Sunday, December 11, 2005

Where the sidewalk ends

I've finally figured out something about complicated people, we have a hard time understanding people that are simpler than ourselves. And I don't necessarily mean stupider or less intelligent when I say "simpler." What I really mean is less complicated. I've never been able to introduce someone to one of my parents without divulging have of my life story... why? because my life is complicated. The relationships in my life have always been at least a little more complicated than those of my peers. When I called my grandmother "mom" friends would want to know why she was so old... and occasionally why she was so fat. When I called my dad "dave" friends wanted to know why I called my parents by their first names. When they asked my how I got the name "rainbough" that launched into another slew of stories. References to siblings, and even cousins could end up being a half hour conversation in and of themselves to explain how the sister was a cousin, or the cousin was a niece but really a cousin, and the aunt was a sister but really an aunt, and my mom's oldest daughter was neither mother or aunt, but later was mother, and finally simply Diane.

Fastforward to 8th grade and I end up living with a parent without the capacity to understand me, nor the desire to try. Likewise I did not have the ability to understand him, because strangely enough he simply wasn't complicated enough.

I was so long infuriated in past emails and letters with my father's tendency to not only ignore whole paragraphs of my feelings that I had carefully and clearly written out but then to even to repeat things I said as if I hadn't said them. For example in one letter I recall saying "I realize that we grew up in a very different environment than you did..." His response started like this "first of all I grew up in a very different environment than you did..." He then went on to imply that I couldn't possibly understand what he was saying because I didn't take into consideration this fact even though it was me who had introduced it.

Not responding to or commenting on my feelings was one thing, the real problem I had was that he acted as if they didn't exist. He would respond as if they hadn't been written... as if they weren't there on the paper/screen before him. For example I might thoroughly refute a belief of his and have him respond by simply reasserting it. No response to my arguments, no recognition that they even ever existed just a reassertion of his belief without any argument to back it up. It was baffling. Had he not read it? How for example could he repeat a sentence almost in its entirety to the word that I had written and imply that he was introducing new and unconsidered data. Yet he would respond to selective parts of our exchanges ignoring 95 percent of what I said.

It finally occurred to me after all these years that he wasn't ignoring my thoughts, feelings, and arguments in all those letters, he simply could not understand them. He may understand the words on the page, but he can't understand the broader abstractions. He doesn't get implications, and he has no way of recognizing when his own arguments have been fully refuted. I don't have to even worry about him reading this.

Yes my much posted on wayward father aka sperm donor, has finally found my blog. I always got a kick out of hiding my feelings in the open, and being so easily found on the internet that my grandmother has even attempted to send me emails regarding my relationship with my dad (and you know I didn't tell her about my blog). But alas he won't understand the words I'm writing right now. If he says anything it will be a meaningless assertion that will have little to do with this post. Its actually kind of disappointing.

Where am I supposed to go with that?