August 18, 2021

From Gerald R. Lucas

52 covid-19: day 524 | US: GA | info | act

Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes today on my 25th—uh, 52nd trip around the sun. I had a busy, but rewarding day. I grow increasingly anxious about the Delta variant, but I’m not sure what I can do other than remain diligent and positive. Most of my students have been masking, for which I’m grateful, and I will continue to remind them and thank them daily.

I realized something important this year: you really can’t have any expectations from other people. I think the disappointment that comes from others not meeting my expectations is a major source of daily irritation for me, often clouding my outlook for days. When I have no expectations and someone does something positive or kind, I can be pleasantly surprised. I guess part of this stems from the fact that I am not special. No one owes me anything. I can’t expect that they do. I think I will be happier with no, or low, expectations. I know this sounds a but pessimistic, but I actually think it helps me to mitigate my disappointment which leads to my moodiness and misanthropy. I’ve written something like this before; call this is an addendum. A reminder.

My relationship with my mother and brother have been strained for a little while. I recently told Tabatha that they are both toxic, and that I needed to separate myself from them for a while. Today, I reached out, first thanking Mom for her birthday text which she sent to Autumn for some reason. She replied “you’re welcome,” and that was that. I sent Tim a text—“Tim, I hope you and your family are well and healthy. I also hope we can talk sometime soon.”—to which he replied that we would not talk until I apologized for calling him a racist. I replied that I never did (but I was sorry that he thought I did), to which he, again taking the tone of an admonishing parent, told me “those kinds of statements need to stop” if we were to have any kind of relationship.

Tim, I’m honestly not sure I want one. I know this sucks, and you’re supposed to stick with family because, as Tabatha texted recently, “you are joined by a force,” whatever that means. I think that force is chance, and that’s just not a good enough reason to try to maintain a toxic, unhealthy relationship. I guess with family there are expectations—particularly for my mom and brother. I think Dad and I have gotten along so well because we just enjoy each other, mostly free of expectations. We can just be together. Perhaps Dad learned this lesson years ago. I’m fairly certain that I cannot live up to the expectations of my mom and brother. This might cause even more anxiety and insomnia for me.

It’s also clear by our brief interchange that Timmy has not thought about the issue that caused our schism last October. I went back and read though that exchange, and it’s even clearer that he never went beyond his initial indignation to try to understand my position. To him, I was just wrong, and I needed to atone for my egregious offense. I would think that in almost a year he might have gone beyond the outrage and considered what I had to say. I’m afraid he has not, nor is he likely to in the near future.

My final text tonight was: “Timmy, we don’t need to have a relationship at all, but if you want to talk, I’m here.” That’s what I can do right now.