Although this does not explain my two week hiatus from SteemIt — that’s due strictly to a boatload of work and off-campus expeditions that have dominated my schedule — I’ve also been debating as to what I should write about, as I have a lot on my mind lately and not a lot of time to organize it all properly. So let’s talk about Billy today.
For the record… I have been purposely ambiguous about a few details regarding my personal life. I’ve given enough information to show that I am (1) not a robot and (2) protecting the privacy of my family members who do not want to their lives put out onto the ‘Net in a more casual manner.
But my name is not Billy. Nor is it William. While there are a good number of Williams throughout all of history, I can assure you that I bear not the name of:
- William the Conqueror
- William Shakespeare
- William McKinley
- William Shatner
- William H. Macy
- William Perry
As much as many of these famous men are pretty awesome, for good, bad, stupid, or terrible hairpieces, I am not a member of their First Name Club. Please bear that in mind as we proceed.
Recently, my grandmother was the victim of some sort of Internet hijacking scam. Being that she is prideful, and that our interactions regarding computers have, in the past, been less than positive (https://steemit.com/computers/@phoenix32/the-traumas-of-a-former-it-professional IT Tale of the Day Number 2). Honestly, the usual exchange was either one of two of the following options:
OPTION #1 - “You have to come over right now and drop everything right now and come and help right now because it is an emergency and this thing just broke!” Well, realistically, there is no way that, as a reasonable adult with a career and/or graduate school and seminary studies, I could possibly put my entire life on hold right then and there and fix something. That is just unrealistic and downright impossible. So when I would try to schedule a time, say, within the next week, it was met with the response: “Well why can’t you come out right now?” I don’t know… Maybe because I am 30 miles away at work?
OPTION #2 - “You have to come over right now because the computer has not been working for three weeks, and now we need it for something for tomorrow, and we didn’t want to call and inconvenience you — wait, what do you mean you cannot just cancel your business trip across the country tomorrow and come help us?”
So naturally, it was always my fault that I could not help exactly when they wanted the assistance. A damn shame, really, as I still managed to help them with all sorts of techie-tom-foolery. In my aforelinked post regarding their most recent computer, I briefly outlined how I set them up with a Windows XP VirtualBox client on a Linux-based host system so that they could stay with Windows XP on a machine that was designed for Windows 7. Eventually, we went to Windows 7, and there it stayed until Tuesday last week. Fortunately, it was the day after April Fool’s Day, so it was nice to know that this was not an elaborate prank. Unfortunately, in the course of the Internet scam, the guy to whom she gave free and unrestricted access to the computer managed to do something bad and fry out the Motherboard.
OK, so William and me. I’ve gone out of my way for them as much as realistically and humanly possible without compromising my ability to maintain employment. It has cost me in relationships sometimes, as it brings stresses and frustrations and whatnot. But imagine doing all of this for people who did not bother to learn your name after you were born…
This is the tl;dr version of a conversation that my mother had with my grandmother (her mother-in-law) regarding a visit that was to take place when I was still an infant.
Gma: So when everyone gets together, are you getting a sitter or are you bringing Older-Son and William?
Mom: I'm sorry, who?
Gma: Older-Son and William.
Mom: I'm not following. Who is William?
Gma: Your younger son, William.
Mom: His name isn't William, it's @phoenix32.
Gma: What? No, his name is William.
Mom: I know what your son and I named our children, and he is not William, he is @phoenix32.
You can imagine how much that stung my mother, the realization dawning from a very early stage that her younger son - and the subsequent children - would be receiving the fuzzy end of the lollipop from her in-laws. Now, you might be asking yourself, "Why would @phoenix32's mom want to tell him about this sort of thing? Wouldn't that just drive a further wedge?"
Now... Take a moment and ask yourself about your relationship with your grandparents, should you have been fortunate to have a good and healthy relationship with any grandparents in your family. If you can honestly say that you had experienced nothing but happiness and joy with them, then, without jealousy, I congratulate you and ask you to consider yourself blessed. And if your relationship with them sucked, well... you really don't have to read on much more. Honestly. As for why Mom decided to tell me about it, it was because I was lamenting to her that, at a young age, I noticed a disparity between the way that my grandparents treated me and my younger siblings as opposed to my older brother, and how they treat me and all of my siblings as opposed to my cousins. My grandmother used to do something that we called "Counting M&M's" - making sure that, on paper, everything appeared to be equal. That was her tool for convincing herself of the veracity of her head canon. Mom's decision to tell me of that event - and so, so many others like it - was due to the fact that she knew that I needed a reason to break off a clearly one-sided relationship in the best way that I could. The problems were that: (1) I still had to see my grandparents and spend time with them; (2) to a pre-pubescent/adolescent, cutting off a relationship means a separation; (3) I was trying to be a good and forgiving Christian as best as my pre-pubescent/adolescent mind could fathom; (4) I also knew how my older brother did not see much of any of this at the time, and for years he never understood why my relationship with them was rubbish.
So every now and then, as in the last two weeks, when the stress level gets high, the pressure is on, the kettle is whistling, the roast is getting burned, the bacon is on fire, and the cookies are scorched on the bottom, I find myself ready to call it a day. And that’s when Billy needs a time-out. I have literally posted this as a status on social media when I am just feeling in over my head. And what usually puts me in over my head? Going out of my way for family members who did not even bother to learn my actual name when I was born and insisted that my own mother did not even know her son’s name.
Right now, while I have the hard drive from her fried computer plugged into a dock and hooked up to a Linux box so that I can safely check through the browser search history and events and logs on the system… in the midst of the last days of the semester… with Holy Week and Easter looming… knowing that my classmates and I have gone for a few extra weeks longer than last year without a sizable break… and the realization that final exams are waiting for us upon our return… I made my way out to help her.
I have to wonder what I am thinking every time that I respond to the calls to help her. This one came from my Godmother, so I was more apt and ready to respond; even still, I usually just go and do and diagnose and fix. There usually is not a thought behind it, and now I kinda have to wonder why I have spent time and energy for people who honestly did not care. Maybe, if I get the call again, I will pause for a moment and really analyze what I am thinking when I am so ready and agreeable.
But for now, Billy needs a time-out.