Monday, December 28, 2015

365 True Things: 274/Independence

In late March 2014, David packed his Miata as full as it could possibly get (the musical instruments alone took care of half the interior space) and, one chilly morning, drove down the street—for good.

Or, okay, not for good for good: we knew he was coming back. But for a good year, off to Maryland and a year's sabbatical doing cryptography.

It was heart wrenching when Milo, sensing that something was seriously wrong, took off down our cul-de-sac and careened into the slightly larger Angelus Way, chasing after the little green Miata as fast as his long legs could carry him. Which is pretty fast. But the Miata was faster, and soon it had disappeared.

Milo adapted to David's absence quickly, and I quickly learned all the routines—such as feeding Milo, such as feeding me—that David had previously been on top of. Taking out the trash and, the next day, restoring the wheelie bins to their rightful spots behind the side-yard gate. I have always paid the bills, so thank goodness I didn't have to master that particular magic.

Though curiously, the first month on my own I somehow "forgot" to pay the mortgage: the only time in twenty-five years.

I mention this because tonight, I am again on my own. For a week, while David is family reunioning in Key West, Florida. And I won't lie and say it bothers me. I like being on my own.

But I also like—very much—having my husband, my partner, my helpmeet, my best friend, my one true love (even though—and I won't lie about this either—there are times when he drives me absolutely bonkers), in my general vicinity to cook with, go for walks with, do yardwork with, watch TV with, talk with, share life with. We do well together. (Even with the bonkers moments.)

Right now, though? It's 6:25 p.m., and the rest of the evening is mine, all mine. I don't plan on doing anything. Indeed, I'll probably go to bed nice and early, since I had to get up at 3:30 to take David to the airport. (I guess I'm on Eastern Standard Time, right along with the rest of the family.) I will reheat some pasta and sauce. Have some wine. Maybe watch a movie on Netflix streaming (and fall asleep partway through).

Besides David's year in Maryland, and the occasional conference trip he's taken, I've never lived by myself. In college, I always had roommates (Jenny at I House, UC Berkeley; Cindy, in West L.A.; Kathi, Mario, and Steve in Madison; Meeghan and Bridget, also in Madison) or lived at home. Then I got married (a couple of roommates, Dan and Lou, figured in there at the start too), and have been since 1981. That's a long time.

So yeah, David's year of living cryptographically was good for me also: I got to taste quasi-independence. I of course intended to do much more with all that time than I actually did. One thing, though, that I realized is that living alone or together isn't all that different—so long as the one you live together with is a good fit. Or . . . that's not quite right: if the one you live together with is a good fit, life's potentials are multiplied; if not, they may be diminished—or worse.

I got lucky.

Even if sometimes he drives me bonkers.

Here's a few pictures of the guy I'm (happily enough) shackled to ;-)
In Costa Rica, hiking through the paramo
He has been beardless once—this once—since I've known him;
he shaved it off on a whim, while on a trip . . .
I didn't recognize him, and giggled every time
I looked at him, until he grew the beard back
In the mid-1980s, at our teeny apartment in El Cerrito

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
With his new best friend, MiloMan!
(formerly, Mr. "No Dog")

When I started this blab, I thought I'd be writing about independence, hence the title. Maybe I ended up not writing about that, not really. But also sort of. Because one thing that keeps me sticking to David is the huge amount of respect and space and independence he gives me. Which is in good part a measure of his own self-confidence and feeling of self-worth. We are both independent beings. And we've found good partners to exercise that independence with. Together.

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