Apparently STDs are a real thing. STD as in socially transmitted diseases. Not to be confused with the other use of STD. It’s a little early in the post for me to be explaining myself, don’t you think? Anyway, they are real. I learned of them from a friend on Face Book who suggested that my potentially spreading small pox might be an STD. Not that I’m spreading small pox, but that my pox are spreading on me. And since I am in Korea without my family this time it stands to reason that the malady is of a social nature rather than a sexual one. Obviously.
Upon learning that socially transmitted diseases are a thing (who knew?), I announced to my friends: “Meet the next Howard Hughes, y’all”.
Kim, my wife of 20 years seems to think that this is not a viable life option so I suggested to her that I should become a hermit. Just to clear things up, the marriage is of twenty years. I didn’t even know Kim when she was 20.
Ok. So let me back up a little bit. I will tell you right now that I am a terribly flawed individual. I don’t think I’m a monster, but I make mistakes. Often. Sometimes these mistakes hurt those I love. Other times they just make me look stupid. That said, Kim and I just recently emerged from one of these in which I emotionally devastated her. It was not intentional, but she has to get sick of this at some point and I was feeling terrible about it all. In my mind I’d emotionally scarred the love of my life. Scarring equals abuse. I decided I was an abuser. The text conversation went like this:
“I passed my Korean driver’s license test!”
“Can you forgive me?”
“Not for passing the driver’s tesr2.”
“For being hurtful.”
“I’m an abuser.”
Her response? “Wow.”
“That escalated quickly. You went from passing a test, to your fingers having a stroke and being unable to spell, to being an abuser.”
“Welcome to my head.”
“Wow.” Again with the wows. “You’re not an abuser.” She assured me.
“I emotionally scarred you. I’m pretty sure that qualifies.
I determined that I was the worst form of awful human being and that maybe I would be better off away from humanity. So between that and the emergence of socially transmitted diseases, I decided I should be a hermit.
“I’ll be like some random Buddhist that never bathes and talks to his fleas.”
“You might actually be happy that way.” She said.
“Gripes at them more likely.”
“What the heck are you talking about?”
“The fleas, Kim. I’d be griping at them rather than talking to them. Fleas are jerks.”
“Fleas are definitely jerks.” She agreed.
“I don’t want to be a hermit anymore.”
“That was quick. What do you want to be now? You’re like a toddler changing professions.”
“The fleas screwed it up,” I explained. “Ask those buttholes. I’ll just be a beachcomber and live under a banana leaf,” I beamed at my brilliant idea. “Plus, fleas hate saltwater. Have you ever seen a fish with fleas?”
“Sand fleas.” She offered.
“Right?” She’s very supportive.
“How about a Djinn then? No rhyme intended.”
“Djinns never have to miss anyone they care about. They just move them into the lamp with them.” I explained. I’m not sure why it needed explaining. Seemed fairly obvious to me. “Plus there are no fleas in lamps. I’ve never seen a flea in a lamp.”
“And no nagging, needy wives in lamps either,” She offered in a manner suggesting that her supportive nature only goes so far and that residing in a lamp in the middle of the Sahara was just a tad farther than she was willing to go.
Remembering that she prefers cold weather and forgetting that hermits live alone, I toyed with the idea of being an Arctic or Antarctic hermit if there was such a thing, but there are polar bears at one locale and penguins at the other.
“Penguins are jerks too…..,” I began.
“Take the polar bears then.”
“….. and polar bears are just hungry. Plus, it’s cold there. Which is why I can’t be a Himalayan hermit.”
“Is this your way of coping? This rambling?” She asked.
“Yeah, and yetis. Beats the hell out of talking about how awful I am.”
“We aren’t talking about how awful you are,” She said. “I said you’re a good guy, but you aren’t infallible.”
“I don’t know what else to talk about right now. A yeti would understand this. They don’t know what to talk about either. That’s why they hide in mountains like I’m doing. Except their mountains aren’t full of bustling garlic breathed people who look like elves to me. So when you get right down to it, I’m something like a yeti: tall, white, hairy (semi) and currently live on the side of a mountain in a subtropical country where no one understands me when I speak. I am a subtropical yeti….”
“Well you ramble then and I’ll just sit here and read.”
I think I failed to mention that this conversation was over instant messaging while each of us are on different continents. As you can clearly see, I express myself better with the written word. You should hear me trying to discuss feelings vocally. It’s truly horrific and only marginally successful when done in total darkness. It also helps when she doesn’t laugh at those expressions uttered into a dark room intended to put me at ease through the illusion of solitude. I told you I was flawed.
Sensing she wanted to change the subject because I am in possession of inordinately high levels of emotional intelligence, I decided to comment on recent FB timeline posts.
“I see you’ve been taking stabs at me on your timeline.”
“Memes abut holding in snarky comments or letting go does less damage. I’m pretty sure those are directed at me. It’s cool. I think I earned it.”
“You are going to think everything is directed at you right now.”
“If the snowsuit fits…” I began. “I’m not mad or hurt or anything. It was just an observation that had nothing to do with the phallic nature of fleas or flightless water birds.”
“What’s the plural of yeti,” She asked.
“I’ll have to ask our scholars. As soon as I can find a yeti scholar. They’re more elusive than the hillbilly yetis like me.”
“No crap, I looked it up: yetovia.”
“They have a bank?” I asked, more than a little irked that my yeti brethren have been withholding information. “What time are you going to bed?”
“So I know when to get up so I can talk to you. Duh. I don’t have to explain these things to yetis.”
“Because they are at the bank and don’t care.”
“They are starting to be as douchey as fleas.”
“Before you go, just tell me this.”
My gut immediately tied itself in knots. I don’t think I’ve ever had a panic attack, but I’m pretty sure this is how they start. One more question that sheds light on my many flaws, exposes that weak spot in a carefully crafted façade presented to the world so they can’t see through my crap. “I’ll try.”
“Why can’t we get rid of that Mustang?” She referenced the dilapidated 66 Mustang sitting covered in our driveway.
“I want to restore it.” I’m more than a little confused at this point. I’m the subject changer, the deflector. Not her.
“Why do you want it so bad? It just takes up room in the driveway.”
“It’s a classic and I’ve wanted one since I could drive. It’s my dream project.”
“The damned thing isn’t reliable. It’s paint its chipped. It won’t hardly start.” She listed its issues.
“It just needs some work.”
“And you have the patience and skill to do this?”
“Mostly. The body work will be a learning process though.”
“When it’s fixed it will still be an old car that could break down again.” Kim was making me work for this one.
Did I mention that Kim has a tendency to sell things when I’m overseas? My horse when I was in Iraq. My BMW last time I came to Korea. I really thought it would be my dog this time. She hates German Shedders. Now I felt like I was in a battle to keep this classic car project and couldn’t care less about the dog. How quickly loyalties shift. Sorry, Smoke. You’re on your own, pup.
“I don’t want to just patch it up. I’m talking full restoration. It could take years.”
“Sweetheart, you just made my point on our marriage for me.”
“Masterful.” All I could do was shake my head in awestruck wonder.
“And that’s why you love me.”
“One of the many.”
Image By Philippe Semeria – http://www.philippe-semeria.com, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5770652