About a week ago, I stopped by CN's house when I got home from work. I just wanted to say hi and see how his day went. Lately, with me working two jobs, our time together has been cut back significantly, and so I like to have 15 minutes of re-connection before I head off to my part time job.
As soon as he opened the door, I knew something was wrong. Whenever he's in a bad mood, he turns his music up really loudly. Plus, he was holding a beer -- drinking at home alone is something he only does when he's in a bad mood*. At first, he denied that anything was wrong, but I dragged it out of him -- he was in a bad mood, but didn't really know why.
Being the paranoid girl that I am, of course I assume that he's annoyed with me and doesn't want me around because I am obviously irritating him. (Yes, I know this is an illogical assumption, as he was in a mood before I knocked on his door, but I'm a girl, and that's what girls do.) So I left and went to work, trying not to worry about the situation. Which wasn't easy -- I don't like it when someone I care about is upset and I can't help them.
When I got home, he called me and explained.
"I figured it out," he said. "I think I'm just bored. I am worried about my dad** and I'm stressed out about work. I feel like I have no outlet. All I do is watch tv and work. I used to have hobbies."
"Ok, good. That's good that you figured out what was wrong. Thanks for telling me, because I was worried," I replied. "Well, I know that exercise really helps me relieve stress. Maybe you could start going to the gym again."
He was not interested in this idea.
"Ok, well, you liked having drum lessons. Why don't you start those back up?" I suggested.
Drum lessons were too expensive. He wanted to try guitar instead.
"Don't you have a guitar?" I asked, remembering the white guitar I'd seen at his house.
"Yes, but it's electric. I want to play acoustic. But I don't have an acoustic guitar," he said.
I will spare you the details of the rest of this conversation, but what it amounted to was this: he knew what he wanted to do to enjoy his preferred hobby, but was unwilling to do the work/spend the money to get there. It was like he was determined to stay unhappy about his boredom. He kept finding excuses why he couldn't do what he wanted to do. He was Little Mr. Pessimist. This left me frustrated with him and worried about him.
If he didn't do something, this mood might get worse. Ignoring problems doesn't make them go away. And I know what it feels like to have stress bottled up inside of you with no way to let it out. I know what it's like to worry about a parent's health and yet, at the same time, wish you had something to take your mind off of it, if only for a little bit. Television, video games and naps only distract you so much. There comes a point where you need something that can take over your whole brain at the same time, so that you can just. stop. thinking. about. it. For me, it's running. And for CN, it's playing a musical instrument.
So I finally convinced him to start looking around on Craigslist and in the newspaper for a good deal on a used guitar. He found one for $75 -- a stellar deal, if I do say so myself. But he didn't buy it. He had some lame excuse for why he didn't go through with it.
That's when I realized that he would never go out and buy the guitar for himself, and that I would have to help him get started on this. For whatever reason, his own happiness and peace of mind was not something he was willing to prioritize.
I remembered that my coworker had been trying to sell her acoustic guitar for some time, but hadn't found a buyer. So I bought it and surprised CN with it. I also checked out some guitar books from the library for him and gave him all the information about the Guitar for Beginners class here at the school where I work. I told him that the guitar was on me, but he had to pay for the lessons himself! And I wasn't giving him the guitar so that it could sit in a corner and not be played. So he signed up for the $90 class, which goes for 5 weeks -- a pretty good deal.
He was really overwhelmed and happy! I got a lot of girlfriend points!!!! Yay!!!!
His first class was last night, and he came over to tell me all about it. I could tell he had really enjoyed it. He kept insisting that he pay me back for the guitar, but I refused. That's when all the truth started to come out...
"Please, let me pay you back for the guitar. That's $100 you could have used to pay off more of your credit card debt," he said.
"Wait! How do you know I paid $100?!" I said, looking at him suspiciously.
"Well, you told me you got it for half price, and I looked it up on the internet," he explained.
"Don't do that!!!" I yelled. "It's a gift! You don't look up gift prices!! Stoppit! Don't ever do that again!!" I shoved him in the shoulder. I can't believe he did that.
"No, babe, I really should pay you back. I know you thought I was all depressed and stuff, but I was really just drunk when I said all that stuff," he explained.
*I absorbed this for a second.*
"What?" I asked, growing a little angry. I think my hand may have been on my hip. I know my eyebrow was raised.
"Yeah, I had had like, four beers by that point.*** Don't get me wrong! I love it! And I am really enjoying the lessons. I am! And you're right, I never would have bought it for myself. I just feel bad, because you went out of your way, when really it was just the beer talking," he continued.
(Ok, so maybe he was getting trashed by himself.)
"Well, maybe from now on, you should get drunk and ask for stuff, because apparently, it totally works on me," I replied, sarcastically.
As if on cue, my boyfriend immediately imitates a drunk version of himself, and proceeds to start asking for a Trans Am, just like the one Smokey drove, complete with mag wheels.
Which made me laugh.
And that's why I love him, and buy him guitars.
* Not that he was getting trashed by himself, as that would concern me. We are talking a couple of beers here.
** I think I have mentioned how CN's dad is not doing well, healthwise. He's been having chemo and radiation for his metastasized prostate cancer. His leg muscles are pretty much fried -- he can't really walk anymore. His prognosis is not good at all. I can tell it's starting to take up more and more of CN's thoughts.
*** Yes, my boyfriend is a lightweight. He got blitzed off of two shots of sake once.