March 21, 2002
Trials & Tribulations

I followed the Andrea Yates murder trial with the same heartsick interest that a lot of other people did. For me, it was a case of Trainwreck Syndrome: you can't bear to look, but you can't bear to not look ... especially when it involves dead children and/or wildly dysfunctional parents. In the end, I can't say that I agreed completely with the verdict: the State of Texas' definitions of "right" and "wrong" are a bit narrowly drawn for my tastes. (Plus I think that Andrea Yates had plenty of help getting to that front row seat in the courtroom.)  But all things considered, I don't see how it could have turned out much differently.

Now the dog-mauling trial has taken center stage. Here in the Bay Area, this case was old news before it even went to trial.  We've been subjected to the execrable Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel for over a year now, ever since the day Diane Whipple was torn to pieces in the hallway in front of her apartment. As a confirmed non-dog-lover -- dogs were permanently ruined for me as a teenager, and I've never looked back -- I likely would have sided with the prosecution anyway.  The lack of remorse, coupled with the relentless unlikeability of the defendants, have simply made it easier to loathe them outright. I'm drawn to news of this trial because I want to 'be there' when these fudkers go down.

Still, none of these splashy, media-intensive recent trials have interested me even a bazillionth as much as what took place in a TicTac courtroom yesterday morning.

I've got to tell you: it's tough staying focused on office supply orders and drive cylinder density samples when you know that a thousand miles away your middle child is standing in front of a judge, attempting to explain how she just happened to come into possession of a controlled substance. As a matter of fact, I'd say that it's pretty darned impossible. Not to mention frustrating.

Everything about this situation has been frustrating. It's frustrating not to have the complete story, ever  ...  to have to piece it together in inconsistent dribs and drabs, here and there.  It's frustrating to call the courthouse in TicTac and be plunged immediately into the labyrinth of voicemail hell, never knowing the warm and gentle embrace of an actual human voice. It's frustrating to talk to Daughter #2 and hear her say that she'd "rather go to jail than quit using," knowing that she is quite likely to get her wish. 

It's frustrating to actually have the solution -- to know from painful personal experience that the only way out of the mess her life has become is to get clean, and then to STAY clean: nothing else in her life will EVER be 'fixed' until that happens -- and knowing that my "solution" is about as welcome as Mike Tyson in a State of Nevada boxing ring.

And it's frustrating to feel so goddamned frustrated all the time. Frustration is the least productive of all the emotions. I guess you could call frustration the Maraamu Tribe of emotions.

But for right now, frustration is all I've got ... that and guilt, of course: buckets and buckets of my special patented brand of If I hadn't/If I didn't/If I'd only guilt ... a dollop or two of déjà vu (swap out alcohol and cocaine for meth and Ecstacy, and you've got Young Screwed-Up Addict Secra) ... a few random molecules of anger, directed at everybody in general and nobody in particular, including myself and my ex and God ("If I start believing in You again, will You get her through this one?") ... and, on top of everything else, a sort of ennervating, bone-deep, all-over sadness. 

As a matter of fact, it's likely that sadness may completely eclipse frustration as the Emotion du Jour, as I once again try to stay focused on time sheets and soil seepage and aerially-deposited lead assessments, while a thousand miles away ...

... Daughter #2 "celebrates" her nineteenth birthday.

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happy birthday, kacie.
i love you.