We are all jerks: Complicated and Misunderstood Regard

It could be worse. 

I am dressed head to toe in layers of grey. I look outside and am enveloped by the ambience of a late winter day. Grey skies hover over dirty, partially melting snow. I feel the dark chill come over me. I turn up the heat and open the vent. I cannot get warm. I lock the office door, (really, my and Dave’s office door). I put my giant, charcoal colored Bose noise canceling headphones over my head and cue up the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. The stark, bold and poignant music begins to play. I turn up the volume. I notice that the tips of my fingers are icy cold. I laugh as I think that my fingers are as frozen as my cold, dark heart.

Pandemic blues are a real thing. 

My mind wanders. Now I am mad at all the people I saw this past weekend in St. George, Utah. We went there on a hiking trip. Everywhere we went we were met by so many maskless people, people who seemed to have missed the memo: 

“There is a deadly, worldwide pandemic. You can stop the spread of COVID_19 if you socially distance, wash your hands & wear a mask!” 

On our last night, and after a windy Snow Canyon hike, we ordered very delicious take out Indian food. Dave and I masked up and walked inside. The restaurant was packed. Every table was filled. I am not over exaggerating when I say there were probably 150 people seated in this eating establishment.  No one was wearing a mask. No one seemed to care that life as we know it has changed. 

We walked out the door and I said,

“Thank God Kyle was not with us. He is very worried about the pandemic. This blatant disregard for others would have broken him.”

Dave agreed. Aghast, we walked to the car. I set the food between my feet, buckled up and slathered myself in hand sanitizer, as if this ritual would somehow ward off all the virus I had just been exposed to. We told the boys about the crazy crowded restaurant and its maskless patrons. 

Back at home now I feel like my brain is broken, including my ability to communicate.

It is simple really, what happened, that is. Yesterday, Kyle realized that his computer needs an update. As a result, for the past twenty four hours, Kyle and Dave have been working on said update. Each time they try to run the update, the laptop tells them they do not have enough memory to install the update. So they delete more and more, hoping this time they will have enough memory. Then the next time they try to run the update, the computer says they need even more memory. It’s maddening! Eventually, they uploaded the update to a flash drive and then tried to install the update.

Nothing worked.

I saw their frustration. I felt their frustration. I heard their frustration. Early into this update process I noticed they had plugged Kyle’s computer in at my desk. No one said anything. No one asked if it was ok for them to be there. I am certain they did not intend for this update to last so long. I am certain they were not trying to be jerks. They just wanted to complete the update. As a result, I asked Dave how long they would be. He snapped. I backed away. I was struggling to type from my sofa. Hours later I asked again. Dave sweetly offered to move. He also did not think the update would take much longer. It did. Consequently, I asked again. He said something in his classic Beth-you-should-know-better tone, a tone that signals I had crossed a line. Then Kyle snapped. 

I thought about how to reach them. I wondered if it was fair that I should. I mean, they were in crisis. I should know. I should leave them alone, right? Finally, and after much deliberation, (and probably against their better judgement), I decided to talk to them. I said something like, 

“Hey guys. Of course, you don’t need to move. Can I share something? This is my space. My sacred space. I already have to stay out of the office so Dave can work, yet I really love being able to sneak in and sit at my desk whenever I want. I wish you would have asked. I wish you would have considered me. Had you, I would have happily insisted you work on your update for as long as you need. Instead, it is up to me to nag, needle and figure out when you will be done. Now I am the imposition. I am the jerk.”

“But Mom, I didn’t even know it would take this long.” Kyle snapped.

I tried to explain again, “Hey, I really don’t need you to move. Just consider me.” 

Of course they were super frustrated with the entire laptop issue. I get it. They were also annoyed with my “feelings” talk. I could see it. Nevertheless, I felt like I had committed a sin. I felt like I should know better than to interrupt. I felt like I should graciously step out of their way. I felt like I should know that they needed to be there. I also wish they knew where I was coming from. Is that ok? I wish I could convey the love I felt. I wish they could feel my love, like it was a snuggly blanket. I also wish they knew that I am struggling for my footing. 

I walked out of the office.

My laptop was in my bedroom. I grabbed it, a charger and a coaster and went downstairs. I set my kombucha on the coaster and plugged my laptop into the charger. As I opened up my laptop, Kyle shouted to me from upstairs,

“Mom, Mom. We are out of the office. You can have your desk back.”

“I did not need my desk. I just wanted to be considered.” I said.

Immediately Dave shot back, “Well, whether you want your desk or not, you can have it now. We are gone.” 

Here is what I heard: “Hey bitch baby. You got your way! Now shut up!”

I grabbed my drink, the coaster, my laptop and my charger. I pushed the chair in and came back upstairs.

I set myself up at my desk. Then I walked into the living room. Dave was sitting on one couch. Kyle was sitting on the other. I thanked them for getting out of the office. I said that I was sorry that updating Kyle’s computer took so long. I do not think they heard me.

Then I said, “Seriously. You really didn’t need to move.” Before I could finish, Kyle cut me off.

“Can I finish?” I said.

Kyle, who made us a really fun and delicious lunch earlier today, began to walk away. Honestly, as he started to walk away all I could think about were those yummy bacon wrapped potato wedges he made. They were so good. I felt so much love. He was incredibly thoughtful. 

Then I said, 

“Hey Kyle, I just want to be considered.”

Kyle quickly responded, “Well, us moving is considering you — MOM!” 

I look out the window. It is still grey. Ugh! The open vent has pushed comforting heat into the room. My fingers are no longer ice cold, but more of a clammy cool. The Icelandic music still plays. I almost feel transported — almost. I feel warm. I feel safe. I am in my space.