This time I lasted twenty minutes around that table. It could be that my lack of patience with slime and mediator man is because this is the third time (1, 2) around that table (with more goodies in the middle that I did not touch) and I already knew how things would go. Or it could be because the day before slime was yelling at me, yet again, for moving his dishes and then within the rant he proceeded to fill a bowl with water and throw it on the fish I had draining in a colander in the sink, and then throw a cup with orange peels in it and so I was in a still annoyed-stressed-exhausted state of mind. I almost threw that cup with orange peels, that I was originally holding in my hand, at him: I raised my hand and saw his red, throbbing face and his little tape recorder and heard his little voice saying, “Don’t touch my things, if you do I will put yours on your bed”; “Call the police”; “I’ll take you to court and win.”And I just knew that I didn’t want to have to pay any more for having made the mistake of staying with this man for too long, and throwing anything at him could do just that. I guess I still haven’t lost my sanity.
Before I walked out, I stood up, told slime that I don’t have to listen to him insult me anymore and said to deer-in-the-headlights mediator man that it’s not okay that he lets slime speak to me like that.
What especially stands out is that slime is whining that he has to pay me $5,000 (which is a lot less than the $25,000 he should owe me but I relinquished $20,000 to get moving last time; I did say that he stole it from me). Then, when I said that he still hadn’t paid for $1,000 of home repairs his little voice started saying, “Read what the contract says.” Uh, no. No maneuverings, you should have paid for more repairs; it’s not legalese here, it’s about getting the house attractive enough to invite an offer. And that stupid mediator man is not able to discern a difference between how the two of us act or talk?!
By now I know that not only is mediator man not on my side, but more of the “yes, what this guys says makes sense” kind of person because, as my mother says, he hasn’t really seen him. Her analogy was a gynecologist who never gave birth. If you haven’t lived with this type of manipulative person and seen how he twists everything, you might think that he makes sense. When I said, no, I don’t agree to slime’s new price both slime and mediator man came in on a chorus that the court won’t address this. The implication was clear, do what he says because you have no other recourse. Really I thought, thinking of Leopard-Lady Lawyer.
And once more I turned to mediator man and asked him why is he trying to get me to change my mind and not slime’s?
The one time he managed to come to my “defense” was when slime objected to my taking notes on a piece of paper saying that it is not permissible in a court of law. Speaking of controlling, what, I’m not allowed to write on paper unless I get your permission and you have the big legal pad in front of you but that’s okay?
When he said that we were both repeating ourselves I had had it. Mine is a two-sentence sound bite, and his is an oration. When you’ve lived with a lawyer you know bullshit when you hear it, and this man—who is also a lawyer—didn’t hear it hitting him. DO NOT PUT US IN THE SAME CATEGORY I wanted to scream. He clearly had no patience for me since I kept repeating one very low price and I was not letting his “skills” have any influence on me. This man, who had worked in the field for an entire career, didn’t have the capacity for compassion or understanding; he seemed to be of the understanding that the person who has a game plan that involves some moves (so he thinks he has done something) is the better of the two. Clearly it is time for him to hit the golf course.
Which brings me to my question of the day: Why do men seem to always side with each other? Is it because they have the same screwed up understanding of the world, or the same inability to hear what someone else—A WOMAN—has to say? How does this little seventy-year old mediator not see the dynamics in the room: one man who talks and talks and talks in a very aggressive, demanding manner, and a woman who won’t look at said man and who speaks (I think) from pure exasperation and exhaustion. Is there not a difference between a hurricane and an afternoon shower?
Mediator man reminds me of another man who was called in to help us, that would be the marriage counselor that we saw three times. Not only was slime hogging all the talking time and air in that room, but he was controlling the session, bullying the counselor to follow his conversation lead. And as much as I talked to explain myself and was determined to not let slime derail the talks, the counselor just kept hearing him. If he had heard me and had seen slime he wouldn’t have asked us each to agree that we were 50% responsible for the failure of the marriage.
And that brings me to more men who I don’t get which is why I am so man-baffled today. Pseudo-man popped up again. Leaving a drunk message on my cellphone and asking me to go to a concert with him. Hello in there—do you think I am so weak and hobbled that I don’t know when it is time to move on. Yes, I am catching on: Don’t over-stay the part where you get something positive out of a relationship.
And then there’s the man with whom I had a lovely date on Sunday evening. We talked for two and a half hours, and we continued talking by my car, standing very close to each other for a first date, and he asked me what I would like to do on our next date. But when I hadn’t heard from him the next day, I decided to just go ahead, be bold, and email him, thinking maybe he was shy. He got back within the hour with a long email about what a great time he had, how captivating my eyes are and planning for our next date at a very nice Italian restaurant. But my response netted no results. He has disappeared back into his life. Maybe his not having a degree didn’t bother me, but it did bother him? Or maybe, as JC suggested, he would rather be looking for “the one” than find her, which is pretty sad for a man who will be 50 next year.
My mother had to rub salt in my wounds by telling me that people tell her all the time what a nice man her husband, my father, is. Yes, I know, thanks for reminding me of my poor boy choice and your good boy choice.
I’m thinking that maybe while my life is in this black hole these are the only kinds of men who make it to the vortex. I will try to find humor, sometime, but for now I have steeled myself with knowing that it doesn’t matter what any of these men think of me, it’s my opinion that counts. And I will further steel myself because I have become stronger in myself. I have not responded by simpering nor have I responded by becoming an iron lady. Truly, I feel that I am able to think clearly and not be swayed too much by emotion and, perhaps best of all, I have conquered that horrible horrible voice in my head that used to say that everyone else knows everything better than me.
While I did not sashay out of that room or even toss a scarf, there wasn’t a part of me that regretted standing up to those men and making my way past them. Way past them.