2011 was a hard year for a lot of folks. Steve Jobs died, tainted cantaloupes were killing people all over the country…and then there was that whole tsunami thing in Japan. Whew! It’s enough to make your head spin.
For my part, 2011 was actually a pretty good year. I got to go to South Africa and discover a whole new culture, I discovered – quite by accident – the power of prune juice, and my husband landed a really good job. 2011 was also the year that I learned about forgiveness; and I am happy to report that I have forgiven Douche Bag. I know I’ve said that before, but I really mean it this time. Every once in a while he does something that pisses me off and takes me over the edge, but I have refrained from blogging about it. That has been part of the forgiving process, which essentially for me means that he no longer holds any power to dictate my thoughts and feelings concerning anything. It’s worked wonders for my psyche and I believe it’s improved my health as well. I mean, how much credence can you give to someone who spent hundreds of dollars dragging you to court every three months, and then a year later professes to miss you and pleads for your friendship? That’s crazy right? No. No let me tell you about crazy.
Douche Bag received an eviction notice 3 days before Christmas. He’d been evicted from his rented home after not paying his rent for close to 5 months. I would have pitied him if not for the lingering contempt I felt for him; and besides, he’d told all his friends and associates that he owned that house. It’s hard to pity someone who consciously lies in order to keep up appearances. I have yet to ascertain where all the money he’s making on his job is going, because he’s 6 months behind in child support as well. Never mind. I shan’t ascertain that at any point at all. It’s none of my business. Keeping his business and mine separate are part of the “forgiveness process.”
In keeping with our court order, I make sure my eldest child sees him for his visitation every other weekend, sometimes driving as far as Gwinnett County to pick her up, because Douche Bag has been driving with a suspended license since August. On New Year’s Eve, he gave me the news of his eviction. I received it stoically.
“The landlady is kicking me out of her house,” he said.
“Yeah. I gotta move my Saturday…” he let his voice trail off.
Something he had just told me a few weeks before registered with me.
“Wait. I thought you said she was being understanding – that she was letting you stay anyways?”
“Yeah. I think she’s been as understanding as she can be.”
There was an awkward pause. He finally ended the call.
“Well, I just wanted to let you know. Pretty soon, I may be homeless!”
“I doubt that, Douche Bag,” (I didn’t call him that, of course.) “I’m sure you’ll find a place to stay real soon.”
He mumbled something and hung up.
We’d arranged for Nadjah to spend the night at his house that Friday, before he cancelled and said he’d have to meet her briefly on Saturday instead. I expected this last minute change up, and spent my afternoon at the movies, waiting for his call to say he was changing the plan. He sounded so nonchalant about his circumstances – almost as though there were nothing at all he could do to change them and his yielding body was merely being carried by the wind to some unforeseeable future. As I spoke to him, I leaned back against the kitchen sink and thanked God and Heaven that I hadn’t chosen a life with him. That could be me (and my 4 kids) contemplating a life in the back of his Tahoe; expired tags and all.
“Nadjah! We gotta go. Douche Bag is moving and wants to see you for a second.”
I’m a better mother than to tell her that he’d been evicted or to divulge the circumstances that led him to this point. But my child, just like her mother, is very observant and has the memory of a pachyderm.
“He’s moving again?” she asked with disbelief, recalling that he’d just moved the summer before.
“Yeah. Get your coat. Let’s go.”
I didn’t give her any details, and thankfully, she didn’t press the matter.
When we arrived at our meeting point, Douche Bag was all smiles. He was happy to see Nadjah, and she was happy to see him. They exchanged greetings and hugs, while he showered her with presents. He’d gotten her a guitar, a few My Little Ponies, and a walkie-talkie set. I did some quick math and estimated that he’d spent just under $100. Nadjah was happy to get her gifts, but his money would have been better spent paying down his debts. But who was I to tell a grown man how to spend his money?
As Nadjah and Aya ogled her new toys, Douche Bag broke away from them to show me his eviction notice. As he pointed out the columns that showed his debt, he laughed – whether with shame or amusement, I don’t know. He then talked about his options for the future, while I listened silently. Gone were the days when I would press and guide him with my wisdom, no matter how limited, and then offer him some cash (which he never refused). This was a new day. Or was it?
He looked at his car and then back at me, looking me in the eye as though he were about to divulge some dark secret…some clandestine plan. He moved closer to me.
“You know I’ve been thinking about getting a mo-ped or a motorbike,” he confided.
“Yeah. A lot of people don’t know this, but I DO because I’m military. There’s a lot of sh*t that’s about to go down, especially with Iran doing all their doing.”
He paused for dramatic effect.
“Gas prices is about to go way up. Food too.”
“Gas and food have already been going up, Douche Bag.”
“Yeah, but they about to go way, WAY up,” he said solemnly. “And something’s going to go down in the cities too. The next house you and Marshall buy needs to be out in the country, not near no metropolitan areas.”
My eye brows raised. Where was he going with this?
“You need to buy you a house out away from the metropolitan areas, and start stocking up on canned goods and non-perishables. You know – wheat, flour, and peaches.”
Okay great. If Iran ever attacks us, I’ll make a peach pie. That’ll keep my family safe.
“Okay, Douche Bag,” I said indulgingly. “Do we need a bunker too?”
“Naw. Not a bunker…but definitely a basement.”
Are you kidding me?!?
He suggested we look at property in Peachtree City or Tyrone, Ga. I tried to keep a straight face and not laugh, but the image of Douche Bag on a motorcycle in post-Apocalyptic Atlanta was too much for me to handle. He was sounding a lot like the crazy Vietnam Vet parodied in every 80’s movie ever made. And you don’t have to be Nostros Damus to know gas prices are going up. That’s a given. I remember when it was $0.92/gallon!
I stood there for the next several minutes on that New Year’s eve afternoon, listening to this man blither on about planting a garden and stocking up on canned goods in preparation for the doom that was about to befall this country.
“You just watch. In the next 3 – 4 years, this country is going to change. America will never be the same again.”
Duh. Obama is president. Of course it won’t.
The hilarity of this conversation was too much for me to take. I laughed in his face. He didn’t appreciate that.
“Don’t laugh Malaka Gyekye-Grant!” he scolded. “I’m being very serious!”
I apologized and called my children back to the car. Nadjah had caught the tail end of this monologue, and was very excited.
“Yay!!” she squealed. “We’re going to have a garden!”
“No baby. We most certainly are NOT going to have a garden. Please buckle up.”
She and her sister did so dutifully.
I said good bye to Douche Bag, and told him to let me know when he wanted to see Nadjah next. He said he would call when he was settled. I watched him hop into his enormous truck which had, as he pointed out, plenty of space for him to sleep in. A part of me wished him well, while the other was grateful that our fates were not so closely intertwined. In an alternate universe….Whew! But in this one, I am happy that that craziness was left behind in 2011!