A Call from My Other Brother
July 1, 2009
My sister-in-law sent an instant message telling me it was my brother’s birthday. This is my youngest brother, who survived a heart attack and is mentally ill and lives in Missouri.
Earlier, I had remembered my other brother’s birthday (June 2) and asked Random Granddaughter (the great artist) to paint him a birthday card. I had remembered my sister’s birthday (March 27) but too late to send her an RG card. I apologized and asked if she would like an early card or a late card. She said that as a grandmother herself, she was relaxed on the matter. As RG has been commissioned to prepare a card for Woo, I will not burden RG with more than one assignment at a time.
I tried to call my brother (after getting his phone number, which I had lost, by email). His telephone said it would not accept phone calls from phones which block their numbers. I don’t remember telling my phone to hide its number, but it probably interpreted us choosing an unlisted number as an instruction to hide its number from Caller-ID capable phones. [Update: Pete’s *82 trick works. Thank you, Pete. Also, the tayberries are just turnin color, so they should be ripe in a couple of days or so. Again, thank you.]
The next day (yesterday, Sunday, June 28…I carefully made a note that it is my youngest brother’s birthday) I received a call from my brother. I do not like to talk to him because he sounds like an android that has not learned how to imitate a human being very well. Although I am a earlier model android, I imitate humans better than my youngest brother , the android model android, and youngest sister, the narcissistic model android, who lives in California and belongs to a fundamentalist church filled with Hispanic people and Vietnamese people. (I do not know if they are androids, but I suspect the just keep my sister as a pet android.)
I talked awkwardly with my brother. He asked me if I knew that he had a dog now. (As I seldom talk to my brother I did not know this.) He told me he has a silky terrier. My family has always been cat people, but my brother evidently married into a dog family. I guess if an android marries into a human family, it might as well marry into a dog human family as well.
He also said that he is served by a small local telephone company, and they may have blocked my telephone call by mistake. I said, I am also served by a small independent telephone company. [Problem since then solved.]
After a few minutes of awkward, strained conversation, he asked me if I wanted to talk to K, his wife.
I like his wife, so I agreed (with what I hope is not too much obvious eagerness). His wife and I talked to each other for a while. She was a grade school art teacher when I first met her (at a family reunion). As her school district (like almost all school districts) is shedding jobs, she had to transfer to a high school art teacher position to keep her job. She said the principal (whom she obviously dislikes) dumps all the difficult students into her art classes, though maybe art students are naturally difficult. (Woo? Comment about artists?)
She said that my brother is no longer considered bi-polar (not because he is cured, but because he might have been misdiagnosed). She said, “Maybe he is depressed. Anyway, they took him off lithium, which made him very subdued and withdrawn and lacking in emotion.” (I thought, an android does not need a drug which makes him more robotic).
My brother was first hospitalized when he left home and was found walking the streets in a daze by the police. Since then he has repeated this behavior two more times. On the third time, her aunt was the one who spotted him walking the streets and called his wife at school. His wife left her teaching job at school and rushed to pick up my brother and take him to the hospital, sparing the police the trouble. I have a feeling her relatives say “helpful” and “constructive” things to her about her marriage, but I don’t know this for a fact.
She told me that when he first became mentally ill she had been unable to convince his doctors to pay attention to his problems. One day she noticed him having a long conversation with himself in their back yard. A long, long conversation. Later, when he was in the hospital, a couple of nurses noticed him having long conversations with himself and convinced the doctors that they needed to pay more attention to him.
She also said that he has not been able to hold a job for a long time. She did get him a job at the school where she works, but eventually the school fired my brother. This may have something to do with why she does not like her principal that much.
Unlike my family, who are cat people, her family are dog people. When she adopted a silky terrier, my brother was not enthusiastic about the dog, but now he is very attached to it. Silky terriers, according to this web page, seem like “high maintenance” dogs. I suspect my brother is a “high maintenance” spouse, so perhaps they help maintain each other.
After telling me that my brother is not bi-polar and maybe depressed, she said (admitted?) maybe he has schizophrenia. So I guess he is the schizophrenic model android. I have been a depressed model android, and I have worked with a bi-polar model android who scared all the women in my department before he was fired and who caused my employer to start locking all the outside doors except the one where the receptionist could see everyone coming into the building. [I suppose my brother might be a “DID” model android, and I might have to fly David out to Missouri to talk to him, but I doubt it.]
I think there is a quality control problem at the android factory, also known as my family. It may be a good thing that there is no genetic connection between me and Random Granddaughter. On the other hand, I haven’t told you about Mommy’s brother, who was once found wandering the streets and institutionalized for a while. (However, he is now happily married, with a young daughter. Also, he may be the adopted brother…)
Next, Aunt Henriette joins the android party.