You guessed it. Steve called.
I don't even know what happened. I had gotten all ready to ask him what would make a weekend up there so much more fun than a weekend down here, and I did, and he answered, and I still wasn't seeing it, and someone said something and now I'm almost ready to rip people's heads off.
I wish I could remember the conversation in more detail, because then I could analyze it a little better and more accurately determine who's right here. Athena says it doesn't matter who's right in general; the main concern is what we're doing for Thanksgiving, and we still don't want to go to Seattle.
She suspects that part of the problem is that Steve's persistence is requiring us to explain our stubbornness, which is bringing up a lot of issues that may best be left alone. Our remembering what happened a year ago doesn't really seem to be doing anyone any good. But then I remember that talk about hidden wedges and wonder if maybe it is.
But now that he's stated clearly that he feels no guilt over what happened, then it seems like there's not a whole lot else we can do to rectify the situation. I guess a more detailed explanation is in order here.
During our last year of college, Mom was going through a really hard time with her marriage. Dad had pretty much run away from her, and I can't say I don't understand why, but I can say that it was a cowardly thing to do. He could have at least given counseling more of a chance. Still, things were sucking for Mom, and they also happened to be sucking for us (major roommate issues). She would call us to talk and get support, and sometimes things were bad enough that we had to turn it around and get support from her. It was especially during times like that that she would say things like, "That's okay. Once you graduate, you can come back and live with me. We'll get annual passes to Disneyland; it'll be fun! I'm so glad you're coming back!" etc. etc.
I think it was at the beginning of April that she started seeing Steve. He had been a friend of Dad's in college, and was our home teacher several years ago before he moved to Fresno. Due to various circumstances, they each found out that the other was separated (Mom hadn't quite filed for a divorce yet), so when he was in Los Angeles on business he asked her to lunch. They started talking to each other on the phone a lot and being all high school lovey-dovey.
We didn't really have any problems with it; Mom had just been through a really rough time, and it was pretty obvious that she and Dad wouldn't get back together. To tell the truth, we thought it might be advantageous for us, since he had been on a mission in Japan and was still doing business with people in Japan.
We first realized something was off on the day she invited him to Disneyland with us. We didn't think much of it though, since it was only the first time we'd seen him since a short visit many years ago, and it was too early to judge. See, she had been talking to him on the phone and he mentioned something about Alan Menken... I wonder if I've told this story on LJ before... Anyway, even though anyone who knows anything about Disney music knows who Alan Menken is, they both thought that his knowing Alan Menken indicated a deep knowledge of Disney that could perhaps stand up to our own.
Now we don't doubt that there are people who know more about Disney than we do. And one of the first things Steve did when he came over was ask us what Walt Disney's middle name was, which, vexingly, we didn't remember. And so when Mom came back from wherever she was when he asked, he regales her with a longwinded explanation of how we must not know that much about Disney, as we couldn't remember something as simple as Walt's middle name. So of course for the rest of the day we were trying to show off, asking Sarah if she knew which movie the orchids and thistles dancing in the parade came from, singing Donald's theme song, etc. And when we were waiting in line for StoryBook Land and the boat came up with the name Flora on it, we weren't sure if he was joking or not when he asked Mom who Flora was.
After that we were baffled and didn't know whether we should feel bad for him or if he was just playing dumb. We decided to pull out the Disney Trivial Pursuit (bought specifically for this challenge) once we got home. Playing two on two (us against Mom and Steve), we beat them in forty-five minutes, probably the shortest game of Trivial Pursuit I've ever experienced.
My overall impression of that day is that he was trying too hard to impress. The next time he came over, we played some more board games, still getting along without too many problems, and then they dropped us off at Jo-Ann's and went on their date. We found out then that Steve was annoyingly competitive, but other than that, it wasn't too bad.
It was the third time we saw him that things started getting bad. To be fair, we were in a bit of a bad mood already because we had just gotten an email from our boss telling us that the series that gave us hope after losing Lagoon Engine Einsatz had been promised to another translator. I like to think that that didn't have an effect on my attitude, but it's hard to say.
This was when we found out that we don't get along with Steve. He seems to be the type that his opinion is the only opinion, and anyone who has a differing opinion is lying, or doesn't know the facts. He mentioned what he felt is the best movie of all time, and Athena, being polite, asked what it was about. Instead of telling us what it was about, he regales our mother with an explanation of how Athena is now dying to see this movie. Exasperating, yes, but not the worst of the evening.
Mom and Steve went to the concert he had come down to see, and the idea was, to save on hotel costs, he would spend the night in our living room. So when they got back, it was, of course, time to pull out the board games. Mom seemed to want to play something that Steve would have the advantage in, so she chose Who Wants to be a Celestial Heir, the LDS board game version of, of course, Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I'm really not sure where she got the idea that Steve knows the scriptures better than Athena, who's been reading them everyday since eighth grade, grew up on Scripture Scouts, and had Hugh Nibley's son as a father (the one who was obsessed with the Doctrine and Covenants). Athena also happens to be the only one smart enough to know when to stop showing off and use a lifeline.
So I think it may have been Steve's competitive nature and hatred of losing that wouldn't let him just shut up. One of the questions was "How do we know our Heavenly Father loves us?" The choices were "He made the world," "He sends us cards on our birthday," "He sent his Son," and one more that I forgot. The "correct" answer was the third one, but we said it was a bad question, because all of the answers were right. Then of course Steve started talking about how stupid it is to think that God sends us birthday cards. Now, Mom and Steve tried to excuse this as harmless teasing, but I really do think we're smart enough to know the difference between friendly teasing and, "I can't believe you're so stupid." I could be wrong.
We explained that, on our birthday, we always have one of our favorite kinds of weather, and we think that could be considered a sort of divine birthday card, but no, we're stupid. This is when we realized that Steve is the type of person we would normally acknowledge as someone who, while not necessarily a bad person, is someone we wouldn't get along with, and then proceed to avoid situations that would require us to be in the same room for too long.
Still, the night wasn't over, so we had to perservere. We somehow got to talking about astrology. Now our views on astrology are that it's kind of fun to look at the descriptions of the different signs and be like, "Hey! That's just like me!" We don't think the stars control our destiny or anything, but it's still an interesting subject. Steve thinks that astrology is stupid, and so is anyone who's interested in it. Or so he said. (And he did use the word stupid; it wasn't just the impression I got.)
So now that we have this guy ridiculing our beliefs, Mom decides it's time for family prayer. Athena, realizing that it's her turn, and not wanting to pray in front of someone who's already said we're stupid for thinking the way we do, stalls. As soon as the next conversation died down, she left the room to cool off for a bit (as you can imagine, we were both rather tense), hoping that, as an added bonus, they would have forgotten about family prayer by the time she got back. I thought she had gone to get something, because when she got up, she kind of gave the impression of having just thought of something. She didn't come back for a while, so I went to go see what was up. After I left, Sarah told us, Mom turned to Steve and asked if he was alright.
It was at this point that Sarah, who, feeling that she was being completely disregarded in this whole series of events, had been hiding her face under a pillow crying for no less than twenty minutes, got up and stormed out of the room. Mom followed her, and, as they made their way to the bedroom they were now sharing, looked into our room and said, "We need to talk." So we went, we talked, we calmly explained what our problem was, and were branded as evil for not liking Mom's boyfriend.
Things got really bad after that. Mom didn't want to bring Steve down to Glendale because she didn't want to deal with us, or she didn't want to subject him to us, or something, so she was up in Fresno almost every weekend. There were a few times they brought Steve's kids down to do things (go to Disneyland, go to the zoo, etc.) which all had their own disasters (the Disneyland one centered on the fact that, despite having just spent the entire day running around getting fast passes for everyone while they walked as slowly as humanly possible (or slower) and saving seats for them for the parade, we were horrible evil people for asking to please not listen to the Disney country remix CD because we "shouldn't be telling Steve what to listen to in his own car" (Mom's words, not Steve's)). And actually, Mom was far worse to us than Steve was, which may have something to do with the fact that we had to live with Mom.
During all this, and in fact before it started, we were trying very hard to convince our boss to give us more titles to work on, because we could see that we were catching up to Japan on a lot of our titles, and would be almost out of work soon, like we kind of are now. This was another reason we were so upset about the one series I mentioned earlier. Athena was especially stressed about this, because I'm better at ignoring reality. She tells me there was one night in particular, in about May or June, where she was so stressed about it that she couldn't get to sleep. She was worried we might have to go look for an apartment, and start applying to work at MacDonald's and stuff. She finally calmed herself down by telling herself that, according to logic, it wasn't like Mom would be getting married soon, and even if she did, she would make sure we were taken care of before abandoning us.
In August, Steve proposed. There is some speculation as to whether things would have sucked so badly for us had we had a more positive reaction to finding out that he proposed, but the first thing that went through our heads was, "Where are we going to live?" We spent a few days just being bitter at the world, and then we started to think. We figured that translation money alone probably wouldn't pay for rent, especially if we wanted to stay in our beloved Glendale, so close to Disneyland and Kinokuniya. We realized that there are two things we're good at: translating comics and showing people around Disneyland. So if we got another job, we might as well get something that involved Disneyland, and move to Anaheim.
We took the train down to Anaheim and applied. I got hired, Athena didn't. This was devastating. I finally decided it would be better to take the job anyway, but this still left us with finding an apartment. We were already stressed out of our minds and had no idea how to go about apartment-hunting. Add to that my having to figure out how to get to and from work and we were too stressed for anything. Thinking about it, though, I don't think it was my on-the-job training schedule that caused us to be left in Glendale for Thanksgiving while Mom went up to Seattle. In fact, now that we remember, there's a memory about Mom trying to figure out how to get the Potters to invite us to their Thanksgiving dinner as soon as she got invited to Steve's. It didn't take a whole lot of thought, though, because Ginger is a good friend who invited us just because.
To be perfectly honest, part of the reason we applied to work at Disneyland when we did was that we were hoping to have to work for any holiday they might ask us to join them, and especially during the wedding. We felt like we had been treated very badly because of their whole relationship, and we did not want to acknowledge their union. So you could say I was blessed in that I was scheduled to work the day of the wedding. And I enjoyed working at Disneyland, so I was actually pretty happy with that.
And this story isn't finished yet, but our monitor is blacking out again and it's time for the Cosby Show, so perhaps I will finish this up later.