I am teaching an Adult ESL class. There are not many students present. Anita is there. She and I are simulating an argument between a couple in order to generate a conversation on this by the students later in English. One of the students, a middle-aged woman interrupts and states that she objects to this exercise and wants to leave. We stop. I think about the situation. I do not have anything else I wish to start and there is about an hour left in the class. I tell her if she does not like it to just go. At this point, other students who were absent show up, including a man I like very much. The woman who wanted to leave suddenly gets very angry. She approaches me and puts a hand on my chest, poking it. I tell her plainly that if she does not stop this she will regret it, but she continues. I grab her hair and see her face actually fall apart into pieces. I am horrified. The dream ends.
RON’S WISDOM SALON: A fictional advice column
I have a problem that I would like to ask you about. I have a new boyfriend and we have been together for like about a month and a half and the thing is we never argue. Maybe people say that is a good thing, but I am kinda worried.
Is it normal to never argue? I like a good argument. It airs things out and makes you feel light afterward. I love him (kinda) and I think we have a future together. He is likable with a good personality and he thinks about the future. He says he wants to be a serial killer someday. What would you say our chances are?
You have a boyfriend with whom you never argue and you wonder whether that is a problem. Well, it can be if you are the kind of person who likes to argue and he won’t engage you. There is nothing more frustrating for an arguer who is in the mood for a good dust up than to have nobody to dust up with.
We tend to think we can always find something to disagree about with a person and then this person doesn’t take the bait. What can you do about this?
I would find out what he really doesn’t like and then go to work to provoke him about it. Go out of your way to make him miserable and angry.
The fact that he wants to be a serial killer tells you that eventually he will react in a negative way, which is just what you need. He may even try to kill you at some point, but then you will know finally that you can be compatible.
Don’t let him kill you, of course, but explain to him that you appreciate him for conflicting with you, and then try to make it work out between you. That seems like the only reasonable procedure.
Good luck, and I hope this helps.
I did like you said. I went into the basement room where he lives and I kinda messed up his torture kit.
This got him upset , but he he didn’t express it in an unpleasant way. He just dropped his habitual smile and explained to me quietly that he would prefer it if “you kept your paws off my equipment.” Then he offered me a glass of grape juice. I knew that I was in the wrong, so I apologized. Then we had sex. Still no real arguments though.
You are not taking it far enough. You could have pushed him on the “paws” comment, angrily rebutting that “these here appendages are no paws, certainly not, they are clearly enough two human hands.” He might’ve gone for that one.
You could also have challenged him about his living quarters, berating him for living in a basement, which is just as likely to make him into a cliché in his future career. You need to pick up on anything that will push his buttons. Keep trying.
I finally hit on something that worked. He invited me to his mother’s house for dinner, and after it was all over we were walking back to his basement when I told him what a nice person his mother was.
Well, that was the wrong thing to say apparently, because he hit the ceiling, calling himself cursed for coming out of her womb, that she had made his life hell itself, and that I was just like her, that is a female. I was so happy to see him get angry that I got angry too and we spat and yelled at each other for twenty minutes. Then we had sex. So thanks for making me pursue it, Ron.
Excellent. The point here is that everyone has an Achilles’ heel, which you obviously noticed during your walk to his basement.
You are the blood in my every thought and motion
The essence of my dream
Your voice echoes softly in my sleep
You are the morning star to me
Your face is round and pretty
A mask of the sun
Even if I am almost over
I have only just begun
Our love has not been easy
The way has been obscure
We tried so many times to undo
What we were never sure
The future is your forté
You pursue it like a bitch
Will we go together
Into that abyss
Is this just a dream of love
Is it really real
Can I ever express to you
What I really feel
My heart is so weary
My mind is so upset
Though I have no regret
For what hasn’t happened yet
Will we meet again one day
On that special hill
And play again like children
Which we were once well
It is just as good to be old with you
And mope and rub away our aches and pains
Many times or few
And have a word with you
As you go here and there
Tearing up the scenery
While I stay in the square
You know time is relentless
It takes you for a ride
Remember that beach we knew
Remember that morning tide
I wish us together there
In the early air
We join the endless ocean
Beautiful and fair
Our love means more than
Days and nights
Our lives are not just
Bits and bytes
It is already light
I don’t want to fight
RON’S WISDOM SALON: A fictional advice column
Sometimes I think that I am wasting my life. I have this anxiety that I should be doing something with my life, but I am never able to decide what that “it” is. Maybe writing to you will show me the light. Sorry if this is too vague.
You certainly wrote to the right person. I spent the morning checking the oil quality on various body parts.
Let me pick out some words you employ: “Wasting. Anxiety. Vague.” Waste, according to the dictionary can mean many things.( They always list five or six meanings of one word which is annoying . I will go with number three. “To fail to use…” )
Are you failing to use something? Let us say you have a key that you never use. Well, you are wasting that key. It might be for a lock you don’t have anymore. What should you do in that case? Throw the damn thing out, of course, or give it away as a gift.
Let us say you have shampoo and you are a bald person. Stop buying shampoo. It is a waste. Get the picture? But –and this is a pretty big but- I think I am hearing from you that you are wasting time. Okay. You can’t throw time in the garbage, can you? Or stop buying it. What you can do is to use it. Use it to do something. Get up in the morning and give yourself an objective for the day. Go to the toilet. Have a cracker and some marmalade.
Help someone out. Be a volunteer. That is always satisfying. Knock on your neighbour’s door and offer to do his dishes. Don’t take no for an answer. If you see a lady carrying a purse that is probably heavy, offer to take it off her hands. You would be surprised at her reaction. Don’t let her give you anything back either. If she objects, just smile and insist.
You mention anxiety. Don’t let her anxiety throw you off. All people are a bit shy about speaking to strangers. At first. Once she gets to know you, it will be different. And never be vague. Tell them exactly what to want to do. Say, “I want to polish your car.” Or better yet, find their key, get right in the driver’s seat and tell them that you will take them around town.
I hope you are catching on. Once you get home at night you won’t feel like you have been wasting your time at all. Let me know how it all went.
RON’S WISDOM SALON: A fictional advice column
My problem fits into the fashion/hair category. I love my cap and I love to wear it constantly in the winter. What happens is that every time I take it off when I arrive somewhere I notice that my hair is flat. It throws my haircut which is giving me all manner of grief. Do you think I should give up my cap or make peace with my ruined haircut?
My first question to you is: why do you take your cap off at all? You could resolve the issue by just keeping the cap on the whole time, and that way people would not have to witness your flat hair. All the boys are doing it these days, haven’t you noticed? It is “in”, the thing to do. The world is starting to resemble a Passover dinner or the inside of a dugout. You would look fashionable and maybe even meet new people in the process. Try it and let me know what happens.
I thought of that, but find it poses a problem of its own. If I wear the cap inside, my forehead starts to heat up causing a band of perspiration to form and eventually drip down onto my nose, making me have to take the cap off to expose my ruined haircut. Please! Sometimes I feel like the gods are against me.
The dripping part is unfortunate. Couldn’t you fit a little Kleenex in there to sop up the dampness? By the way, of what religious persuasion are you? I don’t know of many with more than one God.
The “gods” comment was just hyperbole I used to express my malcontent with my pesky situation. I mean if there were more than one god, would they really have the time to get together to form a conspiracy against me, Larry? I am not that paranoid, but I am in despair about the cap/haircut problem. Your suggestion that I use Kleenex may be good, but what happens if it falls out and into my soup, for example. I think I would feel awful if that happened. It would then pose another problem, wouldn’t it? Would I be able to continue eating my soup?
It would depend on how tasty the soup was initially, but yes, I do get your point. Larry, there are times in the lives of men when a man must do what a man must do: I am sorry to have to tell you this but you are just going to have to stretch your cap. It can be done. Ask any haberdasher. It’s called “propping.” They can push it out so that your hair will have enough room to relax. Good luck and if you dare, let me know how your hair fares.