December 26th, 2003

Acting Out

kdotdammit asked me a few minutes ago whether she should modify her most recent entry, out of deference to me.

I said, "No."

Everybody misbehaves. I just picked a bad -- but common -- day to do it.

One of the fascinating things about knowing a good deal about the history of psychology and different theoretical approaches within the discipline is that you sometimes find yourself making arguments that you don't really believe in the heat of the moment, but which subsequently seem dead-on.

That's what happened yesterday.

I started out trying to explain my hour of thoughtlessness by saying that there must have been a connection between what I was doing -- calling my parents -- right before I became irrationally upset and the upset itself. I know enough to pay attention to conjunctures.

Yet I didn't really feel the connection.

The more I talked with Kim last night, though, the more I realized that I was feeling bad about not being able to be with my parents, about my sister being in New York instead of with them, about the fact that Kim's parents are so close-by and therefore involved in our daily lives in a way my parents can't be.

The whole experience reduces to a pretty neat flowchart:

Step 1: Act happy on the phone when I'm actually feeling sad.

Step 2: Act out as a way of ending the phone call and converting my dimly intuited sadness into feelings targeted outward instead of inward.

Step 3: Act like I don't know what I'm doing by becoming a "method" actor within my anger.

Step 4: Act like Kim is overreacting.

Step 5: Act like I realize I was acting out as a way of acting conciliatory.

Step 6: Realize that I actually was acting out in the first place.
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Date with IKEA

Things are going better on the home front. Kim got to spend much of the day "relatively unencumbered," as she ran errands, removed cat-damaged sand from our backyard sandbox, and went to the movies alone, all while Skylar amused herself in my orbit.

Skylar and I never did get to watch highlights from The Two Towers -- she wants to see the ents and when Gandalf returns from the beyond -- but had fun drawing balrogs and discussing the cheese I'd cut to resemble various Middle Earth items.

I did sneak in an Indiana and a few other states amid the ring of power, Mt. Doom, visage of a balrog, wizard enrobed etc.

Then, to round off the day, Cal beat Virginia Tech in the Insight.com Bowl and in thrilling fashion, coming from behind, then holding on, finally winning on a field goal with no time left. The best part is that almost all Cal's key players will be back next year. There will be BCS aspirations, however far-fetched.

I'd intended to drive up to Phoenix for the game, but decided that I'd be better served staying an extra day in Tucson with my family.

Tomorrow morning I drive to Phoenix to pick up someone I've never met who will be staying with me in San Diego during the Modern Language Association's annual convention.

We've talked on the phone and he seems really nice. Plus, he works at/for 826 Valencia, home of McSweeney's and The Believer, so I'll be doing "research" while he does "research" on the MLA and, I suppose, on me as well.

I'll talk to publishers about my punk book project, attend panels here and there, and try to see Jillian, Greg, Eric, and, if I'm lucky, John Brady (in L.A.).

And I'll miss Skylar and Kim enormously, it being the holiday season and all.

Here's to a fresh beginning. . .
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