"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

Saturday, September 5, 2009

9/5/09: Boise, ID-Becoming Family

Saturday was the day the entire clan celebrated Robyn's birthday. Robyn is Dave's sister, and in accordance with Fogg tradition, a large birthday breakfast was planned at Cracker Barrel. Everyone was up and around by 9, and I was initially uncomfortable in tagging along, feeling a bit like dead- weight strapped to an already full breakfast wagon! When I timidly suggested that I may stay at the house to try to catch up on the blog, Dave was appalled. He went into Lawyerly Litigation Mode, and through some sort of bizarre cross examination, immediately isolated the core of my hesitation. Again, he would have none of my rationalization.

The way Dave had vehemently dismantled the notion of me skipping breakfast struck me as odd, and my instincts were solid. I decided, or so I thought, that a compromise was in order.
After breakfast, I would accompany Lynette back to the house while the rest of the Foggs went to see District 9. As we were leaving Cracker Barrel, Dave told Lynette, "If he (me) gives you any shit, call me!" We had been playfully bantering back and forth for a couple days, so I figured it was just a wise crack. Again, I was wrong.

When Lynette pulled in to the Boise REI, I assumed she needed to pick something up for herself, Dave, or the kids. She then told me, in a teacherly, authoritative tone that after Dave had seen me gluing my shoes together the day before, they had decided to get ME new boots. I had passively shown Dave where the heel had separated, then he and Lynette secretly conspired to fix that problem right after breakfast.
Staying at home that morning would have thrown a big wrench in their plans! Dave had also, rightfully, deduced that I would have balked at the notion; thus the, "If he gives you any shit..." comment. 

I put up a short, weak, and pathetic resistance anyhow, but Lynette too would have none of it. I was outnumbered and over-matched. I was also floored, and almost speechless. Even beyond the mild structure failure, the boots I had been wearing had been a problem. They had caused the huge heel blisters in Maryland and New York State, and they could not be returned. A new pair from REI now meant that I could exchange these if they didn't work out, and more importantly, that I would NEVER need another pair of boots because of their return policy. Once the astonishment of the gesture wore off, I began to feebly try to make sure they knew exactly what they had done for me. I don't think I quite articulated it, but I was beyond touched. I wish I was better equipped to show my gratitude.

This was a particularly special day from my perspective;
the day that my long-held notion of separateness was crushed. Not through the simple spending of money, mind you, but by both Lynette and Dave tactfully forcing me to abandon juvenile, self-conscious assumptions that we would always be separate entities because we were not raised together. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but Lynette and her family took that antiquated, rotted fruit, and threw it out the window through simple acceptance, an absolute intolerance of drama, and a blunt, direct authenticity.

As I mentally prepared to end this incredible week-long visit, I was forced to reflect on the past few months, and what it takes to become a brother, as opposed to a "long lost" sibling.
It's something I had managed to achieve with both Lynette and Shelly, but in very different ways. With Shelly, it was by sharing a very raw, personal experience and riding the ensuing emotional roller coaster together. Lynette and her family on the other hand metaphorically sat down that stubborn 10-year old Todd, and set things straight; but with actions and behavior that stood in stark contrast to those of The Hens. Words are powerful things and, to the observant eye set standards and demand accountability. Long after the audible sounds have faded they continue speak; sometimes more loudly through the absence of accompanying action. Actions without the cliche', chest pounding touts of intention have the greatest effect. To quote a friend who, at this point I had yet to meet, "Shut up and make it happen."

Chris made his way back to Casa de Fogg, and we spent a nice evening just eating, and enjoying the busy, yet calm atmosphere. I began to see that I was going to be genuinely sad to leave Sunday...