Don’t mind me. I just watched Getting Doug With High with Cheech and Chong as the guests and I think I might have got a contact high. The white wine and reefer here on my desk might have had a little something to do with it, too, I suppose. Moving right along…
I feel like a scored a minor victory today. I received a “patronage dividend” from the local electric cooperative, a check for a hundred bucks and some change. The dividend is for fifteen years ago, which seems like a long time to wait, but a hundred bucks is a hundred bucks so I’ll not complain. But that’s not the good part. The good part is a perhaps unnecessarily long story that I’m going to tell because I just damn feel like it, I’m not kind enough to let you off easily this time, and I’m high.
Fifteen years ago I was married to a crazy woman. I don’t mean that the way divorced guys often do, in that “bitch thinks she can do better than me, she’s crazy” way. I mean bat shit crazy. She had football game rituals and believed that if she didn’t do them just so, just perfectly and without deviation from… well, hell, from the instructions of the voices in her head, I guess… that her failure would cause the Denver Broncos to lose. She’d be downtrodden and full of self loathing for days after the Broncos lost, convinced that it was her fault. She believed that if she didn’t play her Powerball numbers they would be drawn because the universe would do that to punish her and make her live the rest of her life knowing that she could have been rich. It was the same gig with some promotions some Denver TV news stations were doing in which they’d announce a word or something every day, and then dial a random phone number. If the random person they called knew the current day’s word they would win something, a hundred bucks or whatever, and if they knew the previous days’ words up to five days back the prize was larger for each successive answer. The ex was absolutely certain that if she didn’t get those words they would call. She’d flip back and forth between the two stations to be sure to get the words from both, and if she had to be at work she’d make the kid do it. I put a stop to that when I became aware of her involving the kid in her insanity, so she’d tape one channel and hope and fear and cry and worry and give me shit about it until five days had passed and the universe had somehow forgot to ass fuck her with the fickle finger of fate.
She used to believe that the characters in the soap operas she watched were real. She’d say that she knew they weren’t but she said it with a pained expression, and she behaved as if they were real and she knew them personally. She’d fret and worry about them, or hate the bad guys as if they were actually doing those things that were written for them, or be giddy with delight when someone got married, or mourn when someone died. She wouldn’t sleep well through the weekend if the Friday cliffhanger was one that left her to worry about a character she had identified with. She spoke of those characters as if they were real, and was more engaged with them than with any real person. They were more real to her than I was, and she liked them better because they weren’t plotting against her and trying to make her think she was crazy.
And that was just the entertaining part of her malfunction. The other parts were paranoid schizophrenia and less entertaining manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The OCD was’t too bad even if it did mean that it took 10 or 20 minutes to leave the house because she had to run back inside repeatedly to make sure the stove was off, the iron was unplugged, the windows were locked, and so on. The schizophrenia sucked balls. I can’t even get started on that because if I do we’ll be streaking right on past 10,000 words in short order. I will say, though, that the word salad was interesting to witness. She’d get to talking and it was clear that the topic was changing every two or three words, but there was no way to follow because no actual thoughts were expressed about any of those in the topic parade. The ugly part was when she’d end on a questioning note and I was expected to answer. If there was an acceptable answer there was never any indication of what it might be, so I’d apologize and say that I didn’t understand the question. That would start up the paranoia every time. I was trying to make her think she was crazy, she wasn’t crazy, I was the one with psychological problems, and she resented the hell out of the constant persecution… She could stay on topic for that crap just fine.
Cue the music: When you find yourself playing Suite Judy Blue Eyes over and over the course is already set whether you know it or not.
The bitch emptied my house. She did leave the mahogany dining table because there was no room for it in her new place where the dining table she already had when we met was going, and one occasional table that I got from the woman from whom I bought my first car. Everything else was gone. The night before I’d gone to the market and bought a huge package of toilet paper and 20 pounds of pinto beans — she took half of each. If I hadn’t already known she was bat shit crazy I’d have wondered what kind of crazed bitch would do that. I mean, she’d already emptied the damn house and then went back to open a bag of beans to take half?
At some point in that carnival of thrills I received a medical bill for services rendered to the ex. She was already moved out and had published her scorned woman piece (“responsible for no debts other than my own”) in the paper, my house was still empty, and she was trashing my name all over town, but I paid the bill. It was something like $900, but she’d already got half the pinto beans so it just didn’t matter all that much to me any more.
No, seriously, I paid the bill because I knew she couldn’t. She might have been bat shit crazy, and she might have made my life a living hell for several years, and she might have emptied my house and taken all manner of things that were mine before we met, and she might have successfully gaslighted me to make me think I was losing my mind right along with her losing hers, and she might have embarrassed me by confronting women she’d thought I was having affairs with, but I figured it wasn’t her fault she was crazy and I felt great sympathy for her. That sympathy was why I hadn’t thrown her ass out long, long before I did. I’m more careful about where I invest my sympathies now. At the time, I just figured that she hadn’t asked to become a bat shit crazy cuntroach from hell so I shouldn’t hold it against her.
Yeah, I should have.
When it came time to go to court to get the divorce done she had a list of all of the other shit she forgot to take half of. Half of the security deposit and last month’s rent. Half of the utility deposits of which there were none — she made me prove it. Half of this, half of that. Half of the swingarm bird feeder hangers I’d picked up on sale at the hardware store five years earlier for $4.95 apiece. Half of the Christmas lights. Real petty shit, most of it, with a value of maybe $200 in total once you got past the various deposits and such. I’m glad she stopped short of demanding half of my dick. The spiteful bitch would have demanded the back half.
I guess that would’ve left me holding the bag, huh?
Anyway, my view was that there was no price too high to become free of the bat shit crazy cuntroach from hell so I just agreed to all of it. Dammit, she’d already got the pinto beans so there was just nothing left worth fighting for.
Then I hit a dry spell in my business. Of course. Some work I’d been promised never materialized and I’d turned other work away because I’d committed to the project that didn’t happen. (Another lesson learned. Fuck you. Pay me.) The court thing happened, I was ordered to pay the bat shit crazy cuntroach from hell a sum of money I didn’t have at the time…
Next thing I know I’m hauled into court, charged with civil contempt. It seems an easy enough thing to beat: Just go in and show that you haven’t had the ability to obey the court’s order since the order was issued, and that’s that. In Colorado there are three tests for civil contempt: (1) Was the defendant ordered by the court to perform an act? (2) Has the defendant failed to perform that act? And the kicker: (3) Has it been within the defendant’s ability to perform that act? She had me on points one and two, but I was golden on point three. One of the first things the judge said was that he was gong to put me in jail. Huh? Incarceration in a civil case? WTF? The situation was such a massive clusterfuck that I requested and was granted a continuance. I was afraid that he was going to continue my heathen ass into the county jail so I was damn glad to be out in the sunshine afterward.
The judge must have got lucky at some point before the second court appearance. He wasn’t talking jail time any more, but he did go ahead and convict me anyway. I’d pointed out that the woman hadn’t even tried to prove that I’d had the necessary means and that I was prepared to show that I hadn’t, but he didn’t want to hear any of it and warned me not to make things worse by speaking or allowing a contemptuous look to pass over my face. So I had to pay the woman the originally ordered sum plus her filing feed on an installment plan.
If I’d entered the courtroom with any respect at all for authority it would have been greatly diminished by that experience.
Ironically, the dry spell ended and if she hadn’t unnecessarily hauled me into court I would have paid her in full just a few days after I paid the first installment. But the court had ordered installments and so it was installments she got.
So today I got a patronage dividend from the electric cooperative for membership while married to the bat shit crazy cuntroach from hell. And she’s not getting a penny. She got half the pinto beans but this hundred bucks is all mine.