Friday, May 30, 2008

Another suburban family morning

I sang Synchronicity II while playing Rock Band tonight. Haven't heard the song in years and as I was reading off the lyrics and singing, I remembered how much this song and the album impacted my life, listening at 10 years old, and how this song summed up what I thought the average married adult life was about.

Some of the lyrics that resonated for me as a kid:

Daddy only stares into the distance, there's only so much more that he can take

Every single meeting with his so-called superior is a humiliating kick in the crotch

Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance. He knows that something somewhere has to break.

He sees the family home now looming in his headlights, the pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache.

Many miles away there's a shadow on the door [the monster from the lake]

This song was all about my father. My father would come home, angry, talking about his own humiliating kicks in the crotch, drink and verbally snap, his way of handling his constant life disappointments and the reminders of his financial responsibilities. My mom's method for handling all of this was to just ignore his tantrums while I, a child, was caught in the middle and often asked to play armchair psychologist (I had already read Freud by that age and was reading Jung because of The Police). For me, the monster was not at the door but in the house making himself at home. I was terrified a lot of the time.

This was my parent's life. Sting was singing about it so it meant others lived this way too. So, this is what marriage was and I had to avoid at all costs being in a marriage and bearing the brunt of this from a husband.

Eventually I realized that my parent's relationship wasn't what everyone had. My aunt and uncle moved down to Florida a few years later and provided a positive model of adulthood and marriage but I have always struggled with the idea that eventually, a marriage would turn someone into the kind of person that grips the wheel and hates me and his life.

As I've grown older I think that it is I who would feel this way instead.

Wow, this sound awful, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

I don't mean it as a slight, but I always thought you would be the one not happy with her spouse rather than the other way around.

Still, I think that age and introspection has a way of tempering that. The self-awareness of my own mortality helps me avoid unnecessary dissatisfaction. There are only so many years in a life. If I have another 30, I'll be greatful for them, but I have no misconceptions that I will be able to execute on some things I would have liked to have done before I die. There just isn't time and I have a bunch of things that take priority. You have it better than your old man because you see it coming when his generation did not.

vivzan said...

Nah, I don't take it as a slight because you're right - I too think I'm the one that would not be happy. The post was more about what I used to think when I was a kid. However, I also believe that I would not enter into a relationship that would make me feel static and trapped.