maarmie's musings

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yay, guns!

Thirty-two people at Virginia Tech are dead and all the NRA and other gun nuts can do is pull their weapons tighter against their breasts and staunchly dig their heels into the ground in favor of gun owners' rights?

That's what's wrong with this country.

In my opinion, the Columbine killers had some kind of leg to stand on when they extinguished their prey 10 years ago. I mean, at least the topic of school bullying (bullying = bad) was brought to light and bandied about for some time before that event slipped into obscurity. Unfortunately, for all we can stand to learn from the VTech massacre, this Cho Seung-Hui kid comes off in his videos and writings as just some kind of delusional freak who was operating without a full set of batteries.

OK. I got it. He was peeved because he perceived his fellow classmates as having far too much. Cognac? BMWs? Those kids were living the high life, it sounds, yet complaining about their miserable existences all the way while poor, little Cho Seung-Hui was stuck out in the cold receiving only a great education while not having to work. Poor Seung-Hui! Why couldn't the United States have given the poor immigrant boy more of a chance in life?

So far, I know that he was a senior English student at Virginia Tech and that he had a history of depression. He had no friends and didn't socialize. He ate alone. He went to bed early most nights. He was a shitty writer. He liked to wear sunglasses and preferred his baseball hat pulled low. He listed his name as "question mark" on a classroom sign-in sheet. He stalked a couple of female students and took photos of females under his desk. He scared teachers. He was referred for counseling. He was sent for a psychological evaluation. He was thrown out of a class. He was marginalized by fellow students and teachers. On and on and on.

But he was still going to class? Still a student at VT? Still roaming free?

That's what's wrong with this country.

Did school officials not step in sooner and harsher because they didn't have the legal authority to do so? Or were they just scared of him? Did they not want to deal with it? Did they not have enough evidence? Did he need to kill someone first before anything could be done?

That's what's wrong with this country.

Where are his parents in all this? Why haven't they stepped forward? Why hasn't anyone interviewed them? Was the murderer abused as a child as his writing might suggest?

That's what's wrong with this country.

I heard on some newscast that this kind of brutality is uniquely American. What is it that we, as a country, are doing wrong? Are we not taking mental disorders seriously enough? Is it still taboo to discuss them? Do we still foolishly think that young people will just live in their misery and that this misery won't leak out to affect others?

That's what's wrong with this country.

And will those powerful right-to-gunners always think it's perfectly sensible for someone - largely, anyone - to be able to walk into a store and buy loads of guns and enough ammunition to destroy thousands? Will the NRA - with its very deep pockets - always be so powerful?

That's what's wrong with this country.

In the end, I think Cho Seung-Hui's actions could very well open up all kinds of debate and teach us, as a nation, a lot about mental illness, troubled youth and the effects of the second amendment on an individualistic, capitalistic nation whose morals and virtues (more money, more power, more everything...NOW!) are largely skewed.

Seung-Hui might not end up getting his rambling and incoherent message across to the country that survives this event, but I think we have a great chance, if we choose to listen hard enough, to hear and learn powerful messages and lessons that could change society for the better.

Chances are, though, we won't listen.

We never do.

That's what's wrong with this country.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

World map discoveries

maarmie: (looking at a world map) Did you know...that the United an island?

C^: (with mock surprise) It is?

maarmie: Yes. And did you know...that southwest...of Scotland?

C^: Yes. I knew that.

maarmie: I don't understand...why they don't build a bridge.

C^: A bridge where?

maarmie: Between England...and France.

C^: That would be good. There's already a tunnel.

maarmie: (shocked because the map clearly does not indicate a tunnel) There is??? That's! I love tunnels!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pendulum swings, part deux

Long-distance relationships are hard, and I suspect that the people who say they are easy/in any way fun/remotely satisfying are the same people who are only comfortable in relationships that have a low degree of intimacy.

Long-distance relationships are not for the meek…or the insecure.

All kinds of trouble can brew in a long-distance relationship when you're talking to your beloved (or are in the middle of phone sex?!) and you hear him/her furiously typing in the background. Who is he writing to? Why is she ignoring me? How come she's not telling me what she's doing? Is it a big secret? Is he cheating on me? Did he meet someone else in a chat room, and is he now feverishly typing her the first of a series of ardent love letters? AM I ON THE WAY OUT?!

All kinds of trouble can brew in a long-distance relationship when all you've got is webcam/phone sex in the place of a real fleshfest and one of you can't quite get there for some reason. Is he having a dry spell? Is she not turned on by me anymore? Is she thinking of something or, worse, someone, else?

All kinds of trouble can brew in a long-distance relationship when the only connection you have is a phone, and you are tired/depressed/irritated/frustrated. Sighs and dead silences can be severely misconstrued leading to a barrage of inane questioning and, most likely, an argument or 20.

All kinds of trouble can brew in a long-distance relationship when, after months of sending and receiving cards and gifts, talking on the phone for hours a day and writing and reading sweet e-mails, you realize that all you fucking really fucking want to fucking give/get is a fucking kiss and/or a fucking hug to/from your significant other but all you fucking have in front of you is fucking nothing. This continued realization tends to make one cranky and/or bitchy and can lead to unsolicited arguments. Fun! Fun!

All kinds of trouble can brew in a long-distance relationship when you're an insensitive clod - as humans are prone to being, especially when harboring ill feelings - and you make less-than-loving comments to your sweetie such as "You're a jerk!" "I've dated bigger and better feminists than you!" "Your son doesn't need you! He's going to have a new father soon!" "You look awful today! Your face looks smashed!" "You're a liar! You're a liar!" "You're stingy!" "Fuck off!" "Men suck!"

All kinds of trouble can brew in a long-distance relationship when one or the other or both of you have major insecurities and you aren't there to see what's going on but you get to hear all about: the male employee she hangs out with when she's bored; the female co-worker he hung out at the beach with one day; the single female neighbor who moved into the empty apartment across the hall from him; the guy who invited her out to coffee and then tracked down her e-mail address; the married women who boasted of their many boyfriends he shared vodka with at the airport before trading e-mail addresses with them after one of the women invited him to an upcoming party; the guy who is on her IM list and the male friends she goes to the movies/out to dinner with.

And it's not just the "who's" that can get your long-distance significant other's hackles up, it's the "where's" as well.

He thinks she's coming right back to the computer to chat after putting the groceries away but she gets on a roll and ends up cleaning out her fridge and doing the dishes before heading back toward the webcam. When she gets back, he is gone and has left an IM saying "You should have just told me you weren't coming back."

She thinks he'll be home at 5 p.m. her time to chat, but he doesn’t end up coming home until 1 a.m. his time after hanging out at a bar with his male friend who he has brought home with him to keep the good times going for another few hours and forces her to chat with his buddy on the phone even when she is fuming and CERTAINLY. DOESN'T. FEEL. LIKE. TALKING.

demain: Pendulum swings, part trois

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pendulum swings, part un

I apologize for not having written in so long, but I've been on a crazy rollercoaster the last few months and am just now taking the time to breathe, reflect and share.

At the beginning of November, I met a man online, a random partner with whom I shared a few games of backgammon on Yahoo! games. Those few games turned into lengthy conversations, a sharing of e-mail addresses, more conversations over Yahoo! IM, then with webcam, then on the phone. Great talks. So much in common. Lots of laughter. Fabulous.

General stats: Born and raised in England, 39 years old, Taurus, student, one son, never married, 6'1", approximately 170-180 pounds, blue eyes, grey hair (formerly blond).

Two months after first meeting him online, he flew from Scotland (yes, Scotland) to Tallahassee over new year's so we could spend time in person and see if the chemistry in the flesh was as good as the chemistry on the phone and the Internet. It was.

We had a great time talking, kissing, canoeing, traveling to Savannah, meeting friends for dinner. He flew back home at the end of the first week of January knowing we wouldn't see each other again until May at the very earliest. Four months away from each other. Would it work? Could things last?

Neither of us had ever attempted a long-distance relationship before, and, I, for one, can say that I never wanted one until I met C^. Here are the things about him - and the relationship - that I love the most, the reasons I decided to make a go of all this in the first place:

1. C^ is completely unique/doesn't follow the herd.

2. He recognizes and appreciates my uniqueness.

3. He is emotional and shows his emotions easily.

4. He is incredibly intelligent.

5. He is reasonably understanding/open minded.

6. He is usually willing to admit when he is wrong.

7. He seems open to self improvement.

8. He appreciates my intelligence and frequently tells me he thinks I'm beautiful.

9. We share many of the same beliefs about religion, politics, relationships and parenting and the way the world ought to be/work.

10. We have a similar sense of humor and agree on nearly every topic under the sun.

11. We like the same books, movies, music and activities.

12. His accent is to die for.

13. He can turn me on like you wouldn't believe.

14. I'm pretty sure he puts the toilet seat down after ever wee...AND HE WIPES THE RIM!


Even though we share all this, even though I appreciate all this, even with all of this as a foundation for a relationship, this relationship has been more incredibly difficult than I ever thought imaginable.

Had I written this post a month ago, it would have been some kind of blathering love letter, a syrupy-sweet ode dripping with the kindest of words and comparing our relationship to the very best of relationships that ever existed or ever would exist, putting what seemed to just naturally exist between us and what I thought we had created on a pedestal for all the world to see, admire and attempt to emulate.

But, after three months, harsh words, misunderstandings and more arguments than I care to admit, the luster has worn off some. The reality that nothing is ever perfect is setting in. The realization that our "effortless" relationship isn't going to be so effortless after all has slapped me in the face. Can we learn from our mistakes? Can we improve ourselves and, through these improvements, improve the relationship? Can this relationship last? And, most importantly, if this relationship doesn't work out, how am I ever going to stalk him when he lives so very far away???

demain: Pendulum swings, part deux