I have two things I wanted to blog about, but neither one is really long enough or interesting enough to be their own blog. I feel like if you are going to take the time to click the link, or type the address into your browser, or open your google reader, it should be for something that in quantity at least, if not quality, makes the effort worth it. Because I’m always thinking about you. I’m a giver like that. And then I realized they are both about timing (in a way), so I’m doing two blogs in one 🙂 You’re welcome.
1. Chris’s neighbor hasn’t been seen or heard from in a while and I’d almost forgotten about our rivalry. Then last weekend, on Saturday morning as Chris and I headed out to get our Hurricane Irene storm supplies: Kettle Corn, hard lemonade, and pastries for breakfast, we came around the corner from his front door to find his neighbor and her rarely seen husband standing on the sidewalk in front of their town house.
She had her hair in a messy ponytail and was wearing only a bathrobe and an “Oh shit” look on her face as she saw us come around the corner.
I felt a flash of pity for her. I’ve been in her position: You finally run into the guy you’ve been crushing on and fantasizing about in your darkest loneliest moments and you look like crap and/or you’re doing something stupid.
That may, or may not, be the summation of my romantic life from ages 18-24.
My flash of pity is quickly erased by the realization that I’ve totally won this round! I’m dressed, and while my hair is wet, that’s actually when it looks the best right now and Chris is… well Chris is his normal delicious self. As we get closer, she clutches her bathrobe at the neck and starts to stammer about the squirrel that has fallen out of the tree and is presumably dead on the other side of the sidewalk, while pointing to her husband who is so absorbed in studying this baby squirrel he barely acknowledges us as we walk by. She’s talking too fast and we don’t understand everything she’s saying, so we smile and nod and make “too bad” noises about the squirrel as we move toward the parking lot.
Once inside the car we talk about how awkward that must have been for her. “Poor girl, that probably ruined her morning,” I say, possibly with a huge grin on my face.
The next day, Sunday afternoon, Chris and I are returning home and she’s standing in front of her house with another neighbor talking about how they weathered the storm. She is dressed in a tight t-shirt and shorts with her hair and makeup done. As Chris and I walk past, she breaks from her conversation to excitedly and somewhat awkwardly call out to us to let us know that the squirrel has been removed and put into a box, or something…again, she was talking a little too fast for me to fully process what she was saying. Plus I was still thinking about how I was winning. When Chris and I nod and smile without actually saying anything she playfully (desperately?) calls out “Hey, you can have the box if YOU want to take care of it!” just as we are rounding the corner toward his front door. Chris rewards her with a polite laugh and says “No thanks!” I smile at her in a mostly friendly, only slightly superior way, before taking Chris’s outstretched hand as we walk up the steps to his door.
I’ve heard women in long-term relationships sit around talking about their boyfriends/husbands, and they all seem to speak in a type of shorthand with the same complaints, the same stresses, the same rules and expectations for their men, which their men consistently violate. And this feeds my theory that there is a formula, some set of Standard Operating Procedures for people in relationships. Have I missed a memo, possibly titled “Things to Get Upset About”? How do I even get on the mailing list? Is it automatic after a certain point? And if so, when is that point???
I have So. Many. Questions. But no answers because every time I ask one of these people they deny any such memo or manual exists. So I’ve been reduced to obsessively studying the behaviors of people who have been in relationships longer than I have in an attempt to learn their secrets and understand the SOP, but it usually only confuses me more.
Like the other day, we had a minor earthquake in the afternoon, and the boss decided the best thing to do was to close the office early and retreat to the bar across the street. So I’m sitting at the bar with my co-workers, 2 hours before we would have left the office on a normal day, and my one male co-worker says to the other male co-worker, “If my wife knew where I was I’d be in so much trouble!” and the other says “oh I know! My wife can never find out about this,” and then they both laughed clearly sharing in a male bonding ritual of some kind.
I spent most of the rest of that afternoon trying to figure out what problem their wives could have with this situation, but couldn’t come up with a single reasonable scenario. Which then triggers my anxiety that I lack the natural knowledge or ability to do the girlfriend thing. AND what if I’m also depriving Chris of being able to have this type of bonding moment with his male counterparts?
Then, a few days later Chris and I were watching Pawn Stars, a reality show about a pawn shop, and I commented on how often men go in to sell something that they loved/collected/just liked having, because their girlfriends/fiances/wives told them they had to get rid of it.
After Chris agreed it was a solid pattern of this show, I started to panic and asked “How am I going to know when its time for me to start doing that? How will I know when I’m supposed to start making you get rid of stuff you like and making you feel bad for having fun?”
And Chris, proving yet again that he’s always got my back said, “I’ll let you know.”
Phew. Finally, a plan.