Thursday, January 20, 2011

1/20 - Up the Down Staircase

Some of the comments from Monday about the question of a retroactive confession of cheating have really depressed me. I suppose I'm just alien; it has almost never happened, but when I was last cheated upon (by someone even more torn apart by misery and guilt than the LW in question) my one strong or lasting instinct was to comfort him and to make sure he was thoroughly comforted and back to normal before holding a discussion about all the ramifications and what to do in future. All the prognostications of fury depress me, as do the claims that the husband in question had not maintained his end of the bargain. [See: Spencer, Diana] My take on the situation of the LW in particular is that she wants the friend with whom she cheated back in her life as a friend, and she thinks that confessing her transgression will get her over her guilt enough to allow her to reopen the friendship, even if she genuinely means not to slip again. I advise Divorce.

On the positive side, Kim Clijsters has perhaps set a new standard for how to treat questions of a Particular Nature. Interesting that Rennae Stubbs showed KC the message from Todd Woodbridge to begin with, but it seems to have ended all as a bit of good fun.

This week we visit Calvin Coolidge High School.

L1: This letter would certainly have more impact had it been written by H1 instead of LW1. There are two main issues. How much foundation does LW1 have for her claims against MIL1's sanity? As a side line, one might wonder what H1 and his brothers have been doing propping up their mother in all her delusional insanity for all their lives. Then there is the matter of how much justification if any MIL1 had for contacting the authorities about suspected baby abuse, and what she has done since she has been proved to be in error. There are ways in which people act when their conduct has been doubtful that demonstrate responsibility. From what we have to go on thus far, MIL1 is not acting in such a manner.

At least LW1 and H1 are sufficiently in accord to stick to their agreement, but why is H1 continuing to mope so? What does it matter which side of the family supplies any grandparents worthy of being known? And why would H1 continue to mope if MIL1 continues to behave in an outrageous way, making increasingly unreasonable demands? Something is just off.

I cannot see LW1 as Miss Barrett, the protagonist in UtDS, for all her railing against the insanity of the system. She might be the embittered Mr Barringer, Miss Barrett's fellow English teacher, who cannot treat a student in love with him with common decency. MIL1 might at a stretch be the battered Linda Rosen, who, asked by Miss Barrett if she can do anything for her, asks if Miss B can arrange for dancing in the cafeteria. But I think I settle for H1 as a cross between the school nurse, who cannot touch a wound or remove foreign particles from the eye and must accordingly settle for giving Linda Rosen a cup of tea, and the guidance counselor, Miss Friedenberg, who might have served as a role model for sound bite politicians. In her zeal, Miss F can produce at a pinch a Pupil Personality Profile for every student in the school with all his/her teachers' Capsule Characterizations, producing with pride about a thimbleful of empty generalization by way of insight into the characters and troubles of the members of Miss Barrett's class.

The solution to LW1's situation is simple enough: Divorce. C1 do not really see eye to eye. H1 is yielding to his wife now, but he will soon resent doing so.

Moral: "You have devoted... a whole generation of time to this work, haven't you?"

L2: The Prudecutor is at her most irritating. It may be reasonable to assume that meeting and marrying LW2 might be the best thing that ever happened to H2, but there may well be other things that have happened to H2 that could well vie for the honour, or at least sufficiently appear so to do as to make it unwise to make the bold declaration advocated by the Prudecutor. And it is a bit much for the Prudecutor to be so aggressive in her assertion that C2 have done Nothing Wrong when it is clearly a point of conduct that anyone could have predicted would have been considered questionable by the small-minded in a conservative community. Do we even know for sure that LW2 objects only to what she perceives to be entirely unjustified and malicious attacks, or whether what stings ios that some part of her inner self is not entirely convinced she has in this matter acted in strict accordance with the dictates of her own moral code. Personally, I'd be inclined to be content with congratulating C2 on beating the odds against rebound romances. Then again, I know so little of religions that I cannot pronounce with the glib assurance of the Prudecutor that it is ridiculous to disapprove of a separated but not yet divorced person dating or boinking. Religions contain many prejudices with which one might disagree while allowing that, given the basic premise of the faith group involved, a particular prejudice X or Y is understandable.

It might help to know whether LW2 entered into the campaign as an ostrich, or whether this particular race is an exception to the usual manner in which local politics tend to be conducted there. Is this the first race in which the incumbent has run a negative campaign, or one reaching so far as the personal lives of opposing candidates? I am almost inclined to guess that LW2 just did not foresee the campaign taking this particular turn, and that she is basically at peace therefore with her own conscience, but cannot be certain.

LW2 does seem to fit Miss Barrett's model, that of the innocent fumbling in the unexpectedly complex arena into which she finds herself drawn, coming to the brink of surrender, but just in time embracing her situation. Not a bad role model for a Candidate's Wife. LW2 could choose worse.

As to what C2 ought to do, one potential idea is to run on the truth, own what they have done, acknowledge that some people will vote against H2 accordingly, respectfully disagree with the wisdom of such a vote on such a basis, and perhaps reap a reward in a harvest of votes from those who choose to stand against prejudice. Then again, such a plan might not be feasible in their community. But it is possible.

Another course, and the one I prefer, is either a sham or a real divorce. A pretence of yielding to community standards might serve H2. However, given the odds against toppling a popular incumbent, however bad the local economy, I am inclined to favour a genuine divorce. Either H2 is as green as LW2, in which case he ought to have had better sense than to offer himself up as the sacrificial lamb, or he (or at least his party operatives) had some sense of the questions that would arise and did not enter the race on condition of dropping out at the first sign of LW2's discomfort. She doesn't care for the attention she's barely started to receive, and he's a real soldier. Not a match. Note that LW2 only mentions that she is considering asking him to drop out, despite her acknowledgment of the time and effort invested in the candidacy already. There is no hint that he has actually offered to drop out if she so desires. That may make a genuine divorce quite reasonable.

Moral: "Just walk slowly and think of the odds, 18 to 6."

L3: How has such a robot as LW3 actually managed to have an emotional relationship in the first place? It's easy enough to see why he's divorced, but I feel rather deprived, as I now cannot advise him to take such action. He has preceded me. On the other hand, it is interesting to encounter a male legal version of Dr Lilith Sternin Crane.

In his defence, at least he does not intend to boink more than one partner concurrently. And given that he has shown the ability to have sex with the same partner ten times while being willing to undertake an eleventh, we might even infer possible longevity for an individual partner. It would be interesting to delve into his relationship with partners who happened not to be age-appropriate - or would that be mean-spirited?

As I cannot tell LW3 to divorce when he has already done so and intends never to wed again, I can only advise him to date professionals with top-grade references. Who would be more likely to be more careful to guard against nasty litle diseases?

LW3's parallel in UtDS seems rather clearly to be the bureaucratic vice principal, Mr McCabe, who has neither vision nor insight nor compassion, but can be relied upon to uphold rules to the best of his considerable ability.

Moral: "It's the sound of thinking."

L4: A curious situation, which I can only compare to Mr Barringer's receipt of a love letter from Alice Blake. How does one cope? He didn't choose a clever method, opting to go over it line by line with the poor girl as if it were a poorly composed homework assignment. She ended by jumping out the window of his classroom some time afterwards.

Moral: "A love letter..." "Which I corrected for grammar and spelling and returned to the student..."

1 comment:

  1. Bleah! I forgot to advise LW4 to Divorce and then remarry about a year after the date of the original uncashable check. Invite the reluctant rewriter to the second wedding and then there ought to be a second check - perhaps not quite in the same amount.