The USPS is all right; my beef is with (who else?) Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew. Yeah, them again. Using their house as a mailing address is bullshit, but I’m afraid that I don’t have any better options other than my parents’ place, which is clear across the country from where most of my recent jobs have been. Dirtbag and Shrew are at least within a day’s drive of my usual stomping grounds on the West Coast. I’m too transient to have a really sensible place to get a post office box, I’m reluctant to try to call in a mail drop favor with anyone else I know on the West Coast for fear of causing needless annoyance, and the Crossland properties in Springfield and Rancho Corvoda have fucked up my mail so outrageously that I intend never to have anything at all mailed to me at one of those dumps ever again.
It’s disgusting to contemplate, but Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew are less prone to interfere with the US Mail than the fuckwads who staff Crossland Economy Studios. At Crossland, the problem seems to be sheer negligence born of low-class ignorance and apathy. With Dirtbag and Shrew, there may be a bit of malice here and there, but it’s probably just negligence and rural squalor as a deliberate lifestyle. Joe Dirtbag and some buddies of his once left a pile of bank correspondence and postcards from my parents scattered in the grass behind a couch in the course of hastily cleaning some shit out of the winery building, where I had been staying. I found the stuff weeks later, after it had been soaked by several rainstorms. Another time, they misplaced that my parents had sent me for a week or two. I’ve found bank correspondence addressed to other farm tenants in a box directly under another box that was dripping stagnant water.
This fucking slob is hopeless to clean any of this shit up because he just can’t be bothered to care about mail addressed to his tenants and employees. His idea of a cleanup is to throw other people’s mail in a heap somewhere outside, usually without cover, and not let them know that he’s been moving their shit around. Mind you, he doesn’t keep his own effects at the winery in any semblance of order. There’s no way for the rest of us to guide him into some new frontier of chaos when he leaves walkways completely obstructed with precariously uneven five-high stacks of boxes. He has an array of mail cubbyholes on one wall, where he should put the fucking mail, but most of these are out of reach behind the most recent stack of boxes, as is an old couch and God knows how much other crap belonging to God knows whom that’s sitting in piles on and around the couch. Meanwhile, he has two other couches, both upholstered, sitting out in the rain next to a plastic jerrycan of gasoline and some old restaurant equipment.
The only reason I know about this current sorry-ass mess is that I’m back in the area to pick up a new debit card that was mailed to me in the past week or so, along with whatever stock dividend check haven’t hit their six-month void yet. I more or less assume that Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew have held on to these items, although it’s alarming that I have even the faintest fear that they’ve misplaced or destroyed them; I would never imagine normal people doing anything of the sort to my mail. When I reached these two on their answering machine tonight, I had nominally been estranged from them for several months, and permanently so from the Family Shrew, if Dirtbag wasn’t just exaggerating her butthurt in a scheme to pass himself off to me as the good cop of the two.
Short of violence in the Shrew’s case, there is absolutely no threshold of derangement and indecency that I can trust either of them not to cross. They’re insane. They’re completely unpredictable. Most of the time they behave sort of normally, but then they do the most unbelievable shit without warning. I never imagined that I’d end up recurrently homeless for years due to their low-class dysfunction and vindictiveness. I never imagined that I’d be over at their place for dinner listening to advice from stably housed friends of theirs on how to stay warm in a tent on 22-degree nights. I never imagined that they’d terrorize and manipulate my parents so thoroughly. I never imagined that Joe Dirtbag would defiantly tell my parents that he would continue to drink behind the wheel on the Interstate in a car paid for with a $15,000 gift from my dad.
This horseshit is unimaginable, and then suddenly we’re all chest-deep in it without warning. It’s some real Twilight Zone shit. I tell others about it, and they’re floored. Hell, I’m still floored when I try to take stock of it on my own, and the seriously crazy shit has been going on for over three years now. By seriously crazy, I mean worse than Joe Dirtbag having a top-of-the-lungs screaming fit at the Family Shrew every half hour or hour; that started by the winter of 2009. It’s really too bad that Mark Twain isn’t around to be their housemate; he’d be an excellent cultural fit. Sammy Mark, m’cracka, where you at?
One thing I have to say in defense of the high-frequency screaming fits, though, is that they were basically predictable. He was going to yell at her at the top of his lungs, in the kitchen, about trifling annoyances, and with luck he’d only have three of these blowouts in a single day. Every day their home environment was going to be one shove shy of an episode of Cops; there was no other way. In recent years, Joe Dirtbag has outwardly simmered down for the most part, but his occasional lashings-out have gone from aboveboard to skin-crawlingly creepy. He’s calm enough to be a calculating bastard now. In 2009 he was too loosely wound to really gaslight anyone. These days, he’s ever so much more insidious.
It’s painfully clear to me by now that he’s naturally a hyperintuitive predator schmuck. Joe Dirtbag is turning into a walking Greek tragedy. He has these unusual social gifts, and he chooses to abuse them to gaslight, humiliate, and terrorize those around him.
For similar reasons, he’s running one of the most inherently fertile and commercially viable farm sites within a hundred miles into the ground financially because he won’t do anything about its endlessly festering squalor and dysfunction. He finds fucking around with other bullshit artists irresistibly cute. I’m chronically close to broke and have fifteen grand in zero-return investment money tied up in his failing business, so the cuteness is lost on me.
This whole clusterfuck is like being romantically entangled with a crazy bitch, but minus the mad hot sex. Instead, I have some narcissistic, aging hippie has-beens doing long-game fin-dom on me and my parents. And they have my mail in their custody. At least I hope they do. When I left that voice message with Joe Dirtbag tonight, I did so resigned to the truth that if I played my hand wrong, i.e., harshed their mellow by failing to put on a show of false deference, one of them would throw piles of my bank correspondence into the kitchen stove in a fit of pique. Probably Joe Dirtbag.
No, I’m not kidding about this. I have no assurance that this would in fact happen if they got butthurt again and realized that they could punish me by destroying my mail (a federal felony, if I’m not mistaken), but with any of the supermajority of normal people I know who do not have personality disorders, nothing of the sort would ever cross my mind.