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In Which I Give My Mother a Lesson in Logical Reasoning, and She Learns Nothing

June 27, 2016

I was threatened with being fired in tandem with a woman I with whom I am supposed to work directly. I currently have only one assignment at work, and I was given a direct order not to do it on my own. It involves comparing documents, and the supervisors consider it a two-person job, one reading aloud, and the other comparing. Sometimes I have to do so with a lazy person whom most of the temps agree fails to pull her weight. I told another temp of her antics, making me wait 45 minutes for her to arrive and then eat her breakfast on the clock, and how she, instead of putting notes on the document as instructed, would go over to the temp doing the corrections when she found an issue, which is expressly not how we were to do it, but she did not understand and had to be lectured by the project supervisor (who is below the supervisor) repeatedly. The project supervisor then said that further problems would put not only her, but me, out the door.

I explained this to my mother via texts that are no longer on my phone (which holds only 50 in the sent mail box), and she had this to say:

Since you have all the answers, there is nothing I can say. I no longer even try. Everyone’s life reflects the choices that have been made; you are no exception.

I was reminded of the smug stupidity of Donald Trump and continued the conversation via text:

That is asinine. If I get fired because of what a coworker does, how does that have anything to do with my choices? Put reason before dogma. And you wondered why I called you an irrational moron in an earlier argument. If someone punched you in the face, would you consider it the result of your choices? I think not.

Mom:

Except for money, you seem so like Trump with your attitude and ridicule. Consequently, I simply consider the source. Lack of kindness brings negative karma.

How is it unkind to ask people to be rational? You sounded like Trump before, but I didn’t want to say it.

Mom:

From preschool on, everyone but you has been stupid and incompetent. You live in a world of fools so life for you is very difficult.

I showed this message to the guy doing the corrections, the aerospace engineer to which I referred earlier. It cracked him up when lazy girl whined to the project supervisor because I had said that she had farted in the chair he liked. It was a childish joke, but her telling the project supervisor and stewing about it was like kindergarten, and the project supervisor said so. She also said that she didn’t want the engineer using that particular chair. She didn’t give any particular reason. She had initially said that she didn’t like the chair, then clarified without any particular reason that she did not want him to use it. The engineer agreed that my mother’s claim that everything that happens in a person’s life is a result of their own choices is a ridiculous dogma. After all, an aerospace engineer working in a crappy low-level office job is hardly the result of individual choice.

I said the following to my mother in response:

This message exemplifies what a horrible mother you’ve been your entire life. If I get fired because my coworker breaks rules, it cannot rationally be my fault. Morons think Trump is a genius because he became a billionaire from a million and an NYC rental building. Reality is he’d have to be an idiot not to.

Mom:

I’m simply one of the many fools in your life. I hold you accountable for your actions, and you don’t like it. Everything wrong is always the other person’s fault. You are not responsible for anything happening in your life. It must be awful being a puppet!

Then [coworker’s name redacted] must be my puppet to you when she risks my job by refusing to work when we’ve been instructed we must work in pairs. If I do the work without her, I violate a direct order. You might as well blame workers for decreasing wages as their productivity increases.

Mom:

: It’s rare that a supervisor would fire a good worker when someone else is causing a problem. It’s unfortunate that you may be that rare case. I hope it doesn’t happen.

I replied:

She said we would both be gone if the problems continue.

Why is it that my supervisors make 90k with benefits with high school diplomas? Surely trying to get into white collar work with no education leads to homelessness. How about DOTmed: “You did what any rational human being would have done. The trouble is, Phil’s not rational.” [I won’t name the indirect supervisor who said this to protect him, although it was in the original text, but it’s not hard to find out.]

My mother then e-mailed me this:

Scott,

It is very sad to see how unhappy and afraid you are. Since happiness is “an inside job,” I know that only YOU can make the changes necessary to make yourself feel better.

It’s so easy to blame others for what is going wrong in our lives, but that really serves no purpose except to continue down a negative path. If one’s own attitude doesn’t change, nothing in the outer world will change either. The title of the book you intend to write will turn readers off. Most people realize that excuse making does not solve problems and gets you nowhere.

I just reread the correspondence that [redacted friend’s name] sent to me about you back in 2012. She was frustrated about your behavior: uncooperativeness, rudeness, and ungratefulness. By [redacted freidns name]’s words, I learned that I wasn’t the only one to be on the receiving end of your negative words and treatment.

Your behavior from preschool to the present day has been amazingly consistent, and that is the only reason I mentioned it. Unkindness has been your consistent way of treating others, and it has a boomerang effect. Unfortunately for you, unlike your childhood days, the problems you face now as an adult have serious and very unpleasant ramifications: no home, no job, no family, etc.

Please start being kind to yourself and others. It’s worth a try, since your negative way hasn’t been working well for you. You’ve been emancipated from your parents for over 22 years so blaming us or me for all of your current problems is unreasonable. You are in New York City because you decided to be there, and when your dad asked you to return to Indy, you told him no because you said you couldn’t get a job here. Obviously, New York isn’t much better.

Have you considered moving to another part of this country or the world where the cost of living isn’t the highest? To blame a city for genocide because of the high cost of the apartments there is ludicrous. Two of my favorite TV programs are House Hunters and House Hunters International in which purchases and rentals of property are sought. There are all kinds available at both the top and bottom ends of the scale, but it is clear that prices are extremely high in the New York City area. I’m surprised you didn’t know this.

Your experiences are the result of the choices you have made. Others have the same right to choose what they want to experience, and that includes me. Please don’t text me again if all you intend to do is to complain.

You are wished the very best today and always.

Love,
Mom

My response:

You are not being honest. Telling someone without a car and an ambulatory disability to move is asinine. [Why would it make sense for someone to move from where they have a job and don’t need a car to where they don’t have a job and need a car, particularly if they can’t be on their feet for long periods?] I am aware that housing is expensive in NYC, but the so-called progressive mayor is cutting deals to make it worse. Also, I find it very unlikely I would ever get a better job than what I have in a less expensive part of the country.

I’m sorry, but when the boss chooses to hold me accountable for what another employee does, it is irrational and imbecilic to blame my choices. I’m sorry you’re not intelligent enough to grasp logical reasoning.

[redacted friend’s name] expected me to get a smartphone for a job that would get me $100 a week if I were lucky. That is foolishness. I’m not sure why you can’t see that.

[redacted friend’s name] also told me not to worry about the debt to my former landlord, the one you paid, and I am very grateful to you for having paid. I still think the law should be changed and that they should be forced to return the money. [redacted friends’s name] has both real estate expertise and a law degree, so I relied on her for accurate information. She blocked me on Linkedin when I told her I was disappointed with her response–exact word used.

The friend in question spent much time homeless in another country without shelters with a mentally ill mother. She also has a volatile personality (As blocking me on LinkedIn when I said I was “disappointed” with her response) and is a recovering alcoholic. I’m not sure she is a very good example of a better-behaved, more credible person than I am.

Needless to say, much of what I said to her was said in anger–I went to her for support and got treated like garbage in return.

The following morning, I sent her this via a multitude of texts, what I thought was a calm and rational response to the discussion of the previous day:

Put more neutrally–When I tell people of the sweeping negative generalizations you make of me going that far back, others tell me that you are abusive, crazy, and unmotherly, foolish enough to believe that other people’s children never misbehave. When I tell people that you shared such negative things with your coworkers, they tell me that you have no discretion and have no idea how to behave in public. I learned from the best [hence this public posting]. I never condemn you when I tell people you won’t take in your disabled college graduate in a time when capitalists’ failure to pay a living wage has forced so many parents yo take in non-disabled offspring, but others say horrible things about you, and one of the nicer things they call you is an irresponsible parent. David [Friedman] says that I expect irrational people to have power over me because you made it normal, so I expect it. The reason you never heard about other parent’s kids misbehaving is because other kids’ parents knew better than to broadcast it or found it a humorous example of a kid being a kid. You even found fault with me when I got a standing ovation for singing in church. What the hell is wrong with you? David says, “The good parent’s response to a toddler making a mess is to get the camera. The bad parent attacks the child for being a child.” We both know you were the latter. [The only existing photo of me making a mess that I’ve ever seen is with a small piece of cake on January 2, 1977, my first birthday.] Just as in my 20s, you punished me when I went too long without a job interview or a temp assignment ended because of your failure to understand the world around you, like the time you took the computer away and made me take resumes in person to companies that weren’t even advertising for employees. Success rate: 0.0. Never made it past front desk security, who probably never delivered it to the right person.

Frankly, your support for Sanders stuns me. Editorials about millennials not leaving home because they are too lazy to get real jobs are more in keeping with how you’ve treated me. It’s not as though I want to live with someone who wants to keep a huge hierarchy between us. [For example, my mother would refuse to give me any kind of heads up when she was going to be home when at time she was normally at work, giving “It’s my house!” as her excuse for why she was not willing to do so in the future, while being exactly the opposite with me, constantly angry for coming home at all different times of day or night while I was in college and after.] Like Trump supporters, you seem to live in a fantasy land where well-paying jobs are available to those willing to do them. See Ivan Pereira’s article in the September 8 AM New York if you think $12.60 an hour is well-paying. Also see the article in The Washington Post about how there had been net zero job growth since December 1999, the very month on my bachelor’s degree. But, as you say, such problems are based on the choices of those worst hurt by them.

It is an irrational, dogmatic, imbecilic LIE to blame my homelessness on my choices. It is unkind in the extreme to gossip about me to your coworkers. You’ve been unkind to me my entire life, and “do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work with kids. Never has and never will. I simply asked you to stop your presumptuous, unkind, and foolish claims.

Thank you for the Easter card and check. Also thank you for telling me you perceived my words as unkind. I was lecturing you, but unkindness wasn’t the intent, didacticism was. It takes a really warped mind to construe a lecture on logical reasoning (from which you learned nothing) as “unkindness.” You’re the only one I know who considers Jim [my older brother] sending me a job description with “the ability to stand and walk for long periods of time” under “Requirements” “helpful.” I think you have a lot to learn about unkindness before accusing others of it.

I had no idea Jim sent you a job description so I could not have had a reaction to something I know nothing about. You have quite an imagination and ability to make up things. Please stop texting me.

Bull. This was years ago and erupted into a big argument because Jim thought my reply was obnoxious, and he forwarded it to you. You screamed at me on the phone that he was just trying to be helpful. No one I told agrees. Stop lying.

Mom:

The past is over. As a narcissist, you seem to think everything is about you. It isn’t. If what you say happened, the only one to remember is you. Please stop texting me.

Oh yeah. It’s so kind to call me a narcissist. You’re full of shit. I come to you because I see a blatant injustice, and you turn around and blame the victim.

The good news is that the lazy girl finally got a partner who is better at corralling so that I can do the work with other partners and not worry about her. Supervisor wanted two pairs, but Goodtemps sent some no-shows. She is not my replacement.

Mom:

I’m glad a change worked out for you. With all your blaming and protesting about everything and everyone, I’m glad something positive has finally happened.

You just love to blame the victim. This text has such a nasty tone.
If I’m a narcissist for remembering that, what does that make you for remembering the chapel incident at First Baptist? I don’t remember it–only you bringing it up repeatedly. I’m talking about something fewer than ten years ago, yours is 35+

You are pathologically unable to have happy memories about me. When I got a standing ovation for singing at church, you had only negative things to say.

You’re such a narcissist that you forget any incident that might make you look bad. You can’t let me forget such things.

I make no claims about what I have forgotten where you are concerned. But I do remember what I personally experienced, and much of that I would like to forget. I’m grateful for here and now. Have a happy Easter.

Most parents would be proud that their kid had started reading before preschool. Not you.

Only you knew that; not your parents. That’s news to me.

Of course you don’t. You don’t remember at all me telling you how the teachers pulled me from playtime to read Dick and Jane to them because I could. I found it boring and suggested other books from the shelves, but rarely did they let me. This was not normal, nor was this a punishment. They didn’t do it with any other kid, and it was always presented as a positive. If I really didn’t want to, they told me it was OK, but they usually persuaded me with flattering my intelligence. I once persuaded them to let me read from a book about elephants, but nix to Over the Rainbow, a storybook depicting part of The Wizard of Oz that I’ve never been able to identify. [I did a Google search for it as I typed this and could not find the book in question.] One time I found a Dick and Jane book with pictures of black kids and telling [sic] them the words were the same. I know you knew at the time because I remember griping to you about it because the book itself was so dull. I didn’t even know the title because it was always already open. It wasn’t Mrs. Cohen [the one in charge of the preschool]. I remember the faces but not the names of the teachers who had me do this. One was a younger lady with short red hair and large eyes. The other was an older, line-faced woman with curly hair and a long nose. It was always at the far left side of the building as you walk in [although it looks very different now, you can see the view I looked out on while sitting there here: http://peterrabbitschool.com/Peter_Rabbit/Preschool.html — The website shows that Mrs. Cohen still operates the school]. The curly-haired woman was there the longest, so I’m sure you saw her. She did a lot while Mrs. Cohen stepped back and supervised. The only kids whose names I still remember from preschool are Amy, David, Brent, Eli (who had curly red hair), Hayley, and Anya.

Sorry, but this is all news to me. You never read at home, and I wasn’t at preschool with you. I was, however called when you made a mess with maracas they wanted me to spank you because they couldn’t get you to behave using other discipline.

As you kept reminding me, and your first sentence is false. [Most of my memories of this incident are in the third person, so they cannot be authentic, only my imaginings of what was told to me. I remember puncturing a maraca made of styrofoam cups and masking tape to see what was inside, and the rice making a mess, and trying to hide that I had done it, and getting spanked, but the stories I remember being told depicted me gleefully shaking the contents of the maraca all over the floor, and got more and more exaggerated until I was laughing at being spanked, which definitely never happened.]

Of course that’s all you remember because you are pathologically wired toward the negative and wonder why you’re never happy.

I also remember when we learned about China and sat in the kitchen with bathroom cups [3 oz. paper cups] full of rice; I was the last holdout to switch from chopsticks to a spoon. The chopsticks were black and very wet. I know I would have told you this on the car trip home.

Mom:

Trip home?

When you picked me up from preschool. You obviously don’t remember them if you can’t remember my ability to read the text of picture books at a young age. You never remembered anything I told you about my days in school even though I took your requests to know quite literally until grade 3 or so.

It was more your fear of problems than me creating an inordinate number of them.

I remember your teacher crying and telling us she couldn’t teach with you in the class. That’s why you had to change schools.

That was 1st grade, and that was because I acted hostile when I was punished for complaining about Robbie Goodwin messing with headphone jacks. Then as now, you always gave my side of the story little if any weight and decided without any evidence that I was lying, then compounded your judgment of me with these supposed “lies.” [I remember my mother telling me repeatedly while in kindergarten and first grade that she had put me on a waiting list for the school to which I was transferred, but she has no memory of this. I remember her mentioning a “waiting list” and wondering what my weight had to do with it, but not asking.]

I was also dealing with your father being fired and fear about how we would survive. It was an awful time.

I know, and you took it out on me. I didn’t see Robert Goodwin again until high school, but I don’t recall any interactions. The incident was so vivid I can remember it was a record of “Rumpelstiltskin” and being convinced that the voice of the princess was the woman who was on The Electric Company as Jennifer of the Jungle, et al. [Judy Graubart–indeed it was; I just found it on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDiU2h25svA%5D.

I can’t remember you ever being happy, just complaining about me, Dad, Jim, or your bosses.

You sound like the ones who blame the deaths of Ramarley Graham and Eric Garner on the victims and exonerate the cops.

You don’t know me at all. You just think you. You are so mistaken. All you know are your projections about me. Thank you for living so far away. That’s a gift to both of us.

Your messages show you won’t know me at all, but you project your lies on me, claiming things you’ve forgotten did not occur. You said I made up about the job application and your involvement in it.

Don’t you ever live in the present? The past is over and the future doesn’t yet exist. Try living in the moment. It’s the only time where change can happen. Change your thinking, and you change your world. It’s a good cliché because it speaks the truth.

[Caught in a lie, she changes the subject.]

But this hypocrisy annoys me–you blame all your problems on others and fault me for doing so even when it is objectively correct for me to do so.

That is not what you did outwardly. I still don’t think it’s a good choice to major in your weakest subject because “demand.”

Since your words and behavior have been negative for so long, and they represent your thoughts, how can you expect a different outcome? People respond to what they experience. That’s why I would encourage you to be kind and thoughtful for your own sake. I want you to be happy most of all, but only you can make that happen.

Changing your thoughts doesn’t create job interviews or make landlords not not find you suspicious. I did not choose to have physical problems. Explain how I chose to graduate into the worst job market in 75 years.

Well, all fields are glutted, so don’t discount luck. It’s common to discard apps unopened these days, also nepotism. If an application is deleted unopened, how is that the result of the applicant’s choice?

How would one get this from a resume and well-written cover letter?

So when billionaires take my tax money to line their wallets and keep me homeless, I should shut up and blame myself?

Positivity toward evil brings more evil.

Mom:

That’s like saying light brings darkness. It doesn’t work that way. One candle can light many others, yet it doesn’t lose its own light.

I knew you would say that, but the analogy fails. It wasn’t saying children laboring in factories was OK that ended children laboring in factories. Saying government collusion with billionaire developers is OK is to encourage it.

Mom:

Government collusion with billionaires is NOT OK. That’s why I’m for Bernie Sanders.

We are not going to stop it by showing positivity. That is why I keep up the public posts calling the mayor a genocidal fascist. The mayor’s unaffordable housing scam passed City Council on Tuesday, in spite of opposition from 55 of 59 community boards and a couple hundred protesters outside City Hall, which just goes to show that “American democracy” is an oxymoron, just like Sanders has the popular vote but Hillary has more delegates.

Housing projects turned to shit because the government defunded them for wars of choice, but instead they blamed the tenants and tore many of them down only to replace them with “luxury” condos that are luxurious only in price. Even massive vacancy real estate is worth more than money. At the rate things are going, the majority of NYC is going to live in the very profitable shelter system and most luxury rentals will be vacant because wages are ridiculously low. Even lawyers are making only $20 an hour these days, less than is needed to live in the cheapest borough, the Bronx. This climate was chosen for us by the previous generation. Wake up!

If blaming gets you what you want, keep doing it. Unfortunately, it has a way of keeping the blamer mired in negativity. Since like attracts like, only more negativity developes [sic], and envelops the blamer. It is a vicious cycle until the blamer decides to make a change of mind and heart and realizes only a positive, loving attitude will bring the desired results. It takes mental work and courage to do this. Faith in Divine Energy and Infinite Intelligence called God also helps. I’m grateful that the teachings of A Course in Miracles helped me during difficult times. I hope you will find something that helps you.

It took three years of praying to God just to get a job I can actually do, but it neither pays a living wage nor is even close to what I want to do. Bow I have to pay $671 to to the government because they won’t allow me to defer my debt anymore. This will keep me homeless. I feel betrayed by MSDWT for telling me my entire life about the importance of a degree. The chaplains always pray with me that the job will utilize my talents and compensate me well. Still waiting on those parts.

Mom:

You have learned that life is hard. Ask any Syrian refugee forced to flee his country because of tyranny. This country has enormous problems as well, and you are learning first hand about them. Maybe being an activist is your calling.

I think so, but no one is paying me for it.

When you see jobs in activism on the internet, it’s canvassing, which pays poorly, and I am in no condition to do. That and non-profits are usually restricted by donors from attacking problems at the source.

No intelligent person fails to understand that the underlying cause of my homelessness is systemic failure, not personal failure.

Navient is demanding that I pay $671 per month for my student loans and says that all my deferments are exhausted. I make only $1440 a month after taxes. I contacted them a week ago to explain my situation, and have a confirmation number, but all I get are daily robocalls.

This conversation took place in late March 2016. On June 3, 2016, the aerospace engineer, the lazy girl, and the new girl, who has a degree in criminal justice, were all laid off. One of the regular employees, who also has a master’s degree, said that the managers telling us an afternoon before, and with our project supervisor on vacation, was “puerile” and demonstrative of their lack of any education past high school.

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2 Comments
  1. George Carlin permalink

    Wow I am stunned Navient is harassing you considering your situation! Is it better to simply not pay at all? (ofcourse your credit rating will take a hit forever)

    And if you want to earn extra cash on the side, have you looked at freelancing online at sites like Upwork? Won’t be your primary source of income but after an initial investment building reputation you can make decent pocket money on the side.

    Also are you interested in coding? If yes then you can learn a programming language (e.g. Python) on codeacademy.

    Wish you the best, your blog posts are interesting, I really hope you have a home soon.

    • Thank you for the compliments. Your suggestions are not bad, but they fail to take into account the limited computer access that caused it to take three months to finish one blog post that was mostly typing up preexisting text.

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