"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Thursday, September 3, 2009

8/29-9/3/09: Boise, ID-Lynette

I'm not sure what it says about the state of things that, when Lynette pulled into the Krispy Kreame, I was used to meeting my full-grown sibling for the first time! It was not lost on me how much easier this had become since May and, as with Mike, there was no guess work. I knew her immediately after seeing pictures for decades. After a big hug, I greeted my 14-year old nephew Brad who had ridden along, while Lynette gave Don directions to the Walmart so he could get a night's sleep. It was then on to her house, and I was relieved that there was no forced conversation, uncomfortable silence, or tension at all. Despite arriving at 10:30 and keeping them awake, everything was better than I could have asked.

As I've mentioned, I was dying to meet Lynette's husband, Dave! I had been led to believe that he was some sort of control mongering domestic warden,
conspiring to keep Lynette from her family. Since I was family of the "long- lost" variety, if this was true I figured that I would get especially cold treatment. The whole notion turned out to be a festering, imaginary, paranoid, heap of contrived, industrial grade horseshit! Dave was warm, welcoming, and polite from the get go, and went out of his way to be sure I knew that I was not only invited to, but EXPECTED to make myself at home. In fact, I was a bit taken aback by how welcome I was made to feel by Lynette's entire family! It wasn't as though Lynette and Dave had just met me at all. This was how I would expect the rest of the family to treat each other, if they were "normal." The first order of business was getting a shower! I was a bit self conscious of smelling like road, or worse. Once I had de-stenched, we chatted for a bit before Lynette, Dave and the boys headed off to bed. Simple. Drama free. Impressive.

Sunday was a calm day, spent slowly getting acquainted over a barbecue that included Dave's sister, Robyn, and his 21-year old daughter Stephanie. I gorged myself on the delicious steaks, determined to fatten myself up in the process. I found great entertainment in watching Dave wage war with a water softener, and horsing around with Ben and Brad. The boys' first stay of school was Monday and Lynette, being a teacher, was also about to get mad- busy. She is in her Master's program, and had class immediately after work Monday thru Wednesday. I would see her very little over the next few days, but I had been warned well in advance; I knew this was coming.

I had intentionally not yet discussed length-of-stay, electing instead to see how things felt. If there was tension or uncomfortable vibes, I could then bow out gracefully.
Dave pointed out, almost immediately and more than once, that I was welcome to stay as long as I liked. And he meant it. I was astonished at how nice my stay had begun, and was probably waiting for the other shoe to drop before committing to any length of time. In retrospect it seems silly, but it was out of a genuine concern and respect for their home. Plus, I really didn't want to be the long-lost, unemployed, vagabond uncle eating their food and sleeping on their couch long past his welcome! By Sunday night, I figured that a few days would be safe, and sent the OK for Laina and Michele Montana to send packages.

At first, I believe Lynette and Dave felt bad that there was no one around to entertain me during the day, but I had plenty to do though, since I had been without computer access since Santa Fe. I had pictures to edit and upload, as well as blog updates to catch up. Dave continued to battle the water softener, and by Tuesday, I had to quietly chuckle. It reminded me of the Soviets invading Afghanistan, thinking it would be a quick, easy fight. The Culligan Guerrilla Resistance was formidable, but the calm perseverance he displayed was heroic! At night, we would all sit and chat before Lynette went off to bed, exhausted from her insane schedule.

It was terrific to have the chance to get to know Ben and Brad more fully, after such little time together in Michigan. They are truly wonderful kids and Lynette is rightfully proud of them. I saw much more of Brad since Ben is, well, 16, and discovered that persistent, common, often unrecognized family trait in him: the need for a creative outlet. Brad is a budding musician and has a terrific imagination. Ben has seemingly perfected the social skills that were on display in Michigan, and is an academic stud. Dave was blunt in his opinion that Ben needed a girl to find a little balance, and I again had to laugh as Ben blushed at the analysis! Ben is a smart kid; smart enough to know that he doesn't need to plot his entire life's trajectory now. Spending time with them was especially nice for me because I have no relationship with the two sisters I did grow up with, or their kids.

By Thursday, Dave had gotten into the habit of making nightly, delicious, and potent Rumrunners. We would sit outside getting moderately hammered while chatting as the sun fell. A routine that suited me well indeed! As the week progressed and I got to know them I discovered that, not only did I have a new sister and brother-in-law, but also new friends. I continually asked, "Where are the people The Hens and "Ward" described?" Of course, those people never existed.

Lynette and I began to engage in some short, intense discussions about our lives toward the end of the week. We compared notes, and a still-clearer picture emerged while we came up with both answers and new questions at the same time. Dave and I continued to get to know each other too, and the more I learned of him, the more I both liked and admired him, despite the fact he's an attorney! He has an unusual sense of balance about him, is great with the boys, and has that directness I have come to appreciate. He's genuine, authentic, and insightful. AND he's an attorney! Go figure...

With Wednesday ending, I was still unsure as to when I would be leaving, or for where. When I learned that Dave's youngest kids were coming in from California for the weekend, and it was clear I was still welcome, it made sense to stay at least thru Saturday. Thursday night would verify that and hold quite a surprise, putting me in a bit of an ethical bind in the process...