Passive Aggressive, Part 1

2013-04-30 15.58.07

 

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Him: Don’t involve me in that ever again.

Me: Excuse me?

Him: You heard me. I don’t want to be part of your circus. I don’t care to sit there while you open a bank account, on a day when we’ve planned to meet for a picnic. You’ve been extremely passive agressive today and I don’t want to be part of whatever game it is you’re playing.

(long pause)

Me: Well… It’s a nice day, and we finally made it to the park. Eat your sandwich, maybe, and you won’t be hangry anymore?

(long pause. we eat. i start to play ukulele.)

Me: Hey, we wrote this song together. Do you remember writing this song?

Him: Yes.

(pause)

Me: Right. We wrote it. Where were we?

(pause)

Me: You don’t remember? We were at your apartment in Cobble Hill. I was complaining about your tendency to hoard things – it’s a real fire hazzard, and I’d twisted my ankle in the clothing/furniture/old paper maze to your bed. It was hot and you had rigged up a ‘fan contraption,’ remember?

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Him: It was two fans working in tandem to circulate the air.

Me: That’s right! I was asking about American Hwangap at the Magic Theater. You said you’d written a chord progression for the end of the show, remember?

(pause)

Me: I said we owed it to Thin Skin Jonny to turn it into a song. Surely you remember?

(pause. i start singing.)

If I said more often,

How good you look…

In the morning time, boy

Wouldn’t that have been fine?

If I told you,

How good you cook

You make your own beef jerky.

Who makes their own beef jerky?

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Would you let me stay?

Would you let me stay?

Hey hey hey.

Would you let me stay?

Ah haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..

 

And if I said I’m sorry,

For all the fighting last December,

Would you say, It’s okay –

As far as you remember

If I said I was a lonely boy

Who really really misses you

Can I be the only boy who

Gets to hug and kiss you…

 

I wanna be the only boy-

Would you let me st-

Him: That’s enough.

(pause)

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Me: I’ll stop singing that song, but not because you told me to.

Him: Michael, I’ve moved beyond this. I have completed my grief cycle. I’ve come out the other side a better man.

Me: And I kept singing the songs that made us feel immortal. What’s your point?

Him: You can’t hold on to love for too long. It will burden you. It will anchor you down.

Me: Oh really? I was thinking the opposite. I was thinking that I’m a writer. I’m a songwriter. I’m a playwright. I write comedy for television and star in sketch shows. I was thinking I might keep singing my songs, because you know what? People are buying them now.

(pause)

Do you want writing credit for this, or no? Because I don’t want to deal with a lawsuit later on.

Him: You’re ridiculous and passive agressive to the nth degree and I’m not your boyfriend any longer. I don’t have to put up with it.

Me: Oh. No. You did not. Gurl, you better hold my gold.

Him: You have to let this go.

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Me: No, I don’t. You’re not my boyfriend anymore and I don’t have to put up with you telling me what to do. I can love whomever I want. I can keep loving you, Norman. I can love Carson, too. I can love Andrew forever too, if I want to. I don’t have to do what you tell me to do. How’s that for passive aggressive? Or was that just agressive?

(pause. i play more uke.)

So if I do all the laundry…

If I go and buy all the paper towels,

Will you rent a hall?

Will you write some wedding vows?

If I pick up all my dirty socks.

If I go and put back the toothpaste cap,

When our kid has chicken pox

Will you pick up a midnight snack?

 

And would you let me stay?

Would you let me stay?

Hey hey hey? Hey.

Would you let me stay?

Ah Haaaaaaaaaaaa ah.

2013-04-30 15.58.01

 

Maybe I’ll change?

Maybe I’ll change.

Maybe I’ll look at myself

I’ll re-arrange things when I change

Ah Haaaaaaaaaaaaa ah.

 

I just realized,

When I saw your eyes.

I don’t want to… Stay….  

2013-04-30 16.00.12

 

To Be Continued…

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-3

The Ficus is Dead – Part Three

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Me: Yeah. And the definition of a nice Thanksgiving is one where I don’t show up and ruin things. So yeah, I didn’t speak to you after that, because you proved to me that you don’t care about me anymore. I decided right then that I wasn’t going to reach out to you again, until you reached out first. Ha. I guess you called my bluff! Cause a year has gone by and you didn’t even know I was hurting over it. But it doesn’t matter anymore because the ficus is dead. It’s dead and it’s not ever, ever coming back and you don’t get to know about that!

(pause)

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Me: You run away from everything.

Him: You. Left. Me.

Me: You left me a long time before that for your drunk ass writer friends.

Him: You wanted me to be a writer!

Me: NOW YOU ARE ONE. Are you happy?

Him: Yes, Michael. I am. I’m very happy, actually.  I love my house, and I love my car and I love my boyfriend. And you’re passive aggressive, but I love you too. I just can’t be around you all the time anymore, or maybe even at all. AND I DON’T OWE IT TO YOU TO EXPLAIN WHY.

Me: That’s fine! But I don’t owe it to you to tell you when the ficus dies.

Him: That was a metaphor for us!

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Me: It still IS. Our relationship, and I mean our friendship – died. It died in the past year as you turned your back on me and slowly cut me out of our circle of friends. Have you ever seen August Osage County?

Him: No. Why?

Me: Tracy Letts writes a line for one of the characters, about how people are always complaining that America is dying, but the truth of the matter is that America died a long time ago, while Americans were focused on other things. Curling irons. New Cars. Televisions. I’m paraphrasing.

Him: So?

Me: So that’s us. We’re the ficus. It’s dead, and you didn’t even know it was dying. And because of that you don’t get to deserve to know.

Him: Do you see how passive aggressive you are?

Me: You don’t know the half of it. Talk about passive aggressive – you’re imaginary!

Him: What?

Me: I’m making you up. I’m not really saying this to you. This is just what I wish I could say to you. You’re a fantasy Carson.

Him: GOD YOU’RE SO…

Me: Passive aggressive? Maybe you’re right, but at least I’m real, and you’re not, so haha. Anyway, you got all our friends in the breakup so you can console yourself with that.

Him: Hm. Well. In that case…

Me: Yes?

Him: Since I’m a fantasy Carson, I can’t get a hangover. Should we have another beer. Talk this out some more?

Me: I go in circles with this, but I always wind up forgiving you.

Him: Aw you’re sweet. Do you forgive yourself?

Me: I’m starting to. It’s hard. That’s the hardest thing.

Him: Oh, shit, sweetie – I just realized.

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Me: What?

Him: Jason’s coming back with cigarettes.

Me: No he isn’t. This is my fantasy and he doesn’t exist.

Him: Oh no! I love him though. Plus I really wanted a cigarette.

Me: You mean like the cigarette you have in your hand right now?

Him: Oh wow. You can do that?

Me: It’s my fantasy.

Him: That’s neat. But why not just make a version of me that doesn’t crave cigarettes?

Me: Because I like your flaws sometimes.

Him: Why?

(long pause)

Me: Because I love you. What are you drinking?

Him: Stella.

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Me: I’ll go to the bar and get two Stellas then.

Him: I’ll be here when you get back.

Me: No, you won’t.

Him: What? Why?

Me: Because it’s my fantasy. And because the ficus is dead.

-1

The Ficus is Dead

drawings by lex millena

Him: Oh hey.

Me: What? Shit. Hey! Happy Thanksgiving.

Him: Happy Thanksgiving sweetie. Are you here alone?

Me: Yeah. I went to a few friends. Now I’m here. I don’t know why. Where’s Jason?

Him: He went to get cigarettes, he’ll be back in 20 minutes or so.

Me: Ugh. You guys are still smoking? I thought you almost kicked that when we were together…

Him: I never really stopped. I just only had 2 or 3 a week.

Me: I know. I smelled it on you, from time to time. I didn’t always mention it.

Him: I knew you knew.

Me: I knew you knew I knew.

Him: I knew that too.

Me: We were very passive aggressive towards each other.

Him: We were. You are.

Me: Okay, okay. Thanks for saying hi!

(pause)

Me: I understand you and Jason bought a car and a house together.

Him: I guess word travels fast.

Me: I hear things. We’re both in comedy. People talk.

Him: It’s funny, I’d never think to say that. “I’m in comedy.”

Me: You are. The bulk of your money comes from comedy.

Him: I think of myself more as a writer.

Me: Yes. You’ve gotten very good.

Him: Oh, have you read?

Me: Yes. I follow you online, here and there, when I can stomach it.

Him: Ouch.

Me: Oh stop. I’m sure you don’t read my blog.

Him: That’s correct – I don’t.

Me: Okay so, fine. Well I read your stuff sometimes. You’ve gotten quite good.

Him: I’m glad you think so.

Me: I mean, I’m not nuts about reading about myself, but it’s very good writing, so that’s flattering, I guess.

Him: I don’t write about you. I write fiction.

Me: But some things are based on me.

Him: Some elements of some of my characters share parts of your behavior patterns or point of view. But I wouldn’t say I’m writing about you.

Me: No, of course you wouldn’t. But even so, it’s funny that as soon as I start recognizing myself in your writing, the very next thing I notice is an attitude of contempt from the narrator toward the ‘me’ character. It’s not my favorite thing in the world.

Him: You’ll never believe this, but I don’t write about you.

Me: I don’t write about you often, either. It’s good writing, Carson. Congrats on getting published. That’s huge. And I heard about the grant too.

Him: It’s political. I’m good at politics.

Me: You’re a good writer.

Him: Well thank you.

Me: You’re welcome. And you’re right. I’ll never believe that you’re not writing about me. We lived together for 8 years. I worked you through grad school.

Him: Let’s not start down this path again.

Me: Of course not. It’s a holiday, and in any case I have no regrets.

Him: I’m glad to hear that. Neither do I.

Me: How big of us.

(a very long pause. we stare across the bar and survey the crowd. we don’t make eye contact)

To Be Continued…

You’re Welcome

lex millena

Him: Wow. You’re a busy guy.

Me: You’re busy too! It took us months to find some common time. You look good, by the way.

Him: You’re welcome.

Me: Haha. Thanks for looking so good.

Him: I told you – you’re welcome.

Me: So you did. You said you had a doctor’s appointment?

Him: Sort of. Chiropractor.

Me: I agree.

Him: With what?

Me: A Chiropractor is a ‘sort of’ doctor.

Him: Stop! I really like my Chiropractor.

Me: Hm. Got a little crush on him?

Him: Shut up. He’s such a bro, though.

Me: Bro?

Him: Yeah. He’s a ‘hey bro’ type of guy.

Me: I gather you love that.

Him: Yeah, that’s why I play in the gay sports leagues. I like bromance.

Me: You’re hilarious.

Him: I’m worried though.

Me: Why?

Him: He said that he was going to cancel our appointment next week. He doesn’t think I need to see him every single week.

Me: Isn’t that good news?

Him: What? No! It means he’s breaking up with me.

Me: That’s hilarious. Do you really  think that?

Him: What else could it mean?

Me: That you’re getting better?

Him: Yeah, maybe… See – I’m neurotic.

Me: Only a little. Still – that does seem like a Seinfeld plot.

Him: What does?

Me: My Chiropractor Is Breaking Up With Me. Sounds like a Seinfeld episode.

Him: Who watches Seinfeld?

Me: Comedy nerds?

Him: Do you know comedy nerds?

Me: I kind of am one.

Him: Comedy nerds don’t look like you.

Me: You’re welcome?

Him: What?

Me: I was repeating your joke from earlier. Never mind.

(pause)

Me: You’re thinking about your chiropractor, aren’t you?

Him: It’s just, why wouldn’t he want to see me every week? My insurance pays for it.

Me: Listen, if I was being paid an exorbitant amount of money every week to give you a back rub, I’d totally schedule more appointments – not less. Who is this guy?

Him: You’re sweet. Maybe you should be my chiro.

Me: I’m available. I’m only a few hundred dollars an hour.

Him: It’s really bothering me, though.

Me: Would you say you care about other people’s opinions too much?

Him: Yes! I’m totally neurotic about what people think of me.

Me: Oh no. That must suck.

Him: It does. I’m worried about what you’re thinking about me right now.

Me: I’m thinking you’re adorable.

Him: You’re welcome.

Me: Thank you.

(pause)

Me: I think I have the opposite problem…

Him: How so?

Me: I think I don’t care enough what people think of me.

Him: Really?

Me: Yeah. I’m super self absorbed. I had an improv teacher once say “The only absolute in life is your own opinion.” That stuck with me over the years, maybe too much.

Him: That’s a good quote though. I wish I could think that way.

Me: I do think that way, but I wonder if I might be a little bit more successful if I desperately needed to please other people.

Him: Maybe it’s more about you.

Me: Hm?

Him: Do you please yourself, ever?

Me: I’m happy with certain things. Milestones, or accomplishments. But even when I do a really good job in a show or at an audition, I still feel mildly dissatisfied.

Him: Maybe that’s the trick – pleasing yourself.

Me: That’s a very astute observation.

Him: We should order. I want oysters.

Me: This restaurant is great, by the way. You made a good selection.

Him: You’re welcome.

ThursDATE: They’re Playing Our Song

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Him:  So that was the afternoon I got my acceptance letter to Sarah Laurence College.  And I got a scholarship, so I told my parents to suck it.

Me:  Haha – good for you.  That was a great story.

Him:  Thanks.  You know – I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about you…

Me:  Heh.  Thanks.  But give it a second – you’ve only known me for 15 minutes.  I get progressively less charming with time.

Him:  Oh, I don’t believe that.

Me:  It’s been proven scientifically.  Oh hey – I love this song.

Him:  Neutral Milk Hotel?

Me:  Yeah – I always really liked this one.

Him:  Oh my God, me too…  This could totally be our song!

Me:  Huh?

Him:  When we come here five years from now, on our anniversary – we can ask the bartender to play it because it’s our song!

Me:  Heh – all right, all right.  You’re getting ahead of yourself, just a little bit, no?

(pause)

Him:  Haha – yeah, I’m just joking, silly!

Me:  Oh.  Of course.  Of course you are…  heh…  So, what do you do for work?

Him:  I’m a freelance grant writer.

Me:  Oh?  Wow.

Him:  I know – you didn’t picture yourself with a grant writer, did you?  Nobody does – every time I ask that question, nobody does…

Me:  I…  I don’t know.

Him:  Do you like kids?  I love children.

Me:  I have some nieces and nephews and I gotta say, I like them so much more than I thought i was going to.

Him:  What does that mean?  That sounds horrible.

Me:  Hm.  I guess it does, in a way.  What I mean to say is – I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to actually like/love them.  They’re really quite wonderful.

Him:  That sounds better – do you want kids?

Me:  I don’t know.  I went through a phase where I thought I did, but now I’m wondering if there aren’t advantages to not having them too…  I’m a writer and a comic and it’s pretty enticing, not having to slow down your work load because you had a kid.

Him:  Um, ew.   We’ll have to work on that answer, mister!  I want two kids – a boy and a girl.  Holden and Hanna – after Salinger and Woody Allen.

Me:  Really?  Holden?

Him:  You’ll get used to it.  So have you thought about a survival job?

Me:  What?

Him:  Well freelance writing and comedy can’t pay that well, can they?

Me:  Well they can, but in my case, no.  I barely scrape by.  But I’m kind of okay with that.

Him:  But how are you going to support a family??

Me:  What?  I just said that I might not have one.

Him:  I know – I was just kidding!  Even so, what about Holden and Hanna?

Me:  I don’t…  What do you do for fun around here?  When you’re not grant writing?

Him:  I hope you know I plan to retire by the age of 50, if at all possible…

(long pause)

Me:  I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Him:  Oh you!  You always say that!

Me:  I do.  Always.  For the last 25 minutes.

Him:  You know, I’m starting to think you’re not even looking for a boyfriend.

Me:  I’m not.

Him:  What??

Me:  I’m not – well not actively, at least.  I pride myself on  not being the type of guy that needs to find validation through having a boyfriend.  Not that I’m dead set against it, I’m just not desperately searching for one.

Him:  Ugh.  I wish you would have said that online.  I feel like my time has been wasted.

Me:  I’m sorry you feel that way.

Him:  Aw!  Our first fight!  I’m sorry too – I didn’t mean that thing about wasting my time.

Me:  …

Him:  I’m just kidding!  Let’s have another drink.

Me:  No.

Him: No?

Me: No.  But thanks for meeting up.  Jerk.

FriDATE: I Love You

Him:  I love this place.

Me:  I know.  It’s gonna be hard, not having coffee here when you go back to Chicago, right?

Him:  I can’t believe I stayed here the whole five days.  I was supposed to play it cool, stay with friends a night or two…

(pause)

Me:  Oh.  No.

Him:  What?

Me:  Oh man.  Look at that couple that just walked in.

Him:  Do you know them?

Me:  Uh.  No.  But I can’t stand them.

Him:  I’m sorry? 

Me:  This happens to me only rarely.  Sometimes I decide that I don’t like someone based solely on observing them for an extended period of time.

Him:  OH!  Yeah, I think I know what you’re talking about.  What did these two do?

Me:  You know, I can’t say, exactly.  It’s just….  them.  I’ve seen them all over the neighborhood lately.  I’d never seen them before and then they started popping up everywhere, turning their noses up at things…

Him:  You’re talking about the Gay couple that just walked in?

Me:  Uh.  Yes…  Do you see anyone else snootily turning their noses up at everything?

Him:  Hm.  Good point.

Me:  Watch them.   They’ll be perfectly friendly, but they’ll have a snotty, snide air the whole time.  They’re even worse on the train, when they’re not on good behavior.

Him:  This is good behavior?

Me:  Apparently.  Look at the tall one.  He’s the worst.  The smaller one, the red head, would be okay on his own, but together they’re this big, palpable, Gay nuisance.

Him:  I agree.  The red head is simply beady-eyed, and untrustworthy.   But the taller one, he just oozes sarcasm and punishing Gay hipster irony. 

Me:  Yes.  Somebody was mean to him in high school, and now he’s making up for it by cunting all over younger, more impressionable art Fags.  Uh oh…

Him:  What?

Me:  It’s occurring to me that we’re as bad as them.  We’re being as judgmental as we imagine them to be.

Him:  Don’t say that!  We can’t be as awful as them.  We at least control our facial expressions.

Me:  True enough, the taller, more stork-like one walks around all day with a scrunched up scowl.

Him:  As if he’s constantly smelling bad cheese.

Me:  HA.  Exactly.

Him:  Safe to say, we don’t know them but we hate them.

Me:  Ha.  Okay.  Oh.

Him:  What?

Me:  Speaking of love and hate.

Him:  Yes?

Me:  Last night…  when i was boning you…

Him:  Oh no.  I thought you missed that! I thought you didn’t notice.

Me:  Uh.  People notice stuff like that.

Him:  DON’T.  It was a syntax error, if anything.

Me:  I think you mean scansion.  It didn’t scan the way you intended.

Him:  So embarrassing.  Why would you bring this up now?

Me:  Hey, it’s not every day that someone you’ve known for a week says ‘I love you,’ while you’re having sex.

Him:  I said:  “I love you inside me.”

Me:  You said ‘I love you,’ and then a long pause, and then you said,’ inside me.’

(long pause)

Me:  It’s okay.  I thought it was cute.  I was like ‘aw…  he’s having I love you fantasies.’

Him:  No, that’s not it.  It was feeling really good, and I meant to say I love you inside me, but in the middle of the sentence i got caught up in what was going on.  It was just a mistake.

Me:  Hey.  I am just breaking your balls.  I know it wasn’t a love confession.  If anything I thought it was cute.

Him:  Okay.   That’s good to know. 

(pause)

Him:  Oh, look at them now.  Looks like the storky one doesn’t like his pastry.

Me:  Oh NO!!  His Sunday afternoon is ruined!!

Him:  Whatever will he DO??

Me:  He’ll have to be content with his own sense of self satisfaction.  It will have to suffice.

Him:  Somehow, I think it will.

Me:  Hey, can I say something?

Him:  Okay.

Me:  I really love you.

(long pause)

Me:  When you make fun of people with me.

Him:  You’re such a jerk.

Me:  You’re right.  I am.