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2:26 pm EDT        74°F (23°C) in South Amherst, OH

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I headed back out to the road yesterday, and pulled a load bound for Harrisburg, PA, about 150 miles from its point of origin in Michigan. I am stalled at the moment, though, by a flat right-hand side steer tire; a service truck from the nearby town of Amherst is on its way out here, and I should have that fixed before too long.

Other than the long trip to and from Kentucky to get my car, not too much of any interest happened on my time off. The Greyhound portion of the trip took roughly 12 hours, counting the hour early I had to arrive for my ticket and a 3½-hour layover in Cincinnati. After a short wait at Louisville's Greyhound terminal, I hopped aboard TARC's #19 route to head out to the dealership. The stupid idiots had to give me the car with literally no more than fumes left in the fuel tank, but other than that and a couple of naps along the way, the trip back to Michigan went off without a hitch.

Sadly, it seems I'm still the family scapegoat for a lot of things, as I seemed to become four years ago. To make a long story short, I had a conversation a few years ago with one of my then-neighbors (who is now preparing to move out of the neighborhood), trying to find some affirmation and acceptance in the wake of coming out. (That I wasn't getting it from my own parents is a pretty damning statement in and of itself, but that's another argument for another day.) As best I can remember, I mostly stuck to facts and events that were occurring at that time, and avoided unnecessarily casting aspersions. Apparently, this neighbor later came to the conclusion that maybe my parents weren't the saints they had made themselves out to be, and proceeded to make a (probably inappropriate) comment to my sister at a later date.

Last night, this neighbor wanted to invite my parents over for a short chat and barbecue. I will spare a lot of the details, but I will mention that my mother refused to go along, citing the inappropriate comment from four years ago. She made a comment to the effect of "it would be nice to have somebody show me some loyalty for once" well within my earshot. Hmmm … I dare say, based on words and actions at that time, that she was anything but loyal to me in 2001.

I have come to realize in the last several months that, in all honesty, my general mental health is improved by (in a psychological/emotional sense) assuming my parents to have been dead for a few years. I know that sounds strange, and it's not easy to explain, but I'll give my best explanation here. In the flesh, they are still alive and well, and I'm glad for that, but in terms of a psychological connection, they feel like little more than acquaintances. In terms of the attachment that a person normally would feel to his/her parents, I haven't felt that in years. That's not to say that they did an all-around horrible job with me — they adequately took care of my material needs and provided me with good things that a lot of kids never got, such as a top-flight private education — but I've really never been able to count on them for unconditional affirmation and acceptance of me.

I was only truly accepted (or so I felt) when I did the things they wanted, like earning mostly A's in school, and I was usually ridiculed or worse when I wanted to do other "non-essential" things, like running track or learning to play the guitar. I mean, it's fine to have expectations for one's child, but one does a great disservice to the child by making those expectations the be-all and end-all of the child's life. It is for this reason that I feel I am best served by assuming my parents to be dead for the purposes of non-material support. I have learned how to use myself, and other true friends, as substitute sources of this affirmation of the person I am, and I honestly now have little to no need for my parents in this area. In any case, though, I'm just tired of being blamed for everything that's gone wrong.

Well, it didn't take terribly long for the mechanic to replace my damaged Michelin (which had a large cut in what had been its outer sidewall) with a brand-new Bridgestone 295/75R22.5, and I'm about to take off for Harrisburg. I will probably end up getting there about an hour and a half late for my 10:00 pm appointment tonight.