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Worldwide Ace » Battling the Wizard – Part V

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Battling the Wizard – Part V

21 February, 2014 (06:45) | Growing Up

Continued from
Battling the Wizard – Part I – Part II
Part III – Part IV

The following catalogs the turmoil that led
to my sudden move to Nederland at the end of January.
It’s extremely long, though each part is reasonable article length.


Each day on the mountain, no matter how stressful, left me smiling and happy. Each day returning home, I would find him stoned stupid, “product testing” for his career. Sometimes, it felt good to smoke with him, testing new things, running through the intellectual curiosity of trying to catalog and compare all the various accoutrements we were testing. He was always generous when he could get my opinion. He was always generous when he felt he had smoked too much, but needed more information.

“You have to smoke this,” he would say with a wry smile. “I can’t smoke any more.”

More often than not, it was a matter of pride that I could smoke more and still be ok, but there were plenty of times I questioned my choice after the fact. The Wizard wasn’t to blame for the fact that I dropped into a stoned stupor for a few days at the end of the ski season. He certainly wasn’t to blame for the onset of depression as I tried my damnedest to avoid working with kids over the summer. And he and his pot wasn’t any help as I slowly clawed my way back. It’s of note that my life choices during this time were less than stellar, less than responsible, and detrimental to my own well-being.

But the Wizard, a man whom I considered a friend, helped facilitate my pot-smoking ways. I always chose to join him. I enjoyed the experience, and I only have myself to blame, but I can also blame myself for not getting out of a living situation that exacerbated my own poor choices. When we did argue, his answer was to pass the peace pipe. When I attempted to address an issue seriously, his demeanor was nearly always dismissive, aloof, and sarcastic, if not outright stoned. During my Spring of depression, I stopped caring about anything; I stopped caring that he wouldn’t clean the grill after cooking, leaving crud and schmutz all over it when I wanted to cook (when I mentioned this, he told me to get my own grill if I wanted it different); I stopped caring that I was the only one wiping up the counters (at first he claimed h never made a mess, but eventually when I pointed to his ginger and oatmeal crumbs, he admitted he never wiped it up and that’s the way it would be); I stopped caring that he never touched the compost but to add to it (when I had addressed it, he claimed it a pet peeve and said that only he emptied the trash and recycling, which was bullshit). I went through the motions, but I ceased to care and the Wizard slowly stopped complaining about me.

Over the years, I’ve seen depression materialize in others. My dad exhibited depression when I was in high school, puttering about the computer playing hours of solitaire, quietly just being there. A good friend post-college went through times of depression, especially affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, actively seeking help from professionals. I’ve had multiple acquaintances and friends whom I never would have guessed suffer from depression admit their condition on social media. But always, depression has been something I’ve experienced second hand. It was not so that Spring. I was zombie-like in my emotional response. I smiled and laughed and joked as if everything were fine, but inside, I didn’t feel the humor or the fun. Inside, I didn’t feel anything. There wasn’t a crushing weight of sadness or an insurmountable mountain of ennui. There was nothing. There was waking up; eating, playing games, surfing the internet, smoking pot, and going to bed. Physically, I was functional. Mentally, I was empty. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t read. I found my attention wandering from even the simplest tasks. It wouldn’t wander anywhere specific, simply into the ether and away. And I didn’t have the wherewithal to even notice this was happening.

I finally crawled back to summer camp when my desired job still hadn’t materialized. Within a week, my depression had lifted. I love kids. Their enthusiasm is infectious. And I loved being back with them. The summer soon became happy fun time once more. The Wizard and I would play frisbee golf several times a week, and our Tichu group continued to play regularly. I started feeling again, first little bits of giddy joy or empathetic sadness. Then more and more emotion, be it anger, annoyance, fear, elation. My pot-smoking slowed because of my commitment to the job, though I still partook more often than I probably should’ve.

And if I hadn’t said anything, I’m not sure anyone would’ve been the wiser.

Along with emotion, my unhappiness a my living situation rematerialized. I started to stress money, and with an even split to rent, I once again felt like the Wizard was taking advantage of me and our housemates.

With the Wizard running his business from home, I felt like our hefty utility bills were evidence that I was subsidizing his heat, electricity, and water usage. After all, I spent little time at home thanks to work and an active social life. What time I did spend at home was primarily spent sleeping cleaning or cooking. With the Wizard taking up three-quarters of the unshared spaces, I felt that splitting rent evenly was inequitable. And though our annoyance at the deterioration of the house was equal, our actions to fix those things were not.

My roommate’s dog, who had some issues with males coming to the door, barking loudly and occasionally nipping even if he had met them before, started getting worse with her spending more and more nights away from the house. Our course of action was to try to train him. I talked with her about how, did some research and tried to respect her wishes. One major thing we needed to do was not yell when he barked; loud noises in response to his barking would make him feel justified instead of punished. The Wizard almost always yelled. When I pointed this out, he said, “I’m going to react. That’s what I do and I’m not changing.”

It’s this attitude that started coming out again and again.

When the garage, my entry to and from the house for my bike, my only means of transportation, he told me to fix it. I spent money I didn’t have to get a repairman to come and fix it, taking it out of rent the next month. The next time the garage door broke and I informed the Wizard, he replied, “So what do you want me to do about it?”

“I want you to fix it. I fixed it last time. Even though it’s your workshop, the garage is a common area and it’s your turn to fix it.” He scoffed as I walked away. A week and half later he fixed it, though it drove me nuts in the interim. It was a quick fix he did himself, and though the fix looked good, it didn’t last, a friend of ours ultimately snapping the replacement cable. When I pointed this out again, he essentially ignored me. Winter was rolling in, so I was biking less, and ski season was starting, so it wasn’t a priority to me. The garage was still non-functional when I left the house.

These little things started to add up. When the Wizard would ask me to do something, I’d say, “Ok, I’ll take care of it soon.” When I’d ask him, it was always, “What do you expect me to do about it?” or “Why are you telling me?”

It wore on me mentally.

One of my flaws was getting distracted during laundry, or not having time to move things, and leaving them in the washer or dryer. The Wizard, rather than asking or getting me, rather than setting the laundry in a basket, would throw it on the floor or the lint covered dryer. I felt this wasn’t nice or respectful. When I found our other roommate’s laundry the same way, I would transfer it to her room or a laundry basket. After all, they’re clean clothes, and no one was cleaning the laundry room except the few times I swept it up or wiped down the washer and dryer.

Early into ski season, I pointed out that the things I set down upstairs kept migrating. “Aw,” the Wizard said in mock sympathy, “does Benny need his own corner of the upstairs?”

I had been living there over a year, and though the patronizing tone raised my ire, I swallowed it. “No,” I replied, “I don’t need a corner. I need to feel like I live here.”

“We’ll get you your own space,” he said, clearing a shelf where some plants used to be. “How’s that?”

I rolled my eyes and said fine. But it didn’t feel fine. I felt like a sidenote, a pet, or maybe even a project.

Continued in
Battling the Wizard – Part VI