MySpace, January 8 – 14, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

On Humiliation
Current mood:
disgusted

Okay, so I’m in a tae kwon do class with my son. Every Monday night since summer I’ve gone and had a good time with it. My son and I are at the rank of orange belt — basically two levels off of the bottom. We know some cool stuff; we could do some real damage against someone who knows no martial arts, but we are really low on the totem pole as things go.Well, tonight was the first class of the new session, and the first half went well. I learned a new form, and learned some of the new moves for my next belt. The second half of the class broke into small groups and one-on-one stuff for more practical play/practice. It was the “come at me and I’ll do some stuff” kind of practice. Well, since the orange belt students in the class are myself and my 7-year-old son, we had no peers to spar with. My son was sent to spar with another kid, and I was paired up with — well, I won’t use his real name, I’ll call him “Dick.”

Dick was obviously a friend of the sensei. He was a blue belt — four levels from the top…four levels above my orange belt. Dick was a blue belt in jiu jitsu, not tae kwon do, and claimed to be “rusty.” We started out practicing the simple block-strike-strike combinations we were supposed to…but Dick started obviously becoming bored with me. Since I’m pretty inexperienced, I kept doing the same thing, and he started lecturing me on fighting. Okay, cool — he’s a higher rank, and I should listen. The lecturing became pretty condescending. Not to mention that his combinations started landing a bit harder on my body. I don’t really like feeling my teeth clack together when it’s supposed to be friendly sparring.

Well, it reached a point where I knew I had to flex my stomach muscles pretty hard when it was his turn, because his knees to the stomach were pretty rough. His strikes to the throat were uncomfortable. It was getting pretty uncomfortable. I told him I was inexperienced a couple of times. When he clacked my teeth together I told him so and said it was too rough.

So he asked if I wanted to do something different. Hell, yes I did…I get tired of just being beat up. So he started to “show me” some “neat moves.” Joint locks where you twist someone’s hand or elbow and put them on the floor. Taking it easy on the one who’s supposed to be learning is usually to be expected. But Dick seemed to take pleasure in reefing my wrist and elbow around. He showed me a finger lock which immediately made my finger loudly go “crack.” I told him point-blank, “If you hear my finger go crack, it was probably too hard.” He wanted to keep showing me the move, and it took not once, not twice, but more than three times of telling him “I don’t want to do that. I don’t like that move,” before he let up on my other hand. I have a sore finger on each hand from it.

We moved to a series of “grab my lapel” followed by him whacking my arms and wrenching either my wrist or elbow. A couple of them drew an involuntary “ack!” from me. When I got to try one of the locks he was showing me, I didn’t get it on the first try, and he outright laughed at me. The final straw for me was when he showed me how to get out of a particular elbow lock, but when it came time for me to get out of it, instead of letting me, he dragged me around the gym in a circle by my arm.

“That’s enough. I’m done.” I said. I straightened up and started to walk away.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“I hurt that shoulder in a motorcycle accident,” I told him. It’s not a lie. I did, some 15 years ago, but that wasn’t really the problem. The problem was that I was done being beat up.
“You should’ve said something, I’d have used your other arm,” he said.
“Don’t worry about it. We’re okay,” I told him. He pressed. I kept just telling him “Don’t worry about it.” I finally said “I think I’m just too low of a belt to work with you.”

My son and I left early.

On the way out, sensei hailed me to say goodbye and I told him about Dick. “Don’t pair me up with that guy again,” I said. “I don’t like having things done to me without explaining them to me first.” Sensei thought we had just paired up and were having fun, and I explained that it started that way and went downhill until Dick was just doing things without letting me know what to expect, and that I didn’t want to disrespect Dick and make a scene in class, but wanted to let Sensei know that he was playing too rough with the lower belt.

It’s the first time tae kwon do wasn’t fun. Dick seemed to want to just show me the stuff he knew but not give me a chance to try it. He wanted to play just shy of full contact, without any pads or protective gear. He seemed to like reefing on my shoulders, elbows and wrists. Worse, he made me not trust him. If you’re sparring with someone that you don’t trust, it’s way more stressful, because you simply don’t know if the guy’s going to accidentally hurt you. The things you learn in tae kwon do can do that…the difference between learning a joint lock and going to the hospital with a shattered elbow is about an inch. You can see how you need to trust your partner to be careful with your body.

Well, I don’t trust Dick. And now if he’s there again, it’s going to be all uncomfortable and stuff. He reacted as if we were having fun and then out of the blue I cried “foul” and walked off. I feel that I gave him ample warnings that he was being too rough. I told him that making my fingers crack was too rough. I told him that clacking my teeth together was too rough. I told him that I was only two levels from the bottom, and inexperienced. I told him “that hurts” a couple of times. It took me saying “That’s enough” and walking away, and I still don’t think he got the clue. Let me say, I was angry enough that I was shaking. I’m guessing I’m going to have stiff wrists for a couple of days.

It sounds corny, but I am striving to learn a lesson from this adversity. I think I have learned, at the expense of my dignity and a few sore joints, that if I am being treated disrespectfully, I don’t have to be stoic and take it. It is entirely acceptable to warn someone once, and if they continue, to remove myself from the situation, and not let that person have another chance.

It doesn’t matter tonight though. Tonight, I just feel disrespected, humiliated and angry.

10:51 PM 0 Comments0 KudosAdd CommentEdit Remove

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Money, Money, Who’s Got The Money??
Current mood:
uncomfortable

Maybe I think about it too much, but there’s a huge disparity in the amount of money people have here in Buckley. We live in a decent little subdivision, in a 3-bedroom tri-level with a yard and a porch. We have a minivan, and a Volvo, and an old Ford. I have a motorcycle. We have nice furniture. We have pictures on the wall. We have broadband internet. We cook real food, and can make coffee, tea or hot chocolate on a whim, not to mention Tang or raspberry Kool-Ade.Well, the kids had some friends over today…a little girl and her two twin brothers. Sweet kids. Well-behaved, clean, quiet — I could wish our older two behaved as well as they do. And they come from “the wrong side of the tracks,” as it were…if there were such a thing in Buckley. My wife says they live in a pair of mobile homes that have been parked next to each other and connected. Their yard is cluttered, and they politely didn’t invite my wife inside.

Well, it bears some thought. Or maybe it doesn’t and I’m being an elitist prick, it’s entirely possible. But how can we show up in their driveway in an expensive-looking Volvo without worrying that it looks like we’re flaunting something? I know their kids went home, and if they asked about our house, they can tell their parents all about our kids’ embarrassing piles of toys, and well, all of the stuff we have. If I were them and heard even once about this house, I’d be mortified to invite them into my trailer. And it’s embarrassing — not only that somebody might think that way about what I have, but that I’m actually thinking that someone might be envious of ME. I mean, how &*%^ conceited is that?

But really, they can’t see from the outside that our Volvo is nine years old and has 165,000 miles on it. They can’t see that we got our stereo piece by piece on eBay, or that our furniture was inherited from my mother. They can’t see how tight we are most months, or that I buy my clothes at Goodwill. They can’t see how close our minivan is to barfing out its transmission or melting its wiring into a Mongolian cluster%$@.

Yeah, listen to me bellyache. Oh boo-hoo, I have it so hard. Yeah, I know that’s what it comes off like, but that’s not what I mean. Stuff to me is just stuff…no matter how nice my stuff is, there will always ALWAYS be someone with better stuff. And there will always be someone with better stuff than theirs. And someone else with better stuff than THEIRS. It’s never-ending. Stuff is just stuff, and it’s so stupid to hate someone, like someone or envy someone just because of their stuff. I’m honestly embarrassed at the amount of stuff we have sitting around. My kids are too focused on stuff and not enough focused on being good people, I fear.

These three kids are going to be coming over next weekend, too, and on one hand I have the reprehensible thought that their mom sends them over to get what they can — lunch, maybe a free toy — and I immediately feel like a worse person for thinking something as petty and hateful as that. I don’t know, is it pity? I sure hope not. But there’s no denying that my wife felt bad taking them back to their own home — even though they’re loved and treated well.

And so I’ve reached the point here where I feel like the thought I’m trying to express is dancing just outside my grasp, leaving me babbling and mumbling and totally unable to say just what it is I’m trying to say. Maybe part of it is this: Why can’t we just say “they seem like nice people” and leave it at that? On both sides of the spectrum, why can’t we just say “they seem like nice people” and leave out all of the rich/poor judgemental crap? What is it that makes being poor mark you as a bad person, and being not poor marks you as a good person? I mean in reality, I’ve seen quite a few rich people who are thoroughly bad people; rotten to their core.

I’m stopping.

Their kids are welcome in my home. They seem like nice kids.

Currently listening :
Hang Me Up to Dry
By Cold War Kids
Release date: 16 July, 2007

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Only On The Days That End In “Y.”

The subject of this post doesn’t have anything to do with anything I have to write. I just thought it sounded catchy. It’s like “Does the Pope shit in the woods?” I’ll come right out and say that I have nothing to say, and nothing worth typing in this little text window.That’s what a blog is for, right?

Um, today I got up at four a.m. because one of our babies (we have 14-month-old twins) woke me up, and I decided to stay up rather than catch a single hour of sleep. I went to work. I ate leftovers for lunch. I came home, it rained. It was a day. Sure, it’s a rare day that it’s 46 degrees and rainy in January in Michigan, but these things happen. Last year it was warm enough on New Year’s Day that I put away our Xmas decorations in my pajamas.

Yesterday, now, that was some weather. The morning was so foggy that I couldn’t see the pavement under my wheels — all I could see was the hood of the car. And there was wind, so this thick-ass fog was blowing across the road. It was real “Hound of the Baskervilles” fog, blowing in off the moors. Though Buckley’s version of moors look more like cornfields. Smell like ’em, too. In the evening, for my commute home, it was a thunderstorm complete with thick, pink bolts of lightning, torrential rain, gale-force winds. Again, I couldn’t see the road, for the buckets of water being dumped on the windshield. It was cool.

And after all the snow melted, I found our other car! We used to have a big snowbank with tires, but without snow, I see that it’s really a big, blue Ford with a dead battery! Woo-hoo! It’s too bad that the battery’s drained, though, because it really isn’t worth charging it up before spring, since we aren’t going to drive it in the winter…and that means that we can’t sell it this winter, because we can’t start it up for someone, and I don’t want to sell it for $20, because it really is a decent car even if it is 24 years old and 17 feet long.

But then, it’s supposed to get cold and snow on us again tonight, so pretty soon the Ford’ll be covered with snow again, and I’ll forget about it until June when the snow finally melts again.

See ya.

Currently listening :
Crush Crush Crush
By Paramore
Release date: 27 November, 2007

10:37 PM 0 Comments0 KudosAdd CommentEdit Remove

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