I just don't where to put the chapter breaks

Friends of Brad Pitt reportedly claim that he has regained his sense of humor and is much more fun now that he is no longer with Jen. Ouch. Wouldn’t you hate to be someone’s Jen to their Brad and then stumble across what their friends are saying to gossip columnists and radio stations? Maybe it’s just that, now that he’s no longer married, he’s back to entertaining all his friends with fart jokes and nights out at the strip club?

Monk went skating last week with a coworker. This is the same coworker who has flaked out on him a few times already, so I was glad he finally got some buddy-to-buddy skate time in, saving me from having to hop on a board and go whizzing off to my death, in the name of Keeping the Lonely Away. Because that is what I was willing to do, as a token of my commitment to this marriage. Yes, luckily (for everyone) the coworker came through and they skated off into the sunset together. But not before Monk had walked the dogs, taken in the mail, run the vacuum and prepped dinner, which leads me to what’s been on my mind (among other things): Married life.

Monk made a comment the other day about (same as above) Coworker suggesting they both spontaneously meet up for a skate, and that this guy obviously doesn’t get that Monk’s daily obligations do not cease to exist when he leaves the office. According to Monk, Coworker couldn’t understand this, because he is single and has no concept of married life. Smug Married People might joke that he is not in The Club. I do not consider myself to be one of the Smug Marrieds.

However, it is true that, for us, after tucking a few years of Marriage under our belts, our perspective certainly has changed. It may have something to do with (oh, let's see if I can name a few factors) the house purchase, the financial strain from said big scary purchase, living in the suburbs, moving so much that most of our friendships became long distance and difficult to maintain, collecting dogs like baseball cards (does anybody actually do that anymore?), getting older and fatter and therefore more calorie-conscious and health-aware, one of us getting promoted to Senior Management… Suddenly we’re talking about Meal Plans and Saving Money and Life Insurance and Investment Portfolios, worrying about retirement and 401k plans, being Responsible With Our Spending, fielding questions (without panicking!) about having kids, and arguing about why someone (me) has to throw great bricks of q-tip layups at the bathroom garbage, leaving a ring of cotton swabs to clean up every weekend, instead of gently pulling the container within reach to ensure the trash actually makes it to the right spot like someone else (Monk) always does.

We’re not going out every night, and seldom do so at the spur of the moment. And we cannot stay out all night for fear of dog pee. One friend’s total expenses equal half of our mortgage payment. We take turns executing weekly tasks necessary to Having a House. We look forward to a Quiet Night In after a Long Week, and lately? All the weeks have been loooong. And the Good Night In multiplies until we realize we haven’t been Out in ages (and that was just to Sister’s place for a tame evening of poker and bitter comments). And while there may at times be a crapload of beer in the fridge and a fully stocked bar in the dining room, we (almost) always have food to eat. And not of the leftover pizza variety.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this, and I’m not entirely certain that Married Life isn’t the equivalent to a single person’s Grown Up Life. It’s just all so different now than it was six years ago. Some things have grown vastly more complicated while other issues are now wonderfully simple. The routines, the excitement, the drama, the diet, the worries, the bills… Different different different. Sometimes, talking to a single friend, I hear myself sounding Married (or Grown Up!), and I realize they’ve lost interest in what I’m saying. I find I’m censoring what I share so we don’t reach that awkward point in the conversation, when it seems like we’re speaking two different languages. And then, after all the censoring, I find I have nothing entertaining to say. Instead of being on the fence about a new relationship, I’m talking about replacing our fence and enlarging the yard. A late night call used to be one that came in after midnight (and I'd still pick up the phone). Now anything after 10 p.m. is Too Late To Talk.

The quirk of it is that I am no less satisfied with my life than I was a decade ago. I’m probably more satisfied, actually, which I know is puzzling when you look at the Evidence of All the Boring, above. It’s funny how goals and priorities can change while a person can remain fundamentally the same. I would hope anyone, Single or Married, can understand that. It's really the same language, just different stories, that’s all. If you had asked me five years ago if I was ready to experience the Married Difference, I would have said hell no. But it looks alright from here, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

(So yes, the referendum banning Monk from fart jokes (in my presence) and strip club outings remains- my apologies to those waiting to run to the gossip columnists and radio stations.)

I’ve heard there occurs the same type of massive but pleasant shift when people become parents. That a lot of their “I will never” statements become a big joke and that their lifestyle, routines and priorities change even more than when they left school and/or got married; that this subtle but huge difference is not simply better or worse, just a new existence and adjustment. And I’ve heard that most people wouldn’t change it for the world. But I’m still not ready to embrace that kind of Different right now, which is why, when the pregnancy test came up negative,* I was okay with that.

*Apparently a "false negative" is possible. So that reassurance? Hasn't quite happened yet.

2 comment:

Blogger Lisa said...

Yeah it definitely sounds like you guys are ready lifestyle-wise for kids. :-)

Glad to hear the preg test came back the way you wanted it to. But yes, the first time I was pregnant, I took two tests that said "negative". The third, taken two weeks later, came back positive. So beware of cheap pregnancy tests.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous skyhawk said...

Ditto the gladness on the preg test... and I love your comment about dining at your sister's.

9:39 PM  

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