Gary Rinsem

Emmetsburg Iowa, Adventure

Contrary to what you may get from this journal, Susan was a wonderful complex person with too many facets to mention. However... she suffered from double mental illness. The worst depression imaginable, and whatever it is that this journal describes.

Note added in 2007

Everyone does things which seem odd to other people, odd out of misunderstanding usually. Susan has a great many trained behaviors she can't explain. This entry from two years ago explained some of them. The fact that she's still doing them is getting this journal entry put into the archive site. For years most of my writing has been deleted after a time, because it wasn't important to me. Now I find this one cute. It's a keeper.

April 9, 2005

I think it's odd and Susan had no idea why she did it, but she doesn't stop now that I'm teasing her about it. She MUST cut the end off of bags after taking food out of those bags. Dump chips into a bowl? Yep, gotta get the scissors and cut the bag down to size. Make toast? Yep, gotta get the scissors and shorten the bread bag. Elbow macaroni? The bags are never big enough to close, they sit in the cupboard held vertical, wedged between other food packages. Same with cereal. Susan is compelled to take the plastic bag out of the box and cut the top off after each time she uses a bit. It's fun watching her do it, especially the cereal because it's a chore to get the bag back into the box. She smiles at me while I'm laughing, but I think it bothers her that she doesn't know why she's doing it. I've tried imagining what goes on in her mind while she's doing these things, and somehow she can't stop even though she understands that it's... very freeking strange. She can't stop doing it EVEN while I'm laughing about it.

Next up is the kitchen counter. Susan couldn't explain her rules for appliances on the kitchen counter, they were as much a mystery to her as they were to me. The crock pot and food processor MUST be on the counter at all times. It's a pain. They take up valuable workspace. It doesn't end with just being on the counter. The crock pot can't be plugged in and the food processor MUST be plugged in. When I'm feeling playful I'll plug in the crock pot and unplug the food processor, then watch for the result. It's an hour before I notice them back in their CORRECT places. Susan doesn't seem to realize I'm doing it on purpose.

Now for the biggie! THE TOASTER CAN NOT BE ON THE COUNTER UNLESS THERE IS BREAD IN IT BEING TOASTED RIGHT NOW! It's not allowed to sit on the counter for 30 seconds without toasting something. When Susan is done, she unplugs the toaster and shakes it upside down over the trash can, then puts it up high in the cupboard, while her toast is getting cold. When I'm done, I leave it on the counter to watch Susan do her shake-n-stor routine. It's like someone pushes a button on her remote control to make her perform the programmed function.

There are MANY more autonomic functions in Susan's reality, cars are full of them. She can not put on her seat belt until she backs out of the driveway or pulls out of a parking lot. Buying gas is an adventure. Right turns are no way gonna happen unless certain circumstances are met. She's compelled to check the pressure in the spare tire periodically while the tires on the ground are OK to run flat. She MUST carry ten cans of oil in the trunk even though she will NEVER check the oil or add a can. One last one from a Wal-Mart shopping trip, "Why'd you buy that broom? We've got five!" Susan replied... "It was two dollars." (note in 2021: it's the only broom I have left, the others all wore out long ago)

Susan and I just got home from a week of visiting her family in Iowa. It was an entirely uneventful visit except for the turkey truck side swiping our rental car. It was boring! Her family are all very nice and quite pleasant, but boring as hell with nothing about them to show personality or individuality. Except Sue's sister in law. Carla is a giant Christian bigot who hates everybody and everything while using subtle religious dogma to justify her hate.

Susan and I wanted a hotel room, Doris insisted we stay at her house. Doris fixed us breakfast each morning. It was expected, she's that kind of mom. The following was repeated each day we were there. Susan and I sat at the kitchen table while Doris cooked. Talking about nothing special, we watched as she worked. Doris took out a bag of bread and removed several slices, then got scissors and cut off the end of the bag. It was more than I could take. I was laughing so hard tears poured from my eyes, but managed to keep quiet enough that Doris didn't notice. When I saw the scissors attacking the bread bag I immediately spun my head to look across the table at Susan. She was horrified at the realization that she caught this behavior from her mother. Susan has been doing it unconsciously for her entire life. Next, Doris reached up high into the cupboard and took out a toaster. When the toast was brown she shook the toaster over the trash before putting it back in the cupboard. There were several appliances on the counter so I unplugged some and plugged in others. Susan was horrified again, seeing me do this while Doris was standing in the kitchen with her back to us. The plugs were soon back to normal. I didn't dare do it again.

Susan and I took a tour of her home town that day. When we were alone there was a long revealing talk about her childhood. It was a wonderful childhood, but there are numerous things which have always bothered her because she doesn't understand why they happened. Thanks to Doris neurotically cutting bags and fixating on appliances, Susan is considering new possibilities to explain confusing events.

July 4, 2005

Tired as hell, we pulled into the driveway from our Iowa trip just as Greg stopped on the street in front of the house. Susan sat on a bar stool slumped over the kitchen counter, weary from a long drive and then air travel. Susan mentioned that she hadn't smoked pot in a week and was "Jones-ing" for some. I didn't know what to make of Greg's response. His expression changed to something really odd as he backed across the room. Greg stood fifteen feet away while Susan and I continued the conversation he started. Greg didn't participate anymore and soon left. Three months have passed and I hadn't heard a word from Greg, so I called him today. Susan and I are taking Sam to fireworks tonight and invited Greg to join us. He was cold and almost rude, but immediately turned down my invitation. I haven't heard from him for months and he won't go to fireworks because Susan smokes pot. WOW! In recent years I've reminded him a few times that his trailer in Tempe had a bong on the kitchen table. The reminder has been needed when he's made comments about how terrible pot smokers are. Greg has started repeating the blatant lies like in the movie "Reefer Madness." He's been claiming for numerous years that he never smoked pot. Now it seems I've lost a friend. Too bad. Greg and Ralph are my only two real guy friends. I associate with other men, but only Ralph and Greg are true friends.

January 4, 2021

Playing with my new journal web site I've looked through hundreds of entries on the old site. This is one I've been trying to decide if I wanted to keep here. This morning I decided. I wanted to add the following note.

I missed Greg's friendship for a time, but we were never actually close. I was always in hiding around Greg and Ralph because they both suffer from brainwashed Christian hate. It was their grandfather's doing. He was an awful hateful man whom Ralph and Greg worshiped. I spent several decades hearing them spew Archie Bunker talk, and far worse, about every category they could create to classify people.

Nothing they did ever hurt more than the day Ralph and Greg got together at the railroad park and called the women in my life "Fucking bull dyke bitches." Fortunately they waited until the girls walked away. Otherwise they'd likely have been beaten to a pulp by ten fucking bull dyke bitches.

Ralph and Greg didn't know I knew them. They met all ten of those girls once before, at the Long Beach Model T Club swap meet in the 80's. Out of curiosity, the same ten women came to see my friends while we were selling rusted out junk at the swap meet.

BB and the girls were just ten women spending time at the park. They did nothing wrong, but Ralph and Greg sure as hell did. That was the same day I took pictures of Dad and niece Kelly ridding the train. It was the day BB and the girls met my parents and my sister and my niece. It's an incredibly special memory for me in spite of the fact that it's been tarnished by my friend's hate. I can't believe that was 33 years ago. The women all went back to the mud hut and partied until I was done at the RR park. All eleven of us out for dinner that night is another memory, one that I dearly cherish. Our waitress at Rustler's Roost was out and proud, an unusual thing for a woman in the 80's. She was a very strong person we all admired for a few years.