Monday, April 28, 2008

The Future Tense, Or The Conditional.

I was chatting with E earlier, and I think I might have figure out the other half of what I was trying to say about my husband's use of language. Even when he's doing well...when he's not in active addiction, when he's working on himself and really trying to do the right thing as much as he possibly can...he only is able to speak about the future, the past, and the maybes. His mind is never in this moment. It's in the past. It's in the future. It's in that impossible conditional tense...the could, the should, the would. The but what if I had or the but what if maybe one day I can...

I was just posting on my Second Road blog about his ranting last night, for instance:

"What have I been doing? Do I just not care about anything? I don't even care about myself. Why have I just been letting you take care of me? What have I been doing? I'm almost 30, and I don't even exist. If you left me, I wouldn't exist. Nobody would even notice if I disappeared except you and my family, eventually. What have I been doing? I've got to change everything...everything."
It is sad how right he is in many ways...he doesn't exist to many people. In actuality, on a day-to-day basis, he only exists to me right now. I see him and touch him and speak with him. He has family, too, and they talk to him some. Other than us, though, he is not making much of an impact on the world right now. He exists virtually, too, through me. He exists through the things I write about him and the people who hear me speak about him. But he doesn't have much of his own, not now. Not here, today. He doesn't have a driver's license. He doesn't have a Social Security card. He doesn't have a job. He doesn't have a bill in his own name. He isn't real anymore.

And his words reflect that lack of stasis, that lack of balance. He was a person some years ago, and he might be again in the future. Today, he is plans. Today he is what he was. His words are full of empty spaces, and it makes me feel sad.

Sad and distracted. Sad for him, and distracted from this work I'm doing for me. I'm working really hard to keep myself here, now. I'm not meant to think of what I could have done, or what I might do. I'm trying to think of today, this minute. If I think of the past, I resent and regret. If I think of the future, I fear. If I stay in today, then I am comfortable...I begin to find peace.

Here's an example conversation:

Him: Do you think we should stay in this town?

Me: I don't know. If I find a good job here, I will stay here. If I keep having crappy jobs, then yes, I'd like to move somewhere with a good job.

Him: But where do you want to be? If you could be anywhere? Where would you go with me if we could go wherever we wanted?

Me: I'd go somewhere with a good job.

Him: No! I mean, if you could pick...if you could be anything you wanted and go anywhere you would you like the beach? What about a big city? You like big cities...

Me: It's more important to me that I have a good job with benefits than that I live somewhere exciting now. Is there somewhere you'd like to go?

Him: Can't you just daydream?

Me: You daydream. Where would you like to live?

Him: I don't know. You like the mountains, don't you? Maybe we could live in the mountains. Maybe if we lived in the mountains, I could get a job working outside. We could start over, and I could be different...

There, now. I feel better for having been so thoroughly unclear. I think I haven't really explained the other half. I think I've only explained another part, because there is something more, too. There is something about how I am left to do all the thinking, and I'm left feeling singularly unimaginative when speaking against someone building himself from the ground up. I guess there will be an Addict Language, Part III coming soon...or maybe not.

Art By Chris Buzelli