the lot to talk to the car owner, and he had already gone. The whole thing is eating at her and she feels responsible, despite having been told by the league rep. that she's not. She's an admirably ethical and yet overly accommodating person by nature, and she's not sure what to do at this point.


At work/church we have a Spanish-speaking co-custodian. She's learning some English and I'm reaching for my high school Spanish; we manage to meet in the middle. This morning she gestured and explained: "En el cuarto del hombres, la agua...dañado."

Dañado, dañado...I didn't know that one. "You come," she said, so I followed her to the men's room. (I did at least know that much of what she had told me.) Once there, she showed me a urinal that was flushing continuously. "Ah! Dañado! Okay!"

I love lightbulb moments. Damaged. The urinal was damaged.


It has occurred to me lately that we're all dañado in one way or another. Some of us cope with it and move on; some of us continue making the same mistakes over and over. There's forgiveness, and there's being a sucker.

I'm walking the line between the two.