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15 June 2016

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LeaNder

Richard, this is a great story:

"I know some will think me too critical in writing this, but criticizing others can provide a pathway to the further reformation of yourself."

To be quite honest, as completely self-absorbed person, I felt discovered first. But then the narrative pulled me in. ;)

Beyond this full disclosure, I absolutely loved this:
"At that point you start to wonder if we could perhaps engineer a little mishap for the speaker."

In any case, the reader (taking me as example) understood perfectly well why the family, who thankfully overcame separation and thus must have learned to deal with whatever led to it for the sake of the kids, loves and as a result adopted you and your wife. After all the couples in the family compared to you and your wife, may not be that helpful or interesting after all. ;)

More as some type of afterthought, I wonder if you had "the pleasure" to meet a more extreme version of the lady. Maybe she was insecure, not knowing you, but having heard about your close relationship to the family. Which in her mind lead to the assumption that maybe she should be even more "pleasurable" then usual. ;)

******
Great story. The best stories are written by life. But this I would like to understand better.

She asked you, if you think she should? She asked you, if you thought it was a good idea if she would?
"She liked it when I talked about foreign policy, and once she startled me by asking if she would like joining the CIA."

BabelFish

Richard, please do not stop writing and publishing these passages. For me, they are true food for the mind and soul.

The Sheep Look Up

This is the world the Boomers made...

Babak Makkinejad

Richard Sale:

I find you aunt not too unsympathetic. The bloom of youth has long left her, and with her ability to play & act the "Woman Game of Playing with Men" in which she likely had indulged herself from, say, age 15 to age 35 (or possibly age 45 with a ton of help and assistance from artificial enhancements.)

She is now the proverbial Siberia, every one knows where she is, no one wants to go there. She is left with trinkets and toys to play which can, in no ways, substitute for what Life had shorn from her. And in the absence of her own man - to which you have alluded - she is left with seeking attention however and wherever she can, in order to fill that emptiness that can never be filled.

This is the lot of more women that you might think.

And to compare her to an un-licked young woman is to compare a rose in her bloom with a dried-up and crushed peony

Erika

Along the way we have lost the ability to appreciate what is in front of us. I love the picture linked below, and I remind myself to always be that person who lives in the experience, and captures those moments not through a badly taken picture but by memory.

http://static.boredpanda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/senior-woman-living-in-moment-no-smartphone-celebrities-movie-premiere-black-mass-5.jpg

A Pols

I know some people who are rather that way.
They're prosperous people and take vacations in various places, some foreign.
Anyhow, they have a collection of coffee table books they've had made up about these adventures and have them on display in their living room...
"The Griswalds in Tunisia", "The Griswalds on safari", etc.

I had never known people to do this and was somewhat nonplused when I saw it.
I've since learned there are companies that make these things to order, "Shutterfly"being one that caters to this sort of solipsism.

In times past of course folks would joke about being invited to people's houses and subjected to slide shows...

Jack Nix

Dear Mr. Sale,

I always look with anticipation for your latest posts. Smart, insightful and entertaining, I often go back to some of my favorites and re-read. Often more than once.

I hope you consider collecting your essays and publishing them.

Thanks very much!

Jack

jonst

And Boomers were 'made' by the parents of the 'greatest generation......'

LeaNder

You're of course entitled to your stereotypes. Just as I am to mine.

Neither of us knows why the aunt's husband is not present. Richard, does not tell us, as far as I recall. But yes, he is both present (verbally abused) and absent (physically), in fact. ... Sickening situation to be thrown in without the least chance to judge for yourself.

I vaguely agree, Carol, in the story we are given, serves as something like an outer foil for the aunt. She could end up there.

http://literarydevices.net/foil/

But whatever parallel traits, attention seeking in the middle of the night. (Troubles at home?) "Shrewd" and "manipulative" plus "a shade ruthless". (Juvenile revenge for the troubles she had to endure? Without the necessary experience to deal with it?) Divorces don't happen over night. They have an aura. And observer is a really bad position for a kid/juvenile. ...

Full discovery: My mother up to recently pondered to have a flat of her own, never mind, this started at twelve for me.

In other words, I do not see "Woman Game of Playing with Men", like something of an recurring loop, an inescapable female destiny, ahead for Carol. She may fail to find some that fits. Maybe she divorces twice, before she feels it works? Maybe she prefers to stay alone after a couple of bad experiences. So what? On the surface she seems to have decided against the dependency your game above suggests.

Babak Makkinejad

In Prado, there are two pictures by Goya: one is "La maja desnuda", which is depicting a delicious young woman and another which is the portrait of an old woman.

The tourists, make or female, always crowd and gawk at Majia while none looks at the old lady.

Everyone like young attractive women; without a doubt, for their promises of fertility and beauty. No one wants to go to Siberia.

Laguerre

You were not very generous to the irritating aunt. There are lots of people who are alone, and who want to talk. one should give them some time, before moving on.

different clue

The Sheep Look Up


Yeah. What jonst said.

These are the Boomers the 'greatest generation' made.

(And speaking as a working class Boomer, working class Boomers didn't make anything. Upper class and Over class Boomers did that.)

JerseyJeffersonian

Mr. Sale,

Thank you for this. Such people can certainly try one's patience to the breaking point with their manic - perhaps frantic - self-absorption. While it is difficult to grasp the thought while being thus bludgeoned, sometimes it would seem that they are more to be pitied than censured, as the old song has it. It is a lamentable backwash of the human condition, as it were.

Your story put me in mind of one of my favorite passages from Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" (but "Myself" writ large, a mystical "Myself" rather than the one that tries the patience of strangers...) wherein he reflects on animals, and the contrast that they can present to humans.


I think I could turn and live with the animals,
They are so placid and self-contained.
I stand and look at them long, and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their own condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied not one is demented with the
mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived
thousands of years ago.
Not one is respectable and unhappy over the whole earth.


It continues in a similar vein, and is worth seeking out. It is in section 32 of the whole of the poem "Song of Myself". The entire poem may be found here:

http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Walt_Whitman/walt_whitman_leaves_of_grass_book_03.htm


To conclude, and on a less exalted plane, there is this anecdote. My wife used to expatiate to me concerning her discontents with her superiors' behaviors and attitudes at her previous job. I took to telling her that she should be assiduous in learning from the negative examples that they provided so that when she herself was in an analogous position as a supervisor, that she would not inflict similar idiocies or insensitive behaviors upon those under her charge. And so it came to be.

Thank you again. Your insights never fail to instruct.

William R. Cumming

Richard! Many thanks as always and apparently the U.S. is about to elect another "Boomer" President. Please could you write on a world shaped by BOOMER U.S. Presidents?

Paul Escobar

Mr. Sale,

Uses others as a soundingboard? My mother is one such. Always was, from my earliest memories onwards.

She is not of this culture. Though even in hers, she is an abberation. From what I could deduce, she felt burned early on & has had no genuine interest in "others" ever since. She can only relate to them through gossip & showing off. Might be tangential, but she is very "innocent". The type who leans towards wrestling being real, if you get my drift. Only uses the internet to watch tutorials & shop. Loves soaps. etc. (been told the south has many such...SOLIDARITY!)

In highschool, I called my best friends (insert vaginal reference) for complaining the way you did. What would happen was that she'd catch their parents on the phone & eat their ears for close an hour or more. Strictly her worries about me, her little local business concerns, etc. The parents would complain to their kids about how long she talked. Their kids would relay to me that she ran her mouth too long. I'd tell them to STFU and dared their (insert vaginal reference) parents to say it to her face.

None did. Was never brought up again. We're still lifelong bros (knock on wood!)

I appreciate your story. You may wrongly assume I implied you were being an (insert vaginal reference). Never. My gut reaction is that you are kind of innocent yourself & don't know how to process such people.

For whatever my experience is worth, what you describe are simple people of an older age. People who are dying out & will never be seen again. Cherish them. Pull their cheeks. Enjoy them as brave kids who ramble without any sense of self-awarness or maturity.

I am relatively young & overtly social. I also pay attention. Quietly.

I have never come across anyone my age who behaves this way. What I find is that our PRIVATE time is consumed with the work of showcasing our pointless lives (touching up pics, editing facebook posts, etc.). However in social situations, we are SAFE and non-offensive. It's like a FaceBook moderator's watching us...even while we're at a freaking remote cottage up north. We're all striving for edgy, but all that's left for us is to pout sexy, show cleavage, or flash some abs (find 2/3 on my instagram, 1702 followers - only like 9 I actually hang out with!)

Everyone is dreadfully scared of making the slightest social faux-pas...for fear of exactly what has occured here. Someone judging them in a private text to friends...or God forbid, A BLOG POST somewhere.

So, yeah. You'll soon get your wish Mr. Sale. And your sweet Carol will be at some graduation years from now...yelling out strange sound effects just to break the insincere tedium. "Crazy Aunt Carol!" they'll call her...

Crazy Aunt Carol,
Paul

LeaNder

Babak, first of all, to not go into Goya and from any superficial art historical reminiscences/rumors on the picture: I sure love Goya and Maya, but Maya isn't the origin of my love. ...

You know what? In a Belgian museum a picture seems to have called me from far away. It was tiny really. There would have been plenty of distraction around. You know what it was? It was a Rembrandt portrait of his mother on her deathbed.

The herd goes to what it is told it must see. Not sure if it changed, but in Paris the floor in front of Mona Lisa looked terrible trodden, no comparison to the floor anywhere else.

******
"Everyone like young attractive women; without a doubt, for their promises of fertility and beauty. No one wants to go to Siberia."

I agree concerning attractive women. Mentally I am bi-sexual. ;)

But for my interest to be raised beyond basic levels, there needs to be something else that impresses me.

The last time I fell in love with a woman. The special human being had at one point in time freed a couple of women that were kept as sex-slaves in Bosnia sometimes during the war.

She is married with a man from there and has two sons. Beyond having this wonderfully undecided freckled skin, and from my own perspective is a real beauty. She no doubt is to many beyond her husband. ;)

Conventional beauty is sometimes used as some type of trophy for exhibition, ask the wives. They usually aren't that happy.

BabelFish

Ah, Babak, what does it say about me that I looked (perhaps gawked) at the old lady for some time when my wife and it visited the Prado.

BabelFish

One more entry, one that I can speak of from experience. There is this thing lurking out there called Asperger's Syndrome. It frequently takes the form of someone who attempts to coral conversations and direct them to subjects they are interested in. I will say that self-centered folks may look/sound the same but are truly not. Those folks usually also act and judge based on that self-centered view of life.

It usually is accompanied by other things on the syndrome spectrum that includes Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, Tourette Syndrome and even non-traumatic epilepsy.

YT

Mr. Sale,

Sir, I pray you've made a full recovery from your stroke.

Yours truly suffered from a "minor" one last year (just aged 3 years to 2 score).

Several visits to various depts in a hospital were of no avail as to what was causing me optical hell (i.e. double-vision).

An acupuncturist revealed that it was "a minor stroke caused by sleep depravation (due to insomnia) & serious food-poisoning".

What followed was a most painful session as human pin-cushion...

A warning to other readers my age & younger who are careless with matters of overall physical Health.

(Very tempted to address them "cretins"/[insert vaginal reference] due to ill habit, but for sake-of-politeness...)


RE: self-absorption

In these dark hours of your Republic, over-indulgence in narcissistic self-centeredness has IMHO transformed American hoi polloi into very selfish individuals who fail to realize that those who hold different perspectives are also their fellow Americans...

A Jewish associate (a bloke from NYC) early this year told me of his fears that the country may eventually be embroiled in civil war...

Recent events have only proven him prescient.

Sanity seems elusive what with the wild passions that have taken hold of US populace.

I never would have imagined that the chaos of the "Arab spring" would reach your shores, 'playing out' in a prelude of a 21st. c. War-between-the-States (made worse with Facebook, Twitter, "smart"phones & what not).

One can understand why President Xi Jinping is wary of such 'media tools'.

"A house divided cannot stand..."

LeaNder

Hmm Asperger. A different defense then Babak's and Paul's of the aunt? ;)

Ok, why not:

It may well be the reader is left with questions on his mind, like:

Random pick, Aspergian?: why didn't you force her into your favorite topic. And every time she tries to escape, force her back in. ...

Any other tool in the box short of bodily harm:

Please, don't take this personally. But I deeply dislike this new selfie, selfie with family and friends attitude. I prefer to met people directly. ... Your husband couldn't come? How is he? What is he doing now?

Freud was a master from my rather limited perspective as narrator. He seems to have been aware of the possible question mark's on the minds of his reader, not all, but some of them. ... At least that is how I experienced some of his books.

BabelFish

LeaNder,

Well, my spouse says that I have had my polite genes surgically removed. What I have said in the past is "excuse me but you are being inappropriate". I have found it has a remarkable way of immediately shutting of the tsunami of unwanted TMI. Selfishly, I feel if someone is going to be made uncomfortable, it might as well be the other person, who was bombarding we with an 'all about me' conversation.

And, I have had to coach someone close to me, who has Asperger's, on how it feels to be at the receiving end of the cascade of socially awkward and unwanted conversations.

LeaNder

Thanks, BabelFish, for responding

On the other hand you invited the babbler, the the Me, Me, Me - Narcissist, now you have to endure her, or scroll on. ;)

"excuse me but you are being inappropriate"

Not such a bad idea, seems my mind wandered in a similar direction. But obviously Richard leads us there. The well placed single sentence paragraph is ingenious. I would prefer "pure genius", since my "Millennial" (hat tip to Fred) niece uses 'genial' (in German) all the time in German. ... ;)

Concerning your wife, she choose you. Didn't she? And she surely took a good look at who you are, before she married you. ... Besides: Sometimes we need a balancing factor. ... ;)

Looking back, I seem to have instinctively chosen extroverted loud girl friends, loudness-wise, like the aunt. Strictly I still somewhat dislike people that force the whole room, including me, to listen to their conversation. I never, ever book a seat on a train so if necessary I can escape. But then ALL of my best girl friends were just that, loud, either not-minding, but no doubt attention-seeking from my own preference perspective. Besides, they forced me right into the middle of the epicenter. I guess, that was the worst part of it.

It was a real challenge to be drawn into this unasked for center attention, I can tell you. Never mind, you don't have the slightest interest to raise you voice. Or speak up.

But this one took me by surprise. One day, she suddenly stood in front of my door in London and told me nothing more then: I am Manu (Manuela).

In hindsight she probably had a bi-polar type of problem.... High up in the sky's entertaining whole parties, and at the drop of a hat, gone withdrawn in her room, all down, heavily down. As if exhausted from her act. I found it hard to believe my eyes, when I found out the first time. But that was already back in Germany.

Now, when she was entertaining all the people around, drawing all the attention in the room on herself. She occasionally needed an exhibitionary object for the entertainment of the crowd. I thought, I would die on the spot, when she did it to me the first time I was used as object for collective entertainment. But you know what, I survived. And after a while, I joined the collective laughter. It was gone, this girl had a therapeutic effect on me, it feels. One can learn. There are different perspectives on matters.

Concerning your Aspergian* friend, I wish him well.

Beyond this: I found the book linked below in it's Swedish "title" revelatory, since: For quite some distance on my personal timeline, I deeply distrusted politeness as pure feigning, masks. ... I only really got what difference it makes, when I experienced it in one of my bosses. The way he did it, wasn't a pure mask. It was respect.

And compared to earlier politeness, or whatever type of mask, he wasn't exploitative. Manu, exploited me heavily, whenever she lost track on timelines in her study. ... But it was also highly interesting to study her and her family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Presentation_of_Self_in_Everyday_Life>Erwin Goffman, The self and the masks - A study of everyday-life drama.

* ... well, got long enough anyway.
Thanks, BabelFish, for responding

On the other hand you invited the babbler, the the Me, Me, Me - Narcissist, now you have to endure her, or scroll on. ;)

"excuse me but you are being inappropriate"

Not such a bad idea, seems my mind wandered in a similar direction. But obviously Richard leads us there. The well placed single sentence paragraph is ingenious. I would prefer "pure genius", since my Millennial (hat tip to Fred) niece uses "genial" all the time in German. ;)

Concerning your wife, she choose you. Didn't she? And she surely took a good look at who you are, before she married you. ... Sometimes we need a balancing factor. ... ;)

Looking back, I seem to have instinctively chosen extroverted loud girl friends, like the aunt. Strictly I still somewhat dislike people that force the whole room, including me, to listen to their conversation. But then some of my best girl friends were doing just that, not only that, the pulled me right into the middle of the epicenter.

It was a real challenge to be drawn into this unasked for center attention.

But this one took me by surprise. One day, she suddenly stood in front of my door in London and told me nothing more then: I am Manu (Manuela).

In hindsight she probably had a bi-polar type of problem.... High up in the sky's entertaining whole parties, and at the drop of a hat, gone withdrawn in her room, all down, heavily down. As if exhausted from her act. I found it hard to believe my eyes, when I found out the first time.

Now, when she was entertaining all the people around, drawing all the attention in the room on herself. She occasionally needed an exhibitionary object for the entertainment of the crowd. I thought, I would die on the spot, when she did it to me the first time, as the object for collective entertainment. But you know what, I survived. And after a while I joined the collective laughter. It was gone, this girl had a therapeutic effect on me, it feels.

Concerning your Aspergian* friend, I wish him well.

Beyond this: I found the book linked below in it's Swedish "title" revelatory, since: For quite some distance on my personal timeline, I deeply distrusted politeness as pure feigning, masks. I only really got what difference it makes when I experienced it in one of my bosses. The way he did it wasn't a pure mask. It was respect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Presentation_of_Self_in_Everyday_Life>Erwin Goffman, The self and the masks - A study of everyday-life drama.

* ... well, got long enough anyway.
Thanks, BabelFish, for responding, you invited the babbler in me-The Me, Me, Me - Narcist-now you have to endure her, or scroll on.

"excuse me but you are being inappropriate"

Not such a bad idea, seems my mind wandered in a similar direction. But obviously Richard leads us there. The well placed single sentence paragraph is ingenious. I would prefer "pure genius", since my Millenial niece uses "genial" all the time in German. But I am too lazy to reflect, if it really works in English. ;)

Concerning your wife, she choose you. Didn't she? And she surely realized who you are, before she married you. ... Sometimes we need a balancing factor.;)

Looking back, I seem to have instinctively chosen extroverted loud girl friends. Strictly I still somewhat dislike people that force the whole room, including me, to listen to their conversation. But then some of my best girl friends were doing just that, even worse they pulled me right into the middle of the epicenter.

Considering that, it's a real challenge to be drawn into the center attention, by your dialog partner. Whose part of the conversation can probably be overheard in the most remote corner of the place.

One had quite a few attractive characteristic, since different.

In hindsight she probably had a bi-polar type of problem.... High up in the sky's entertaining whole parties, and at the drop of a hat, gone withdrawn in her room, all down, heavily down. As if exhausted from her act. I found it hard to believe my eyes, when I found out the first time.

Now, when she was entertaining all the people around, drawing all the attention in the room on herself. She needed an object for the entertainment of the crowd. I thought, I would die on the spot when she did it to me. Pulling me right into the center as the object of ridicule. But you know what, I survived. And after a while I joined the collective laughter. It was gone, this girl had a therapeutic effect on me, it feels.

Concerning your Aspergian friend, I wish him well.

Beyond this: I found the book linked below in it's Swedish title revelatory, for quite some distance on my personal time-arrow. I distrusted politeness as pure feigning, masks. It also felt freeing to be honest, straight, direct. I only really got a different perspective, when I experienced it, what a difference it can make in one of my bosses. He somehow wasn't masquerading. It was respect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Presentation_of_Self_in_Everyday_Life>Erwin Goffman, The self and the masks - A study of everyday-life drama.


LeaNder

Ok, I tried to get it short, didn't help much. Even doubled it, by shifting to typepad for the occasion and then pasting it twice. Now I managed to make myself a real attention seeking nuisance.

Just like the aunt? Well, Babak, explained it above. That's the fate of the elder faded and shriveled earlier blooms. ;)

And I know, it's not of the least interest for anyone.

take care, Babelfish, and the very, very best to you and your wife.

LeaNder

to pick up on YT's comment.

Richard, I hope you and your wife are well.

I really liked this story. It may be the type of story people can connect one way or another to their own experiences.

BabelFish

LeaNder,

Thank you for the link. And, I only scrolled on when I got to the duplicate portion of your post. ;-)

And, the Aspergian, who has other difficulties, is doing well. He likes to engage people in small conversations and is exceedingly polite, perhaps almost to a fault. His father is glad of his progress.

And, I just read your coda as I was typing this. I just can not see you as the aunt!

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