An anecdote, apropos of nothing

Every so often, my wife will get into some sort of conflict with my son when I’m in another room. This isn’t something that happens a lot, mind you; once or twice a week, maybe, generally around bath- or bedtime. The details don’t really matter all that much. He’s either doing something she doesn’t want him to do, or he’s not doing something she wants him to do. Sometimes he manages both at the same time.

And my reaction, generally, is to let her handle it. Not because I don’t care, or because I think discipline is her job; we co-parent as much as we can, and on the rare occasion where we disagree on how to handle something involving him we sort it out when he isn’t around. Because here’s the thing: if my wife and son are having an issue, particularly if he’s already upset and not just being a butthead, the second I show up– even if I don’t say anything– I have escalated the situation, just by my presence. Now my son’s not scared of me, there’s no threat of physical violence here– I’ve never laid a finger on him. But if he’s already upset, the second he’s outnumbered he’s twice as upset as he was before.

I have made things worse, simply by showing up. It might be my intention to calm things down or, alternatively, to lay down the law and quell the misbehavior, but what I have done is escalated the situation.

Now let’s imagine that I walk into the room, and my belt is in my hand. I don’t say anything; I’m not screaming or yelling or carrying on. I’m just there, leather belt in hand, perhaps doubled over on itself.

That’s gonna be even worse, right? Even though I haven’t actually done anything. I’m just standing there, with my belt, and I’ve made things more frightening, more violent, more alienating, more dangerous. Just by standing there.

Funny how that works.


8:34 PM, Monday, June 1: 1,809,109 confirmed cases and 105,099 Americans dead.

Monthly Reads: May 2020

See if you can find the inadvertent theme for this month’s books. Book of the Month: 10KDoJ and Split Tooth, but this was a good month.

Unread Shelf: May 31, 2020

Guys. My unread shelf is under control. When you consider that it looked like this a month ago? I managed to go an entire month without buying any books. That da Vinci biography is gonna take a minute but I’ll probably be done with the other three in a week or so.


11:39 AM, Sunday, May 31: 1,773,020 confirmed infections and 103,853 American deaths. I updated late last night so not much change since then.

Kitty!

Spent today mowing and reading; this lazy bastard spent today laying on my wife. I think my favorite thing about him is that black ring around his neck; it goes all the way around, and if we ever decide to have his head mounted on a wall or turn him into some sort of futuristic head-mounted-on-a-hovering-robot-body cat we have a perfect place to start.


9:02 PM, Saturday May 30: 1,769,776 confirmed cases and 103,768 Americans dead.

On alternate universes

I have spent the last couple of days working on the graduation video– or, at least, the “celebration” video, since technically we’re not supposed to call it a graduation (or use Pomp and Circumstance) if it’s not high school. One way or another, though, I’ve been working on it. The final project is going to end up being somewhere in the 35-minute range.

I used to do quite a lot of this type of work at a previous school, when I was one of the folks responsible for the morning announcements. The announcements themselves were no big deal, but we’d shoot commercials and little skits and stuff like that all the time to keep the kids paying attention, and it turned out that I wasn’t terrible at video editing, or at least the type of video editing you can do with a cheap camera (or, now, a smartphone) and iMovie. In an entirely alternate world, I can see a version of me that does this sort of thing for a living. There’s something very satisfying about it, honestly. There’s no world where I’m contemplating a career change or anything like that– if for no better reason than I don’t actually have any idea how you break into that field, and “I’m good at iMovie” probably isn’t going to be enough to get me any interviews.


The bike has finally shipped, and is currently slated to arrive on Tuesday, although I suspect it might arrive a bit quicker. This means that I now get to start obsessing about bike helmets, which is going to be extra special fun because I have an enormous head– seriously, I can’t ever find hats that fit– and therefore bike helmets that 1) fit me 2) I can afford and 3) I am willing to wear are going to, simultaneously, not exist and be sold out everywhere.

My wife’s foot remains in a boot, and I’ll need her to go with me the first time I ride anywhere so she can call the police when I crash and die, so I’ve got time to … I dunno, build one, I guess.

(Oh, also: bike helmets are not built for bald dudes? I have done a little looking around and I feel like any helmet that has actual holes in it is going to be fodder for the weirdest sunburn of all time, and I am not looking forward to that.)


I am beginning to be concerned about this fall. If we are back in class, we, or at least the adults, are probably going to be mandated to wear masks. I have not, to date, been able to spend more than about fifteen minutes in a mask without panic attacks becoming a real problem, so eight hours— to say nothing of eight hours where I’m expected to do something other than curl up into a fetal position and concentrate on not thinking about my breathing– is gonna be … let’s say troublesome.

I have a couple of surgical masks on hand, and I’m going to try one of those the next time I have to go anywhere, because getting cat food at Target (which, apparently, doesn’t actually sell pet supplies any longer, or at least ours doesn’t, or at least they’ve hidden them well enough that I couldn’t find them anywhere?) damn near killed me tonight. It was bad, y’all.


It still, despite the video and despite the fact that I haven’t actually been in my classroom since the middle of March, not quite hit me that the school year is basically over. I finished my grading today; I will finish my actual grades this weekend at some point, and Monday is some staff meeting types of things, and … that’s it. I’ll have survived (more or less) my first year back in the classroom in a while. More thoughts on this later, I imagine, once it actually manages to wash over me and it feels like it means something.


8:05 PM, Friday, May 29: 1,745,606 confirmed cases and 102,798 dead Americans.