Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Democracy



The school staff/board/lynch mob got together and kicked out my
girlfriend.  I'm feeling nauseated by the whole thing.  The motives were
understandable, and not unreasonable, but the way it went down just makes
me ill, even if it's not at all surprising.  Primate social groups are
brutal, in times of stress they pass the time by playing "lets all get
together, pick a member of the tribe, and kick them out."  And it would be
comical to see this behavior in humans, as I have over and over, if it
weren't for the fact that it seems equally embedded in our primal
psychology to, as the target of this action, react with distress and
heartache.

It started Friday night, when, in J's absence, the board meeting got
together and, rather than addressing the issue that: "gee, the school has
no money," decided to tackle the issue of: "Garrett and J's relationship
is inappropriate and tarnishing the school's image.  And J is a bad staff
member."  Never mind that it's the board's job to think about the budget,
and the School Meeting's job to handle staff matters.  I had to sit there
for four hours and field questions to help the mob struggle with the issue
of my girlfriend.  When J got home later that evening, she didn't talk to
me for an hour because I had forgotten to feed her horses that night. 
Then, when she stopped being mad, I told her what had gone down as
accurately as I could.  She took it all in, and decided to resign her
staff position.  I was impressed -- it was an admirable and intelligent
decision made in the face of a bunch of squabbling, non-confrontational
idiots who could only gather enough strength to stand against a young girl
in a group and behind her back.  After gathering it's strength, the group
said it wanted to talk to J on Monday night.  I figured a resignation
letter and a thumb to the nose was an excellent response.

But J was scheduled to fill a staff time-slot Monday morning, and she
went.  Rumor had gone around, and the kids told her the staff/board/lynch
mob was a bunch of weenies, and she shouldn't resign.  And a particularly
non-confrontational Mauitian kept calling her and saying "We just want to
talk with you, so everyone can express themselves.  We didn't ask for your
resignation.  Meet with us, it will be wonderful."  My ass.

I told J what she was in for, but she agreed to meet the gang anyway -- as
is her way.  I cooked her a last meal and sent her in.  The group looked
around, clearly not knowing what to do "gee, who's going to throw the
first stone?"  The alpha male, absent from the Friday meeting, lobbed an
accurate description of the main issue of sex, and how it looked bad for
two staff members, one half the age of the other, to be on the property
and in a relationship.  Most of the herd winced, and denied that was the
issue.  Idiots.  Then the other rocks came in: J is not trained enough to
be staff, J does things without getting enough permission, etc.  J
listened to all of it with a stiff upper lip -- she's strong -- but the
group beat her down after a couple of hours of that.

There's a defining moment in a group vs. individual bully session that
signals when the group has won.  It's when the individual, having lost
rationality through the continued harassing attention, wells up with tears
and says "I'd give up anything to remain a part of the group."  That's
when the group knows it no longer has any resistance to tearing into
flesh.  It doesn't matter that the individual, on previous rational
reflection, had decided he or she didn't really give a rats ass about the
group -- it just seems to be the way that the primal interaction works. 
I've done it.  J did it.

After that, the group got her to agree to resign, to sell/remove her
beloved horses, to move out of her/our home, etc.

Made me sick.

After that, the group started hugging each other.  I left.  If they want
to hug and make each other feel better after fucking over a girl's life,
they're welcome to do it without me.  I went back to look in the paper for
available apartment rentals, of which there are few -- few other then the
ad I placed to rent out a school apartment and generate more school
income.  I asked J about it later, and she agreed that the hugs and
nicey-nicey talk were mostly fake.


As long as J was moving her life all around anyway that night, she took a
gander at our relationship.  Now, me, I'm still burning in the flames of a
residual attachment to an x-girlfriend who pretty much loathes me and
isn't talking to me any more.  I've been getting over it, slowly, and
painfully, and hoping that those emotions dissolve into entropic death
even faster than the rest of me.  But, since I got burned last time for
not being honest, I've been honest with J, while trying not to impose my
baggage on her, so she knows what's up with me.  So, anyway, it's messed
up because J loves me and I don't love her.  And I don't lie to her.

So, she wrote an email to my x.  Telling her that she loved me, and she
wanted me to be happy, but that I didn't love her, but that I still loved
the x so would she take me back?  I didn't stop her, but I didn't
encourage her either.  I think I know the x well enough to know that
she'll send a vituperous email, if any, to me about what an asshole I am,
and a consoling letter back to J about how she deserves better.  But I
don't know, I'm a physicist, and should really stay away from people and
stick to predicting simple things, like higher dimensional spacetime
curvature, and the motions of spherical cows.  Maybe good things will
happen, like deciding I hate the x and should moon over J as I would
enjoy.

Nah.  The way my life works: the school will kick out my girl, I'll leave
the school because of nausea and be the schools scapegoat for shutting
down "gee, we can't pay our mortgage AND give Garrett his deposit back,"
I'll still be pained by thoughts of my x, my girl will find someone better
(and closer to her age) who can love her, and my x will hit it off with my
best friend who's never been in love.  The saga continues.  Until it
doesn't.



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