I’ve alluded to the fact before that I don’t particularly care to listen to NPR, but that’s actually not quite true: I do actually like NPR, especially This American Life (when I remember to listen to it).
What I hate about it mostly is that it reminds me of Nat.
Now, I’ve listened to NPR before I met Nat, my parents alternate between this station and the classical music station, and anyone who has been to my parents house knows that the radio is always on. Truth be told, I never minded it. I like the commentaries, I like the programs, I like to make fun of the way that the people speak (a la SNL’s Shweaty Balls sketch), and it’s usually pretty interesting.
I’m no longer in the car for 4 hours a day, so when I am, I prefer to rock out to some real music rather than listen to talk radio. Besides, music drowns out my kids, talking will not.
But back in the day when I dated Nat, he listened to NPR like it was his job. And for awhile, it pretty much WAS his job. He’d gotten laid off and refused to find another interim job while he searched for another Help (less) Desk job. My sympathy was non-existent considering I was in nursing school full time and worked as a waitress to buy insurance, formula and diapers for Ben.
Anyhow, back to the story.
One of his favorite insults to throw in my face was that I lacked a “social conscience,” which never made much sense to me, considering even though I sucked at it, I was going to nursing school to care for the sick. Whereas he worked as a Help(less) desk pion at a company that manufactured garage door openers.
You be the judge of who lacked a social conscience.
Since I didn’t listen to NPR religiously, preferring to listen to stuff in the car that, oh, I don’t know, KEPT ME AWAKE SO I DIDN’T FALL ASLEEP AND KILL PEOPLE WHILE I DROVE, I obviously didn’t give a shit about the world.
He’d like to impart on me all of the terrible awful things that were wrong with the world, and then become inflamed when I told them that I didn’t need to hear them. Sure, he liked to TALK about these horrible things, but that’s all he really did: talk.
And as for me, I’d prefer not to rally against things and despise the world for being such a shitty place unless I was planning to do something to make it better. Of course I could sit around talking about how fucking sad it is that a famine is killing people in (insert country here) but unless I’m going to start organizing food and sending it over to (insert country here) I don’t need to be depressed about it. The world is a very depressing place if you look at things in one light, and if you look at it in another you’ll see that it’s also a very wonderful place.
Nat didn’t get that. He assumed that I would bury my head in the sand because I obviously didn’t care at all, and took any opportunity to tell me what a terrible person I was for this.
Now remember this: Nat didn’t really have a leg to stand on when it came to intellectual discussions. Although he’s a smart enough guy (his parents are both physicists) he barely graduated high school. His main aspiration in life is to talk loudly about stuff and do nothing good about it at all. He’s a veritable bag of hot air.
His ideas aren’t bad ones, recently he told me how he and his friend were talking about building some solar panels for a house (Nat lives in an apartment with his brother), but I guarantee you, I SWEAR ON ALL THAT IS CHANEL, it will never go past the talking stage. Ever.
Nat is a judgmental bag of wind.
Take for example a simple conversation that I am reenacting from memory for your pleasure:
Becky: “I love those Nissan Pathfinders.”
Nat: “How dare you?!?”
Becky: “Especially in yellow. I usually hate yellow cars.”
Nat: “You’re such a fucking bitch!”
Becky: “What the FUCK are you talking about?”
Nat: “DO YOU KNOW WHAT SUV’S ARE DOING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?”
Becky: “Dude, you drive a V-8 Crown Victoria. Is that somehow different?”
Nat: “YOU HAVE NO SOCIAL CONSCIENCE!”
Becky: “You do remember this car that you’re driving isn’t exactly fuel efficient, right? It gets what, 16, 18 MPG? HIGHWAY?”
Becky: “Besides, I said I LIKED them, not that I was going to BUY one.”
Nat: “YOU BETTER NEVER BUY AN SUV, BECKY. Did you hear about the earthquake?”
Trust me, if you want more mini-plays, HOLLER. You’ll especially like the one about…OH I CAN’T RESIST. ONE MORE, ONE MORE FOR MY INTERNET LOVERS!
(scene, Becky and Nat take baby Ben to the doctor for his 6 month check-up. The doctor has just berated Becky for starting Ben on solids before 6 months, something Nat has yelled at her about before. This is the car ride back to drop Ben and I off at my parents house)
Nat: “I can’t believe you started him on solids so young. I TOLD you it was a bad idea.”
Becky: “I thought he was such an asshole because he was hungry.”
Nat: “I TOLD YOU IT WAS A BAD IDEA, DID YOU HEAR WHAT THE DOCTOR SAID?”
Becky: “Eh. Whatever. Not a big deal.”
Nat: “IT’S A VERY BIG DEAL, WHAT IF HE GETS ALLERGIES AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!”
Becky: “Bwahahahahahahah” (wipes tears) “bwahahahahahhaha”
Nat starts driving erratically because he’s now furious that I’m laughing at him. Keep in mind the baby is in the backseat here, and driving erratically is far more dangerous than solid foods.
Nat (through clenched teeth): “Oh GREAT, Becky. You’re possibly killing the baby with cereal and you think it’s funny? DO YOU?”
Nat then squeals his tires into my driveway, I hop out, pull Ben out, and Nat storms off furiously, leaving a trail of burned rubber on the street directly in front of my house. It joins the rest of the patches of burned rubber.
Now, this makes Nat sound more dangerous than he really is. He’s a douche-bag for sure, and he’s pretty abusive towards me, but the situations are always funnier than they appear.
And you know what the moral of the story is?
BEN IS THE MOST HEALTHY KID I KNOW. And Nat is still the same douche-bag.