ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching

Book Two, Chapter 218: Minding My Own Business

Rafael Cushnir, in his book on emotional connection, defines addiction as “a persistent, uncontrollable action that is known to be harmful.”

People who think in sane and healthy ways soon realize when what they’re thinking or doing is harming them, and they make a change. People who keep on doing what is harming them are out of control.

Rafael Cushnir also writes that all addictions and compulsions are the result of emotional disconnection. Addicts disconnect from their psychic pain by numbing or escaping themselves through alcohol or drugs or work or . . . whatever will keep them separated from their original hurts.

Addiction is on my mind — I guess it’s always on my mind, lately — because Joshua tells me his use of e-bay and Craig’s List is taking up too much of his time, that it controls him. “I need to limit myself to fifteen minutes a day.” He also says he has a problem with women. To sharpen his skills, he’s joined two dating services, “to see what’s out there.”

He’s gone on quite a few dates. He calls one woman “the gypsy” because of the way she dresses. “But she’s lied to me once already. She told me she’s never been married, but she’s divorced. That’s a big lie, so how can I trust her?”

Another woman, owner of an Arabian horse, didn’t like his car. “She judged me on my car.”

Christy? He talks to her about every two weeks. “But the girl I fell in love with is fast disappearing. Now she’ll run over anyone — including me — who gets in her way. Our L. A. apartment is a prison, and Christy is my cell-mate who fights me. Why would I want to go back to that? Eventually I’ll head back to L. A., after I help your brother through his medical crisis. L. A. is where my career is. I can’t get acting work here that pays. I can’t even get work as an extra. I tried that — as a doofus security guard — and the casting agent wanted me to supply my own uniform and drive nearly a hundred miles to the shoot, all for a hundred dollars — minus taxes and fees.”

I can hear the anger and frustration in his voice.

“I did have a pleasant Saturday,” he says. “I went to a movie and a Mexican restaurant for cheese enchiladas. She was pleasant company. A country girl. She’s little. Good-looking, but she doesn’t seem to trade on her looks. She and I had been e-mailing for six weeks. She even e-mailed me from the Bahamas. She drove in from Lexington and got here earlier than I thought she would. I was still running errands. I rushed back and got here twenty seconds before she rounded the corner. I was still in my sweaty shirt. I thought: Oh-oh, here’s the deal-breaker. But I asked her in, gave her a glass of ice water, and changed my shirt. She was cool with all of it.”

This woman’s name is Jodi, and I don’t ask Joshua if he’s told Jodi about Christy. A few weeks ago I would have said: “You expect women to be honest with you, but are you honest with them? Have you told any of them you share an apartment in L. A. with a woman who is or is not your girlfriend?”

Now, with the help of my Twelve-Step friends, I am learning to MIND MY OWN BUSINESS!

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Ernestina

My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 2-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.