Saturday, September 16, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

My Manifesto 

Today's Isaac's 14th birthday. Count it! This kid is taller than me now, and his voice has broken. I'm going over later to celebrate his birthday with him. It's probably going to be a Gamecube 4-player fest with his classmates, Jon, Jim and I. Mom's using this as an opportunity for her friends to throw her a "going away party" because she's scheduled to travel in luxury for the next little while. Just so we're clear, mom's throwing herself a going away party and inviting her friends. She says it's because her friends were talking about giving her one. Sure. Whatever.

This will be the last time I see mom before she leaves on Monday. This being the case, I'm supposed to come to this party with a gift for dad. His birthday was in August. The story surrounding this is kinda complicated so I'll do my best to relate it as succintly as possible.

I forgot dad's birthday - plain and simple. I was running around trying to get my application into the University of Melbourne, freaking out about whether I would be able to pay for it in the event that I don't receive an an adequate scholarship (or indeed a scholarship at all...). I was mired in a job search, simultaneously worrying about when I could get myself out of this apartment (read about my accepting the apartment here) because my dad finally revealed that the only reason I was offered the apartment is because he saw that Jim and I evidently are unable to support ourselves without resorting to living in dangerous hellholes and not (as I assumed) because he was accepting of our relationship and my status as a person unto myself. Oh and that we would continue living in dumps because Jim's a loser that I should dump because I could do better.

FYI, just so we're clear, Jim and I have made it a point to live in nice neighbourhoods, large apartments (the last place was twice as big as the one I'm living in now) and most importantly, we've been able to afford the luxuries that matter to us, like satellite TV, which we had to give up to move to this place. His argument for "Jim's a loser" goes something along the lines of: "Oh c'mon Jo! He can't even stand on his own two feet!" I suppose supporting me through the last three years of my post secondary education counts as being unable to stand on one's own two feet. Ah! Dad counters, "Yah, but he's working at a dead end job - I mean his dad is still working at that job like that right?" (1) Jim's job = steady income when we needed it. Now that he's free to go back to school, he's already registered to get out of there. (2) Brian's job is as a CNC machinist something you need to hold a degree to do. It's a highly skilled position that is incredibly in demand in N. America (and in most other parts of the world, as I understand it). See the problem with dad is that he isn't interested in listening to me, or even looking at situation I am in. He'd rather stick by his impressions which he has formed by being out of the country for most of the year (and not really interacting with me while I am around). So I don't want to live in his apartment, because it's just reinforcing his notion that I need him to get along, even though I thought I've proven that I'm already able to just fine. Oh and while he was busy forming opinions with no real basis, he has decided that he really hates Jim. As a result, his followers (i.e. mom and her parents) have also decided to dislike Jim on the grounds that he is a stupid loser.

I digress. So I forgot it was dad's birthday, mom was trying to get in touch with me because she was throwing a surprise party for him (mom on a subsequent guilt trip: "You know, he was really disappointed that you weren't there. He wanted to see you, and just you, you know what I mean." - In case you don't "know what she means" she meant that Jim wasn't invited.) but I didn't get her voicemail until two days later (which is not an excuse, it is something that happens with my service provider). y grandad calls me the next day and in a voice that you would use only with the extremely sick or dying says, "do you know yesterday's date?" Ahh fuck. So I call dad and pretend that I think I'm calling on his birthday and that it wasn't that I forgot but really that because I had just returned from a Trans-Pacific trip that I had my dates mixed up. I thought that was adequate. My grandparents however, seem to think that I owe my dad a birthday present.

Seriously, what the fuck do you get for a guy who has everything? On a month where you just dropped $900 on strata council fees for an apartment he owns? FYI, I only got $60 from him for -my- birthday. In case anyone's counting, 60 x 15 = 900. Apparently though, I should still get him something "yi si, yi si only", because that's what a "good daughter" would do. I think my grandma's exact words (translated from Hokkien) is that "like that then is a good daughter" - implying that I wouldn't be one otherwise. Needless to say, despite the fact that today is the last day I can hand mom a gift for dad's birthday, I haven't bought anything. Nor do I intend to. He's a big enough bastard on his own without my approval.

So my manifesto:

My actions and behaviour are held only to my own standards and no one else's. I will be the sole determining entity when it comes to value judgements such as being a "good daughter" and a "good person". Contrary to the popular belief that is floating around, blood ties do not obligate me to anything. Even dogs can fuck. If parents or anybody else for that matter wants to invoke an arbitrary relationship as reason for me to treat them better than I would others who have treated me as they have, they can go fuck themselves. Or some dogs, their choice. Nobody who doesn't treat me nice gets treated nice by me. All of you (you know who you are) who treat me nice, you are welcome to use my newfound employee discount on books. So there.

posted by Joie! at 1:08 p.m.


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