Tuesday, May 2, 2017

In which Primo agonizes about whether to visit Ted when he (Primo) is going to the city where Ted lives and Primo's best friend and I both say, "Why bother? He's had plenty of chances to be a decent human being to you?" but another friend says, "What harm could there be?" which to me means, the other friend has never encountered anyone toxic ever

What Primo (and I) would really like to have:

A brother (in-law) who is a decent, kind person who is nice to be around.

What Primo has:

A brother who is nice only when he wants something and even that niceness is tinged with - I don't know how to describe it - condescension? mocking? the clear impression that Ted is saying the words he knows he should say but that he is rolling his eyes as he is speaking?

Primo has had a trip planned to Washington DC for a month. It's some political group thing and they actually pay people to do work and it's a place he would like to work and they are paying for the trip and we have enough money to survive even if Primo never works again but I still want him to get a job because I don't want to be the only working (one of us has to work so we can have decent health insurance).

For this month, Primo has wondered if he should try to see Ted, who lives on the way to DC.

I have said No! No! No!

But Primo says that he wants to try to have a good relationship with Ted.

I say why? Primo has all the power in this relationship. He does not need to cultivate Ted for anything. Ted is the one who has been the jerk in all of this. He has had so many chances to be nice to Primo and has chosen to be a jerk instead.

Ted is a middle-aged man whose own best friend of 30 years told Primo last year that he was "taking a break" from Ted.

As in, what kind of person can't even keep a relationship with his best (and maybe only) friend?

And why should Primo be doing all the work? Ted has never apologized for being a jerk, for screaming at Primo, for implying that Primo was stealing from the trust. His niceness always precedes a request for money. He is never nice just to be nice.

But Primo persists.

He left for DC two days ago. Called me last night.

Primo: You know I asked Pete and Julie if I should talk to Ted. Pete* said nope. Julie said I should call.

Me: Julie's never met Ted, has she?

Primo: No. Pete says Julie is a lot nicer than he is.

Me: A lot nicer than I am, too.

Primo: And then Tom** called. He and (his wife) think I should call Ted, too.

Me: These people have never met Ted! They have no idea what he's like!

Primo: I know. And I have been thinking about it all day and dreading it. And then I saw a notification that it is Jack's birthday today, so I knew I needed to call or text him. So I decided to call.

Me: Call Jack?

Primo: I started with Ted. And Ted'sWife answered the phone. They are in Atlanta at Ted'sMom's place - she is very sick and they think she is dying.

Me: So you don't have to visit! But you get credit for trying!

Primo: Yeah, but - Ted and Jack's mom is dying!

Me: That is awful.

Primo: So I feel bad for them.

Me: Of course.

Primo: I told Ted'sWife to call me if they are back in DC before I leave next week.

Me: But you hope they won't.

Primo: Yes.

* Primo's best friend for 35 years

** A very good friend of 30 years


  1. People who can't conceive of horrible, toxic family are to be envied. They are also incredibly frustrating sometimes. But! I still envy them.

    1. I envy them, too. They have no idea. None. They make me wonder if there is something wrong with me - that maybe the toxic people aren't so bad and I am completely overreacting.


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