The Tale of Fired Fried Clams
The last posting was kind of vague, so I hope this one clears some things up. The “something,” The News that I was referring to in my last post was that my dad lost his job, an event that has and will continue to affect my family in adverse ways.
I alternate between emotions of anger, sadness, and all out curl-up-in-a-fetal-position-and-disconnect-from-the-worldness. Then there is a part of me that’s all Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, “As God is my witness, they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk…As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” *(Readers should note I have never actually seen Gone with the Wind, and I apologize if I am misquoting)* Then there is the other side of me that just shakes her head and says “We’re screwed.”
Sunday, my aunt took my mom and me out to lunch to thank us for watching her house while she was in Florida for the Winter. She said I could pick the restaurant since I have a gluten allergy and would know which place offers gluten-free. I chose Jake’s in Hull. Now, to those not familiar with the area, Jake’s is a seafood place, a tradition that in the Spring marks goodbye to Winter, and a tradition in the Summer that is a staple memory for many.
Last Saturday, I got to thinking about what impact my dad losing his job has on my family. Truthfully, I can’t see the severity of the impact; I can only fortify my psyche against the devastating effects. I did realize something, and that something is that our lifestyle will dramatically change. And as I realized this, what possessed me wasn’t anger; it was rage. A little less than two years ago, my lifestyle as well as that of my family changed when I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue Disease. Now, our lifestyle has to change again.
One of those changes is that we can no longer partake in the tradition of Jake’s. We didn’t get it often because that would be too expensive, but we used to sometimes get it during the Spring/Summer months, usually as takeout, and drive to the beach and watch the waves as we ate our food. It hit me that we wouldn’t be able to do that anymore, and when I did, I told my mom I would tell my aunt to meet us at Jake’s, knowing this was our only chance to eat there.
During conversation, my mom told my aunt about my dad losing his job. My aunt was sympathetic, telling us how sorry she was and how confident she was that it would all work out. I noticed something odd, however. Whenever the subject was brought up, my aunt would quickly change the subject. I told my mom about this after we left, and she agreed. “A lot of people react like that. They don’t want to really talk about it, or think about it, or even really understand it, because it’s a pretty bummer topic.”
I get it. I mean, none of my friends know what’s been going on, and it would be a pretty awkward conversation to have with them:
Friend: Hey, how’s it going?
Me: Good. How’s it going with you?
Me: What’s been going on? I haven’t talked to you in a while.
Friend: *tells me what’s been going on in their life* How about you though? What’s new with you?
Me: Oh, nothing, just grad school. *tells them about grad school stuff in detail* Oh, and my dad got fired.
Everyone’s “shoulders” are not created equally. Some are rocks; you can cry, you can unload all your personal drama onto them, and with a few exceptions, they can handle whatever crap you throw at them. Others, they mean well, but there is a limit to their deep end; try going past that point, and you might as well be trying to swim through a concrete wall. There are still others who don’t know how to deal whatsoever. You tell them somber news, and they suddenly become very cautious around you in a way that makes you feel like on some level they are questioning your mental/emotional stability.
But back to the clams. As we were sitting in the restaurant, talking, I thought to myself: these are good clams; and after today, I’m good without fried clams. Because as upset as I am about this epic suckfest that is happening to my family, I don’t care that much about fried clams or any of the other tradition, food related or otherwise, that we now have to give up. All I want to do is to somehow develop supernatural powers to be able to shield my family from the badness and make the bad stuff go away. Since I don’t see that happening any time soon, I can use my human powers of awesomeness and survival to do what I can for my family. And pray. Lots, and lots of praying.