Help

there’s so much to do.  I don’t understand how anyone gets it all done.  I might have ADHD, I don’t know.  My job is intense.  Requires a kind of weirdly sustained focus – ok, it’s computational linguistics.  you can’t look up from your computational linguistics desk. and when you do, you get lights shooting out of your optic nerve.

and then comes the Alltag (day-to-day). sure, everyone has the picture of the housewife, who goes to the grocery store 30 times a day, in a van filled with three kids, all of whom have appointments for their futures in different parts of Miami.  and this is no myth.  these are the women (and men, to some extent…not as much as NPR would have us believe) who fund NPR (because they are in the car driving 6 hours per day, and so they have to listen to something…).  it fuels an economy based upon gas consumption, and consumer spending.  truly, I am baffled – I make a great salary, but there is not way I could afford those trips to the grocery store, or the car maintenance.

add to that the garbage, the recycling, the constant pick up – I’m just re-iterating the 50’s housewife blues, which was only first alleviated by “mother’s little helper” (I am referring to the Rolling Stones version, here: barbiturates!)

I guess that brings me back to Do (pronounced “doe”).  I mean,

There’s where it falls apart, though.  Barbie was a depressant, to be mixed with gin at 5 o’clock.

This made us all chilled, not stirred.  And you know what?  We just didn’t really get everything done!  Like parenting!  Or home made dinner! Ritalin is a stimulant: you get everything done, and more.  Overclock. Uber-parenting. Uber-dinner.

I just noticed that the real tension comes from expectations, mostly the tacit ones – from someone.  I mean, the essence of all of this is the need to be loved, or considered worthy of love, in a society whose only notion of love is based on tangible exchange:  barter, reciprocity.  Perhaps the one who takes the Ritalin is the one who feels in debt.

Who is the “someone else”? Who is the debtor?

forgiveusourdebtsasweforgiveourdebtors.

The domestic partner is an obvious object of the (index) finger; but, obvious is generally misleading.  Certainly in my case, there is no such expectation from my domestic partner. In fact, I generally do not find among my friends or lovers people who “deal love”. But the fear of not completing my task for my taskmaster is great in me. So, whence comes?

Our world is full of agents of operant conditioning (B.F Skinner) – too numerous to count.  Most are unwitting, having neither the predilection nor ability in many cases to read Skinnerian soul-thievery. And there’s more to the picture: at some point, people like me get set up.  This is the key, the set up.  You must feel the pain of the” guy who goes home without the girl.” (cf. Vanilla Sky).  you must feel rejection, and be fully cognizant that it is rejection. At that point, you gain an Achilles heel for life.  You must please.  You must get affection.

That’s when you link affection with completion; that’s when love becomes a commodity.

The bad news is that there is no operant de-conditioning, at least nothing as clean and efficient at un-training the dog to de-salivate.  I mean, that’s the point: it’s conditioning, not just training. In the end, I believe, you will never know how to just take love for free, when you’ve been conditioned to pay for it with your very worth. You can learn compensatory behavior – you can learn to respond correctly, to pat yourself on the back, and, presumably hug yourself and kiss yourself.  You can repeat, “I know you love me and that your love is not bound to an expectation that I please you by quietly removing all barriers to your happiness and assuming that everything that needs to be done is on my list.” yes, say that. but the truth must be felt, else it is not the truth.

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