So I was tromping up the stairs last night to the third floor bedroom where I’d been staying at my mothers in Portsmouth for the weekend. To be clear, Alex and I are not lovers. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. It’s just, people mistake us sometimes for a married couple. I remember once a Best Buy sales clerk asked us, “How’d you make out” and Alex shouted “We don’t!” When he stormed off I said reassuringly: “He gets cranky sometimes when he hasn’t eaten.” From my perspective, I was making it better.
Alex was trailing me half way up the stairs when he says:
“Hey, did you bring your charger with you?”
I said to him exhaustedly:
“No its not with me.”
He let’s out a grumpy puff of air.
“Why don’t you ever remember to bring your charger with you!?”
I’m coming to understand these Alexisms as things to be brushed off. Laughed at. Ignored. I was being trailed, by a contagious vibration of irony. It was running to the front of me like a current that feeds a wave. He continued. And when a brief pause arrived, finally, I replied to him with the calmest of logic.
“Alex, are you kidding me!? You forgot your charger too. Why are you so mad?”
He was mad because I should have brought my own charger when I left the house this morning. See, I planned to sleep over moms and he didn’t. He continued.
“Why are you so unprepared all the time?”
I was feeling irritated by Alex’s logic. The wave finally hit me and when I stood myself back up, I resorted to loud sounds and swearing. It was 12:00am in the full and tired house, when I told him:
“This isn’t the first time you’ve randomly slept over here and forgot your charger. Why didn’t you just bring your own fucking charger? Keep one in your truck!?”
“How am I irresponsible?” I slurred at him.
“YOU took my charger! He replied.
Took is a strong word. His shag wagon broke down a few months back and I waited after work in a parking lot for a tow-truck to come. I waited because, in spite of his douchebaginess, Alex is my friend. And also, because the tow service was under my Triple A account. That night Alex took the charger from his truck and put it into my truck… this is where his charger now lives.
“There is a charger in my truck” I said, mid conversation. “Go grab it.”
This, unfortunately, was not an opportunity for Alex to find resolve in this fact, but to throw down his cards and to call me a liar:
“WHY DIDNT YOU JUST SAY THAT WHEN I ASKED YOU!?”
He was stomping around the carpet in his underwear. I was laying on the bed adjacent to his, staring at the ceiling as if was going to fucking head-butt it, but refusing to move, it was thin air I was nodding at.
“You didn’t give me the chance to think about it” I said. “You just jumped right into insulting me”.
At this point, Alex had now changed his entire argument trajectory. I mean, could you blame him? The old one was dead. I had a charger.
“Why wouldn’t you just say ‘It’s in my truck’!?” He yelled.
Now he was psychoanalyzing my responses!? How should I have responded? What was the right way to answer his question? Direct and forward. His way.
I switch our responses in my mind. I ask myself: shouldn’t HE have paused, showed restraint and accepted that I was as equally unprepared as him? Only afterwords to have been- pleasantly surprised- that when I finished the thought he would have had a solution to his problem.
OR was he right to of taken the cynical route: Carl is a dirty liar, wont give me a straight answer, doesn’t want to help his friend out.
OR perhaps, the thinking is: Carl is to slow to answer the question in the direct way I desire, he’s just teasing me, withholding information, I’m tired, why is he teasing me!? Blah blah blah.
It doesn’t matter really. Alex continued with me for 5 more minutes. Me shouting over him. Him over me. Noise. Loud noises. Alex says
“You always think your so logical!”
I tell him he’s being an idiot, go get the fucking charger.
Midway through the bustle, Sean, tired Sean, snuck his way up the stairs to interrupt the argument.
“Hey, you guys need a charger!?”
Yes! Alex exclaimed in aggravation.
“Thank’s bud” I offered. While Sean slunk his way back down the stairs, we both sat awkwardly next to each other…chuckling in silence.