Performer: A Perfect Circle
Songwriters: Billy Howerdel, Maynard James Keenan
Original Release: Mer de Noms
Definitive Version: None
You know when things are going badly in a relationship? One indication might be when you shush your significant other so you can hear a song on the radio. In other words, you’d rather hear the song.
Sad to say, that actually happened in May 2000, and the occasion was this here song. Debbie and I were driving … I don’t remember where, but as we got to the end of our street, the Blitz played a song that sounded like Tool. As the vocals started, the voice was unmistakable: It WAS Tool! I shushed Debbie and turned up the song.
Ænima had wormed its way into my subconscious, so by the turn of the century, I was all in, and now, yes, new Tool music was out! It wasn’t Tool, of course, but Maynard’s spin-off band. Close enough. I had to have this album NOW.
I was elated but sheepish. What I had done was one of those things that as soon as you do it, you wish you could go back in time and do it over again, but, of course, you can’t, so you can’t take it back. I apologized profusely and tried to explain my doltish behavior. Debbie didn’t take me to task, but I’m certain it was filed away in the memory banks.
Another indication that a relationship is souring is that your significant other doesn’t want to have anything to do with your family. Debbie had no problems whatsoever being around Jin or Scott or anyone on Mom’s side of the family, and that didn’t change. There was, of course, another change.
For the first five years of our relationship, Debbie didn’t have to be around Dad’s side of the family. But after the Great Reproachment of 1999, Debbie started to be included in functions on Dad’s side fo the family, starting with Laura’s 50th birthday celebration in February 2000, as I mentioned.
When we were on neutral ground, such as a play Matt starred in at Upper Arlington (not high-school affiliated) or the CSNY concert at Ohio State, it was all right. When it was on Dad and Laura’s territory, such as at Laura’s birthday party or at Christmas, it was different. Debbie became withdrawn, often leaving the room where everyone congregated to be by herself.
Soon, she began to beg off completely, going only if I really wanted her to go. Well, OF COURSE, I wanted her to go with me. She was my fiancée and a part of my life. I wanted to include her in everything I did, but I wasn’t going to make her do something she didn’t want to do.
As you can imagine, this didn’t sit very well with me. I’d been at loggerheads with my family for five years over you, and now, NOW, that they’re finally, FINALLY, coming around to our way of thinking, you’re going to change the game? You’re going to pull away? We won, dammit! They blinked!
I couldn’t get Debbie to see that. Her point wasn’t invalid: By Dad and Laura’s previous actions (and those of everyone else on that side of the family), Debbie said she had seen what they really thought of her. She, therefore, wanted to have as little to do with them as possible.
I understand that—sympathized with her point of view even. I guess because I really wanted my whole family to be part of my life again, I was willing to let bygones be bygones … publicly. Debbie wasn’t. She didn’t want to be a phony.
One might argue that the latter thing is a bigger problem than the first, but they’re really indications of the same thing—a growing selfishness and disregard for the other person. In retrospect, it was obvious that ultimately it wasn’t going to work out between us.