Thursday, November 8, 2012

Soap Opera

“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns; things we do not know we don’t know.”
                                                                                               – former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld

I read these words of Donald Rumsfeld, and the words make me wonder: Why’d you leave out the unknown knowns, Don? The things that we do not know that we know?

That’s what this blog post is all about. Unknown knowns.

I have this friend, you see. He is completely and utterly blind. White cane, dark glasses. The whole bit. Can’t see shadows. Can’t even see bright lights. He got in a wreck back when he was a kid and that part of his brain that does the visual thing, well, it got all scrambled.

But here’s the thing: If I say, “Hey, friend! I am about to throw a ball at you. Catch it!”  don’t you know that he catches it, oh, roughly seventy-five percent of the time. Or if he doesn’t manage to catch it, he at least slaps it away with his hand.

That’s weird!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Katy! What’s gotten into you? Throwing balls at blind people?”  And normally I would say you had a point, but please stick with me here for a moment.
You see (no pun intended), there are TWO parts of your brain that process visual information, but only one of them goes through your cerebral cortex – that part of the brain that got all scrambled in my friend. The other part – the other route – is a much older part of the brain. Primitive! It perceives raw movement. It warns the fly or the frog or my friend that something or someone is approaching, and fast. The fly or the frog or my friend won’t be able to tell WHAT is approaching it fast, but it will allow him to get the hell out of the way in time.

This is known as “blind sight,” and it is an unknown known. My friend’s brain sees something’s flying at him, but he doesn’t know that his brain sees it.

Our brains, you see… Well, our brains have been keeping secrets from us.

*           *           *           *           *

My wife left me back on August the twenty-third, one day after I turned twenty-seven. There was no explanation; she simply left. And I was all alone and I was sad, but I was not depressed, and life seemed to trudge onward.

Nobody called. Nobody stopped by to see me.

And I found myself unable to read, and everything I wrote came out stupid: all couches and tube socks and baby seals and herpes. I felt exhausted most all of the time, and I would lie in bed picking out shapes in the spackle on the ceiling. And I started getting headaches, and I would wake up suddenly in the night with a feeling that I had been at the cusp of some great revelation, but I’d never remember anything about it.
And still, nobody called. And still, nobody stopped by to see me.

Desperate for company, I finally went to the dentist. My dentist will always agree to see me. And my dentist sat me in his chair and he hooked me up to the gas. Nitrous oxide gas. Laughing gas.

While my dentist jackhammered away at my teeth, I stared up at a pretty blue pattern on his ceiling. Then the pattern started to move. And then the pattern became sort of a puzzle. Then the pieces of this puzzle started rearranging and locking themselves into place.

Over the smell of burning enamel, a single thought occurred to me, and that thought was this: My brain had been working away at a puzzle for months now, but it had not bothered to tell me. My brain had been working away, day and night, at the puzzle of why my wife had left me.

And my brain had figured it out.

Why my wife left me was an unknown known. It was something I did not know that I knew!

After my dentist got finished with chipping away what was left of my teeth, then this happened: I walked out into the hall. I took out my cell phone. I placed a call to Anthony, who is my brother.

He did not answer. I left a voice mail for Anthony. I said two words. I said, “I know.”

And Anthony, he texted me back right away. He said, “How did you figure it out?”

I texted him, “I do not know how I know.”  This was the truth. I did not know how I knew, but I did.

Anthony texted me, “Sorry, Katy.”
What had happened was this: My brain figured out that my wife had left me for my twin brother, but my brain waited a few weeks before it told me. Even then, it required a half hour breathing nitrous oxide for me to trick the information out.

My brain solved a puzzle I did not even know was there.

Maybe it was simply trying to protect me. Who knows? Maybe I hold vast vats of pure unadulterated wisdom in my brain that I do not have ready access to! But either way, the cat was out of the bag, and things were not ever going to be the same.

My wife left me for my twin brother.

My wife left me for my twin brother, who – quite conveniently – she’d married in March 2011, thanks to my genius Double Bigamy (All the Way)  idea.

This changed everything, and frankly, it probably would have been better off as an unknown unknown; something I did not know that I did not know.

But now that I do know… Now that I do…

(to be continued...)

75 comments:

  1. Ya know (no pun intended), I worried about things when she went to church. I thought Jesus would be home wrecker, again. On the other hand you have some serious Game of Thrones plot happening.

    But in all seriousness, I send you all the lesbian processing magic I can muster. Lemme know if you need spell work, tarot, special tea blends.

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    1. Thank you!

      You know, life hasn't changed as much as I would have thought. Being alone is nothing to be afraid of...

      Now, scaring women straight... That is a different matter...

      Delete
    2. I was watching an episode of House just before I had to come to the hospital when it hit me. It was one where a lesbian had screwed up her liver and needed a liver transplant in a matter of hours or she would die. She was going to leave her lesbian mate because they had been together for 9 years and she was tired of her, but didn't want to tell her because she needed half of her liver. At that point I realized that, in most relationships, one person usually loves the other more than the other loves them. Of course, the lesbian doner had known the whole time and thought it would make her lover have to stay with her if she gave her half of her liver. She was advised that not only wasn't true but would be harmful to them both as a toxic relationship. The good news at the end of the show was that the lesbian who needed the liver transplant had the Black Plague and was able to be cured. Don't ask me how that last part fits in anywhere.

      Delete
    3. Somebody is always looking for the door, I guess.

      I tend not to communicate enough, i guess. I need to NOT just assume everything is going okay. But in my experience, over-examining a relationship is as bad as under-examining.

      It's a trick - to try and keep the other person talking enough about how they feel things are going that you can get the truth out of them.

      Delete
    4. With Diane, I made it okay for her to tell me anything... even her affairs. I would have to have recovery time after her affairs but we would both work toward resolving the issues that caused the problem in the first place. We worked through those rough times and I let her know how painful they were for me. Sometimes there was a slight benefit because she would learn something new that we could do that pleased both of us. I asked that she always wear protection if she felt she had to have one to prevent disease which is why I became so angry and cut her off when she gave me chlimidia (sp?). We were going to separate over that but then she found out she had cancer. I decided it was best to stay with her since we had been through so much together those 15 years.

      Communication is what kept us together all those years. I really did love her in spite of her bipolar rages and her promiscuity. In the end, she proved that she loved me too by defending me against her family on her death bed. She just couldn't control her libido those three or four times of unfaithfulness.

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    5. There are worse things that can happen than being cheated on. I mean, it's hurtful for someone to do that, but it's mostly ego on both sides: The cheater likes to feel wanted and the person cheating is pissed because they want to be the ONLY person in the world their partner is attracted to.

      I try not to live in a make-believe world in which my partner is so brain-damaged that I am the only person they are able to see.

      Mental connection is always more important to me.

      Of course, given my current situation, I might NOT be the right person to be talking about this.

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    6. With the diseases running around out there, monogamy seems like the intelligent way to avoid them. That was my main concern with Diane. If you're going to screw around, at least have the decency to wear protection so that you don't bring diseases home to me.

      I do agree that a mental connection is extremely important. A spiritual connection helps as well. That involves the heart though and I think I'm out of heart to give. I feel like I barely have enough heart left to survive. Maybe I need a new pacemaker battery. haha

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    7. Abstinence is the right way to avoid the diseases.

      People are bastards and can't be trusted worth a damn.

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    8. If my partner were honest with me so that I could take precautions, I wouldn't get too upset. If I loved her enough and she had an incurable disease, I may not worry about it at all. For that though, I would have to have been with the person long enough to build up trust.

      As you said, people are bastards and can't be trusted worth a damn.

      Delete
  2. Sooooooo you threw a bunch of balls at a blind dude just to see him act all Daredevil-like, got high on nitrous oxide and had a Jim Morrison-like sojourn into the bowels of your brain, all to learn that your wife ran off with your brother!?! Man, I feel like I just got done watching a David Lynch movie. I am deeply interested in the next part of this saga. But next time I see you pop up in the old reader feeder, I'm huffing twice as much computer cleaner than normal before reading it.

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    1. I think I'm most proud of how I managed to work Donald Rumsfeld into it. It's never REALLY a screwed-up blog post until Donald Rumsfeld makes an appearance.

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  3. Sigh. People can be very cruel sometimes. Especially to the ones they supposedly love. Or do love...but are still cruel to.

    Anyway. I quite admire your ability to turn your personal pains and disappointments into insightful and humorous writing to share with others. That seems like a bit of a gift. Most of us just whine and bitch, and eventually wear out the sympathy of others.

    Oh, and I liked those posts, especially the couch and baby seal ones.

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    1. I really agree about the couch post. I read it three times.

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    2. I have finally figured out that I write better material when things in my life are awful. When everything is going well, I tend to resort to "What's the deal with socks?"-type topics.

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    3. No true artist is of much use to anyone when he/she is happy.

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    4. Probably. True joy is tough to convey, though. Talk about a challenge. I'm not talking about numb comfort. I mean JOY.

      Even mere enthusiasm is contagious and sort of rare.

      But joy? Depression is easy art compared to that.

      Delete
    5. Not that I'm deliberately trying to be a downer, but I think joy can only be conveyed when the reader is already aware of its eventual loss.

      (I'm thinking of a book I recently read, by way of example.)

      Delete
    6. Years ago, I read an interview with musician, Peter Gabriel, in which he said that happy music was considerably harder to write than deep, dark music, "which anyone can do."

      Now, despite his hits, Peter Gabriel has done more fantastically "deep, dark music" than anyone, so this made me think a lot about what he was saying.

      I finally decided that, although he thought he was applying a general principle, he was speaking only for himself. Happy music was tough FOR HIM.

      I'm sure that Britney Spears would not agree about how easy the darker stuff is.

      Delete
  4. Sorry just can't do soap opera stuff

    just can't achieve telemetry

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  5. I have learned once you KNOW, you cannot ever go back and UNKNOW again. You shattered the 4th wall, looked into the camera and spoke. The illusion is busted to smithereens. The process is always painful, at least in my experience.

    I did make one clumsy attempt to contact you, however my string and tin can connection only goes as far as Conroe. I was unwilling to wander the streets of Montrose screaming KATY!!!

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    1. I have forgotten an awful lot of stuff.

      And not just facts. I have forgotten actual wisdom that served me well.

      I have forgotten people - I used to live with someone or other and used to have a brother, for instance.

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    2. You must have more questions than answers. How you put that particular egg back together again is beyond my feeble little brain. I am in Austin this week. Come on over and I'll spring for dinner

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    3. I went to dinner with her yesterday.

      My blog world is about three weeks behind my real life at this point, though, so I won't give anything away prematurely.

      Delete
    4. Hey these things take time to cultivate. I look frorward to the next installment with no spoilers.

      Delete
    5. It's Wednesday. So far, NO ideas for the next blog post.

      My head is surprisingly blank these days.

      Delete
  6. Nitrous oxide is a dangerous anaesthetic not used for dental purposes in the real, ie non-American, world. Hereabouts we use Lignocaine injections.

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    1. Hey, Bill!

      My dentist uses various numbing shots as well, I think. The nitrous oxide is just to keep stressed out Americans from flipping out and wetting themselves or biting the dentist.

      ONCE (and only once), I went to a big box dental place (Castle Dental or something) where they basically just have half-walls between the patient rooms. I was listening to the woman in the next room over crying at having to be there. I mean, weeping openly.

      There's a real fear of dentists, and apparently laughing gas keeps the despair to a minimum.

      Delete
  7. "Desperate for company, I finally went to the dentist."

    Once again, you have amazed me with your writing. Thank you.

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    1. Wow, thanks! I wasn't sure about this one: There were too many moving parts for such a short post. But it was fun.

      Delete
    2. That sentence is the precise center of the story, and it works perfectly. Among many other things, it really emphasizes a key piece of the puzzle: "Nobody called. Nobody stopped by to see me." All during this period I have been wondering: where the fuck are Katy's husbands when she really needs them? So now we know what Anthony's excuse is, but what about Aesop?

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    3. It is always encouraging when I see that people are paying some attention!

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    4. Just to let you know... you are always free to call me if you need support and I would be glad to meet you somewhere that you would feel comfortable talking. I offer you a shoulder to lean on or cry on in earnest.

      You and I have shared some personal, private things. I did with you at least. If you were being honest with me, you did with me as well. It made me feel close to you as a friend even though at times I would have liked it to be more. I do care about you and care what happens to you. You don't need to post this. I just wanted you to know that I'm here and I care. If I'm not in the hospital I would be glad to lend my shoulder anytime you need it.

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    5. Thank you, Cal. It's amazing how long we've been talking online, isn't it?

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    6. Yes it is. We've both had our ups and downs, sanity and insanity, and have still managed to be friends throughout. I am privileged to have had the honor.

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    7. Ups and downs. I don't know if the ups have outnumbered the downs. But it's been a ride, either way!

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    8. Yes, it's been quite a ride. I certainly haven't had an abundance of ups, but I could say that for my whole life. I guess we have to be thankful for the ups while they lasted... or not.

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    9. Now that I think about it, our online relationship has lasted longer than most of my relationships online or offline.

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    10. I think the trick for ALL of us is to appreciate the ups while they last. We're all going to die eventually.

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    11. That is a good point. Of course, when you're running on half a heart you become very aware of your mortality. Supposedly my heart isn't giving me problems, but it sure FEELS as if it is. I suppose it could be extreme anxiety attacks of which I'm not aware. My mind is so numb lately that I'm surprised I can still type anything. I certainly don't seem to feel anything at this point. It's like the part of my heart that's not working right was the part that made me feel a loving connection with others. Right now I have to rely on my brain, what little of it I have. I think they might need an electron microscope to find it.

      Delete
    12. P.S. I should never try to write comments or anything else after a night with no sleep. I'm not sure I even know what I'm saying.

      Delete
    13. I should never try to write blogs after a night with no sleep.

      Clearly, my latest one (about the raccoons) proves that.

      Delete
  8. Oh.

    Fuck.

    One question: is your twin brother Catholic?

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    1. Nope. Secular guy who purports to be a Buddhist, but isn't. I mean, he has a statue, has spent time in the East, and meditates on occasion.

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    2. A statue of what? Cthulhu?


      I could respect anyone who worships Cthulhu.

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    3. Every good Western Buddhist has an obligatory Buddha statue!

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    4. my house has 15 Buddha statues and the like. all of them were gifts...

      My wife has all kinds of rules about the different Buddha statues. like no cooking beef in the house or being naked in front of the statues

      Delete
    5. Good idea. Buddha judges your nakedness.

      Incidentally, I have 2 Buddhas. I cover them when I am naked.

      My grandmother used to have a plastic piggy bank in her house that looked like the Buddha. My conservative Christian aunt convinced her to destroy it, as it would bring bad luck from a vengeful Jesus.

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    6. Do not hide your nakedness from Lord Buddha.

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    7. I hope he's not as lecherous as Vishnu.

      Or Ganesh. Man... Those two were all hands...

      Damn. I stumbled onto that punchline completely by accident just now.

      Delete
  9. sweet corn niblett jesus on melba toast...

    art always imitates life- because shit like this happens. I get it.

    sorry.

    if i had yr # and lived in TX somewhere close, I's bring you snacks and bad movies.

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    1. Sweet corn niblett jesus on melba toast, indeed!

      If I could scream that out as an exclamation sometime, I would. I don't think I could pull it off very smoothly, though.

      Delete
  10. I knew I was starting to miss tiny slices of time but didn't realize how many until I came to your site and saw that you had written three blogs that I hadn't read. At least that gives me some reading material if I live through the stress test tomorrow. Haha

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    1. You need to take care of yourself!

      Keep everybody up to date.

      Delete
    2. I'm out of the hospital now. I really couldn't understand the doctor, though. He said there's nothing wrong with my heart, there's something wrong with my heart but there's nothing wrong with my heart. I need a translation for that one. Maybe he's trying to say that the pain wasn't being caused by my heart but never gave me an answer as to what was causing my pain or the wide fluctuations in my blood pressure. After he said there was nothing wrong with my heart he did say that he was going to make a change in my blood pressure meds. I start trying that change tomorrow.

      I had some meds stolen when I was in the ER getting my EKG done. A couple bottles of pills fell on the floor and they told me to leave them and they would bring them to my room... which they never did. I feel like calling the police on them because that is theft. (They lied and said they gave them back to me.)

      Delete
    3. You need to at least make a report with the hospital!

      Particularly if they were pain pills, they really keep tabs on those things these days.

      Take it easy and slow for a while!

      Delete
    4. I made a report as soon as they said they gave them back to me. My mom went and talked to the head of security as well since she was in the room with me. They were supposed to pay back my Trazodone but failed to do so. Luckily I found an old bottle that has a few in it until we can get this resolved.

      Delete
    5. If it happened inside the hospital, I'd work through the hospital unless you think the hospital is doing something wrong.

      Delete
  11. Your vision quest turned into a Maury Povich show. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Maybe modern day vision quests aren't like the vision quests that our Native American ancestors experienced. Or, I should say the Native Americans my ancestors raped and pillaged.

    Also, that 2nd to last picture, all I can think of is someone naked doing the worm.

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    1. Haha... Yup. Thus the title, "Soap Opera."

      I'm not sure how I feel about that, either.

      You get what you put into vision quests. I have been stuck on this relationship a bit over the last few months. Everything comes out relationship-shaped.

      Delete
  12. Katy. I have a special connection with you on this one. One of my ex-wives married my sister many years ago. All "turning" jokes aside, shit doesn't get any more confusing and painful than this. Hugs and squeezes.

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    1. Thank you. In their defense, I am VERY difficult to like most of the time.

      I try to convince people that I understand their pain - after all, I have to live inside this head with myself all of the damn time.

      That rarely seems to garner me any sympathy.

      Delete
  13. omg sweety. i've been thinking about you tons. i haven't been able to read as much as i wanted, but your journey was in my thoughts.

    i'm so sorry.

    this must be the most ultimate betrayal.

    your hear will heal. mine has. our hearts get stronger.

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    1. Thanks.

      I've made huge mistakes, and often, I haven't been able to own up to them. At least these two are acknowledging it now.

      I know how it feels to not be able to look someone in the eyes.

      I ended up on the wrong side of this one, but I can relate with what they're going through, I guess.

      Bastards.

      Delete
    2. That WAS a low blow. It reminds me of my first wife sleeping with the guy who was supposedly my best friend behind my back. She admitted it after we separated.

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    3. People do stupid stuff.

      They generally know when they have. They don't need me to tell them.

      Delete
  14. Wheres "The Hamster" ?.

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    1. The Hamster is in the pit of hell, licking his own dick, crying to his mommy and asking God why it made him a homosexual, while all he ever wanted to be in his life is to be a butler or footman, for a faded British rock star, so that he wouldn't feel as the most pathetic imbecilic pedophiliac dumb-ass in the world.

      Delete
  15. Holy Jebus, you've got a Woody Allen movie plotline unfolding in real life! I halfway expect Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow to be standing in the wings...

    Nitrous, eh? Might have to get at some of my unknown knowns...

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  16. jervaise brooke hamsterNovember 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    GOODSTUFF - cheers my old mate.

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  17. Ya` know, i`m starting to get the sneaking feeling that Katy Anders and on5464 are actually one and the same person.

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  18. Sorry to read this Katy. I really am.

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    Replies
    1. Eh. So the only girlfriend I ever had took my kids and ran off with my only living family member. It could be worse, right?

      Oh. Wait. Yeah, it probably couldn't be much worse.

      Delete

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