November 9, 2000
Hanging Up On Everybody


Last night I did something I haven't done in years. (Besides coming home and turning on the news BEFORE I turned on the computer, that is.)

Last night I hung up on somebody  ...  on purpose.

And I enjoyed it.

Specifically: I hung up on my ex-husband. He had called to deliver his ponderous bi-monthly diatribe all about how poor he is ... and about how deeply and profoundly his life sucks ... and about how if he wasn't such a nice guy, he could drag my noncustodial ass into court and make me pay a bazillion dollars a month more in child support than I'm paying now ... and has he mentioned how poor he is? and what a nice guy he is? and how deeply and profoundly his life sucks?

1.)  He's NOT poor. 2.)  He's a nice guy when he wants to be. 3.) And he enjoys being unhappy: it's what he does best. That's one reason why we're not married anymore.

Most of the time we get along just fine. We're not best friends or anything, but we have a functional co-parenting relationship. I write the monthly child support checks ... I never ever EVER complain about the monthly child support checks ... I add an unsolicited fifty additional bucks onto each and every one of monthly child support checks ... I supplement (with plenty of groovy *extras* for the Tots) the monthly child support checks ... I promptly and consistently mail the monthly child support checks.

[and yeah, you'd better believe
i document the HELL out of the monthly child support checks.]

He cashes the monthly child support checks.

That's our *relationship* in a nutshell.

But every once in awhile something rattles his cage -- in this case, he hears about Jaymi flying down here to the Bay Area for an abbreviated visit next week -- and he immediately jumps on the phone to give me a little long-distance grief. My ex-husband is convinced that David and I are secretly rolling in dough, here in The Castle ... but that we're concealing our vast untold fortune so we can stiff him on child support. (Our 400 sq. ft. apartment, crappy jobs, broken kitchen appliances and ten-year-old Subaru station wagon are clever "fronts" for a secret life of wealth and ease, I guess. God knows where we're stashing the butler.)

My ex-husband's refrain last night was, If you can afford to fly Jaymi down there for a weekend visit, how *poor* can you be?

I took a stab [again] at trying to explain to him [again] that I'm using a combination of my piddly savings and my piddly credit card and my piddly discount airline fares to get her here ... and I mentioned [again] that this has been a tough few weeks for Jaymi, and for me, and that I think we can both use a little mother/daughter time ... and I reminded him [again] that I work incredibly hard for my money, and that it's none of his fudking business how I spend the portion of it that doesn't go to pay for his digital cable every month.

But he hears what he wants to hear. (Or in his case -- since he steadfastly refuses to wear his hearing aid -- he doesn't hear what he doesn't want to hear.) It was late. I was tired: his phone call came in after I'd already crawled into bed. I'd had a hideous day. I was (and still am) premenstrual as hell. After four or five minutes of listening to him piss and moan, I said, "You know what? I'm not in the mood to discuss this with you tonight" ... and I slammed the phone down in his ear.

End of discussion.

But I wasn't just hanging up on the Ex-Husband.

I was hanging up on George Bush. I was especially hanging up on Ralph Nader.

I was hanging up on chatty morning TV newspuppets, and on Stoopid Car Alarm Guy down the street, and on that woman who looks down at my shoes every morning in the elevator and grimaces, like they're dripping with dog shidt or something ... 

...  and I was hanging up on every snotty hotel reservations clerk who has called me "Ma'am" this week ... 

...  and I was hanging up on all of the men in my office who are incapable of ever saying "Please" or "Thank you" or "Hiya, Secra! Why don't I let you get a cup of coffee and hang up your jacket before I inundate you with requests for stuff I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself?" ... and on Roy Orbison for still being dead (and leaving us with Bob Dylan) ... and on Cameron Diaz, just because ... and on all of the Cranky Denver Ladies of the world who will write to me tomorrow and tell me that Jesus H. Christ expects me to call the Ex-Husband and apologize ... and on people who honk their car horns in the Webster Tube, and people who eat while they talk on the phone, and people who pronounce the word 'jaguar' as "jag-wire," and people who hang up without leaving a message on your answering machine, and people who view flushing a public toilet as an option, not a responsibility ...

... and I was hanging up on Mother Nature, for putting me through these 72 hours of raging, irrational, Uterus-as-Meatgrinder hormonal torment every goddamn month ...

... and I was most especially hanging up on Franz, who -- in the past three days -- has managed to *sink to new heights* of assholocity. (And who -- although he doesn't know it yet -- is harrumphing and garrumphing himself right out of the best damn Executive Ass he ever had. But that's another story for another day.)

When I slammed that phone down last night, I was hanging up on everybody in the whole world who has irritated me/hurt me/pissed me off in some way this week or this month or this year or this lifetime, basically.

Hanging up on the Ex, in the process, was just a bonus.

throw a rock