October 1st, 2002

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On amends

One of the things I am highly in favor of is making amends. That is, to correct or change one's behavior. Ultimately, this is what is most important in repairing a relationship after breaking it. There are really two parts to this. Past behavior and future behavior. Of the two, not repeating mistakes is probably the more important, but making up for something is nearly as important and sometimes the only thing when making amends.

As I wrote about apologies, I have been burned in the past by "I'm sorrys" and "Forgive mes" in the past when the person didn't change his behavior. I had a roommate once, Mel, who continually was late with his part of the rent and never cleaned up after himself. I constantly heard "I'm sorry" from him and "I'll get you the money soon." But the words meant little to me after the first couple of times. And while it was important for him to pay me on time in the future, I was most concerned with him catching up on the large backlog of rents he owed me. Eventually, he tried to pay me off with meat from a cow his father butchered.

During my early college years, I was a heavy drinker. I resented my parents quite a bit. I never called. Rarely visited. Used my mother as my personal banker (she controlled the meager inheritance from my father), but little else. As part of the process of quitting drinking, I had to repair the relationship with my mother and step-father. There is no possible way to replace the time she was shut out of my life. It's not like money that can be repaid or time & effort. So what I had to do was do thing right from that point on.

So I started calling my parents. I lived in another state. I visited more often. I told my mom how I was doing. And when my dad answered the phone, I didn't immediately brush past him to get to other family members. My father and I did not get along in my formative years, and I considered him stupid and not worth my time for a long time.

But I still slacked sometimes. At a wedding of a 5th cousin (could be 2nd, could be 9th, I don't really know) in Portland in '93, I took off for a day and checked out the area. Checked out some A.A. meetings as well. When I got back to the hotel, my mom asked me what I had been up to for the day. I blew her off. She called me on it, saying that my amends to her meant that I included her all the time, not just when I felt like it.

I knew that my efforts were paying off though in '94, when my car broke down. My step-father, who for many years would not even get into a car if I was driving, lent me the keys to his truck to go run around junk yards to find parts. His truck! His baby.

At times, 10 years after I sat down with them, I still hold back when it comes to including my family in my life. Most of the time though it is out of a desire to protect my mother from something she doesn't understand. I don't want to throw in her face a lifestyle that she thinks is at least partially sinful. However, I tell her when I am enjoying myself. I tell her my trials and tribulations. I even occasionally introduce a girl I am seeing to her, although that has rarely worked out. Because I want her to feel like she is a part of my life.

That is my amends to my parents.

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On forgiveness

I generally don't hold grudges. Simply put, if someone does something that bothers me, I will work around their bad behavior, but I will not "shun" or punish someone. For instance, if someone takes something I tell them in confidence and tells other people, I will have words with them, and afterward I will simply not tell them confidential information anymore. I will usually tell them that this is what will happen, so they know why and have a chance to modify their behavior.

One friend lost $15,000 that I invested in his business because he tried to get away with not paying his workmans' comp. Rather than tell me that the business was in trouble (or anyone else who invested), he tried to cut the wrong corners. I usually see him at the local pool hall whenever I visit Moscow, Idaho. I flip him shit every time just so he remembers (okay, maybe a little punishment), but I will play pool with him and hold a conversation. I don't dislike him. But when he started hinting around that he was looking for money for another business idea, I told him he needed to pay me back the first $15 grand before I was willing to give him any more.

Some times people bad mouth me. I say go right ahead. I won't hold a grudge. I probably won't hang out with them, because I don't want to be around people capriciously denigrating me (it's not good for my mental well being). And I won't punish or bad mouth them because of their behavior, though I might mention they badmouthed me. If they have other skills or good qualities, I have no problem with telling people that. Ultimately, people will see their character flaws for what they are without me being nasty.

I should point out that this is all my ideal. I've been known to be snarky. I've been known to retaliate. I've been known to get really pissy about things at times. However, more than not I am pretty accepting of people's defects of character.

On the other hand, when I am the person who has sinned, I fully expect retaliation and punishment. Just because I follow a different path doesn't mean that someone else must. In fact, I expect and view it as correct that I should have to work my way back into a position of trust. If I have messed you over, the (objective) odds are that I will do it again. People don't change overnight, and if people think my behavior won't change overnight either, they are betting on the house. So watch me. But if you decide to cut me some slack, I'll certainly appreciate the gesture.

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48 hour rule

Jason claims there is a 48 hour rule. If one doesn't kiss a girl within 48 hours of first flirting or expressing interest, you shall be forever doomed to friend-hood. I disagree. I say such an idea is mostly an urban myth.

MacCauley

Recently read

Seven Up coverFirst, the fluff. Seven Up, by Janet Evanovich is the 7th (no shit Sherlock!) Stephanie Plum novel. Although probably the last I'll read for a while, so you won't have to endure too many more review of them. Cause although I enjoy them, I'm not willing to pay for them in hardcover. The next novel isn't due out in paperback for a while yet. Anyway, Evanovich continues to make Stephanie Plum more human, as well as the two leading men in her play. But everyone else continues to be as outrageous as ever. Not much else to say about it. Fluffy fluff fluff.

Second, I just finished the much more serious The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Sorry, no GIF of the cover. Couldn't find one that shows the Scribner's edition cover. This is my first Hemingway novel. Frankly, I don't understand the fuss. While the story engaged me, and I shall most certainly read more Hemingway (I purchased two more in Fremont a couple of weekends ago), I fail to see anything significant in the writing. Perhaps I am just missing something. Anyway, the story revolves around a trip to Pamplona Spain by Jake and several of his ne'er-do-well friends. They fish, get drunk, watch the bullfights, have affairs, and generally do nothing. The only hitch is, all the men are in love with Brett, who seems to me to have no positive qualities about her, except her willingness to get in bed with whatever hot new stud is the flavor of the day. I can see why Hemingway is called a misogynist. What I don't understand is why men would find the life portrayed attractive. Pining away over a shallow woman? Yuck. I kept on waiting for one of them to come to their senses. The narrator, Jake, comes the closest in that he realizes that Brett would twist him apart, but seems to fail to realize that he only tortures himself by hovering near the fire.