Sunday, February 10, 2019

How to disappear completely (OR: Selfish dick processes the death of a childhood companion)

I struggle with depression. When it's bleak I sometimes like to fade away, just to see if anyone notices. No one does. I think if I took vacation time at work it would be at least a month before anyone checks on me. The bank would notice I'm not paying my mortgage first, I think. Maybe there's some algorithm they run that would detect all my bills are not getting paid at once, triggering a foreclosure process - complete with clean up crew dispatch to protect their interest in the property. Something about the idea of an unfeeling bureaucracy dealing with my remains is comforting. But the point is it would be a while before anyone realized I was gone. Edit: I just realized this probably isn't true anymore. I have a weekly d&d group who would notice my absence in 5-14 days. Yay progress! (?)

I've put effort into correcting this; but there's a fundamental something I just don't get. It's why I think I might have Asperger's. Something about me puts people off. Something about people tends to put me off. I don't think it's something I'll ever fix.

One of my closest relatives is in the process of passing away. I should qualify that. We were very close as children. My summers were almost entirely coupled with him. We grew apart, made different choices that gave us different attitudes on life. It happens. Friday night he did something that killed him. He was still alive when someone found him Saturday morning. I had gotten the news early Saturday afternoon.

This man, who I looked down on for most of his life, had someone who cared enough to check on him in hours. I still firmly believe he was a deeply flawed individual; and the circumstances of his demise does nothing to refute that opinion. But in that one way, he was better than me.

A few months ago he hit me up, asking for help paying off a fine before it turned into a warrant; triggering a parole violation. He had built up a reputation in the family for asking for money. I didn't have the money sitting in my bank account, and his time table was tight. I suppose I could have pawned some stuff or taken a cash advance on a credit card, but in the moment I knew I wouldn't see the money again, and I knew he'd be back for more. I knew he would break another law, get himself in more trouble, and what I did wouldn't change that trajectory. I didn't think about how hard it must have been to ask me in that instance, after decades of not asking for anything from me. I didn't think about how alone he must have felt when I turned him down. I didn't see myself in him. That failure of empathy is going to stick with me for the rest of my life.

I'll miss the 7 year old I swam, explored the woods, climbed the bluffs, and played on the train tracks with. Our relationship wasn't remarkable, but it was part of the foundation of who I became. I wish it worked the same for him.