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Monday, April 18, 2011

Bowling for Pleasure

Yesterday, my sister, her husband, and their son moved into their new digs. Four houses away from mine.

My wife and I hid.

When you're a little kid, you ardently believe that, if you hide under the covers and close your eyes, the monsters/kidnappers/murderers/IRA terrorists can't find you. When you're an adult, you realize that you actually have to haul ass and get the fuck out of the area in order to avoid being seen.

As they say in "Monty Python's Flying Circus," the first lesson in not being seen is not to stand up.

As her brother, I probably should have helped her move in. On its face, that sounds correct. However, if you take into account the fact that, since college, I moved five times and she helped (marginally) one of those times, and that I have participated in every single one of her post-collegiate moves, I didn't really feel compelled to assist yesterday. And I told my father that weeks ago.

"I'm not helping, just so you know. And you're old now, so you shouldn't either."

He laughed. It's not funny, of course, but that's never stopped him before.

I don't want my sister living four doors away from me, and I realize that I can't close my eyes and hide under the covers and make it all go away-- but I want to. The best I could do was go antiquing with my wife, then hit Anthropologie so she could pick up a sherbet-hued sweater and a fricking cute stuffed bunny rabbit, and finish up the little Sunday adventure with two games at the bowling alley.

She totally skinned my hide: 109 - 76 on the second game. I was mortified, but I hid it well.

There are many times in my life where I think I am a very bad person. As I completely ignored my sister on her move-in day, I couldn't decide if I felt like I was a very bad person. I think maybe I thought I was at different points in the day, but there were other times where I just didn't care, and I was really enjoying myself.

"It sounds to me," my therapist said last week, "that you don't really take pleasure in very many things. There are definitely things that you're good at, and things that you like-- but I'm not sure that you necessarily take pleasure in any of them."

He's right. It's scary how someone who has only known you for fifty-four minutes can be right about something like that.

So, I thought I would try to take pleasure in something yesterday and, for the most part, it worked. I knew that I would take absolutely no pleasure in helping my sister move into the house that I don't feel she deserves. Is it for me to say what she deserves? No, it's not. Am I still able to feel how I feel? Yes, absolutely.

Is it "right"? God-- what is "right"? I just don't know.

All I know is that, when I bowl, the ball inherently drifts over to the right.

I don't like the way I feel. I don't like the whole situation. As my mother said, "I wish that house were anywhere else other than where it is," and that makes me feel a little bit better, but it doesn't really help me. I don't know what is really going to help me-- if anything will. I never thought that I would feel jealous of my sister, or indignant, or anything like what I feel as I write these words, but I do. And it scares me, and it disappoints me, and it confuses and enrages me.

My therapist asked me last week why I do everything in my power to eschew my own expressions of anger.

"Well," I said, "anger isn't nice."

And it isn't. Neither is ditching your family to go antiquing, Anthro-ing, and bowling, but I'm far too old to just shut my eyes and dive under the blankets anymore, but I'm not quite mature enough to face the music 100% of the time, either.

And I doubt I ever will be.

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