Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Cryptic Explanation

One of the ways I maintain my sanity in the midst of crazy stuff with my children who are especially challenged (and challenging) is by blogging about it. Taking the time to write about and reflect upon my experience in the blogosphere helps me feel that perhaps I am not alone in this bizarre journey. That is not to say that all of my children are challenging or draining -- we do have children that nourish life and make my existence a blessing -- but those who perplex me receive more blog time.

So, Mike calls me this afternoon.

"Hi, Mike."


"Yes, Mike."

"I'm calling to let you know I didn't turn myself into law enforcement last night."

"Oh. Why not?"

"Well, I didn't have the money for my Huber release fees."

"I gave you a check yesterday to cover that, Mike."

"Yeah, I know. But, um, someone stole it from me."

"Someone stole it from you? I don't believe that, Mike."

Silence in the midst of lots of background noise on his end.

"Mike, I watched yesterday as one of your friends went into the bank. I'm assuming he took the check I gave you and cashed it."

"What do you talking about?"

"I'm talking about the white car you were in yesterday with three [and I describe them] other guys."

"I wasn't in a white car yesterday. What car are you talking about?"

By this point I wonder just how confused another human being can be, and how Mike can possibly not know what I am talking about.

"Mike, I met you yesterday at [Name of] Bank. You were in a white car with three other guys. You got out of that car, stepped into mine and I gave you a check for $60."

"No you didn't."

"I didn't? Then where did you see me to get the check?"

"I don't know."

"So, anyway, that's where you got the check. Then I drove across the street, watched from the parking lot and after a few minutes one of your friends from the car left the bank and got back into the car."

"Oh, he was getting money from his account."

I didn't even bother to go down that road with Mike. If I had, I would have asked him why the friend waited until after I left to get money from his account. But like I say, I didn't bother. I've learned not to pursue much questioning from someone who is confused and lies with such alacrity.

"OK. Hmm. Sounds like it must have been quite confusing," I summarize.

"Yeah. So, I didn't go to jail last night because I didn't have the money."

"So," my cynical mind wants to say, "now you have to pay to go to jail?" But I said nothing.

"And you'd better put a stop payment on that check if you don't want to lose your $60," he says, trying to sound helpful.

"Well, Mike, it costs at least $25 to put a stop payment on a check, and I want to see who cashed it after all."

He then proceeds to tell me the name that will be on the check, followed by some convoluted story about how this person was going to cash the check and give him the money to take with him to jail. Lie upon lie upon lie. I am silent. He is waiting for me to offer to pay another $60 so he can obtain work release from jail. But Mike does not know that I am now done doling out money. I have reached the end of my boundaries, and I am now finished.

"So, you can come visit me tomorrow at jail, if you want," he says.

"I'll have to see what my schedule is like, Mike. Sunday's are busy days for me."

"Yeah, OK. Well I've gotta go."

I say goodbye and the call ends. I have learned a long time ago that Mike will do or say whatever he feels he need to at any given moment. I have learned that with the combination of his mental health diagnosis, the group of friends he runs with and his history with the criminal justice system that I cannot trust much of what he tells me. So I am not disappointed, and I am not surprised. I will continue to love Mike as I have for a decade, but I will now draw tighter boundaries between us because once again his time on the "outside" has come to a screeching halt.

While he does not communicate it to me, it is my sense that Mike has violated his parole, that his officer found out, called him on it and directed him to jail. It is likely there will be a hearing next week to determine whether or not his violation is substantial enough to bounce him back into jail or perhaps toward the twenty-two months prison term he was "promised" if he violated the terms of his release. He believes it unlikely that he will get back out any time soon, so he wants me to stop pay the check so that it appears to me that he cares about the situation.

We'll see what the truth is once the new week dawns.


Linda B. said...

Hi Bart, I think I am trying to parent the female version of your Mike. The difference is, she doesn't want to live here in our family and the county is insisting on it. I think of your family often. I learn so much from your blog. Thank you for writing.

Hopewell said...

Bart, you make my life survivable some days. This is exactly the way my son often deals with things. I am grateful that you share--it helps so much.