Thursday, February 25, 2016

And it's true that I stole your lighter. And it's also true that I lost the map...

Last night I went out with my friend Victoria to see Elephant Revival (who opened for Josh Ritter). They were spectacular. Really talented musicians, all of them, and Bonnie Paine has kind of an otherworldly voice.

I have some unabashedly poor taste in music but I also have some excellent taste, and they are far and away on the good taste end of the spectrum. Go listen to them!

Victoria is friends with the band members, and as such, she introduced me and we talked after they played. (We went backstage, like, no big deal. Me, I've never hung out with a band in my life. Yeah, so we were hanging out with the band...)

Anyway. They are lovely, intelligent, normal people, who don't just stand around being attractive and band-like, whatever that might mean. They chat with you and even ask you questions about yourself.

One of them asked me what it's like being married.

I don't think I'd ever been asked that. It took me briefly aback. What's being married like?

So I said I find it very stable and comfortable and solid, and because of that, sometimes tedious and dull. I said that the best and the hardest parts of being married, for me, are having children. Because you don't have enough time to enjoy the person you decided to marry.

What I didn't say was that I used to be a huge grass-is-greener person. Always sure I'd be so much happier over there. Or with that person. Or...or...or. It took me a long time to understand that I was just terribly unhappy with myself. Because you can move cities and even countries, and you can change boyfriends and jobs. You can keep yourself busy, frantic, off-kilter, moving to the next thing, and then getting there and being unhappy. You can break the hearts of others. You can break your own heart multiple times.

You can do this over and over. I did this for a very long time. And then, at some point, you stop and realize that you are your own problem. Or anyway, I did. With help.

Fortunately, by the time I met Nick, I had stopped being so much of my own problem.

Which is not to say that sometimes, which Nick and I are not getting along, I don't think I'd have a more fabulous existence somewhere else, or with an old boyfriend. I have fleeting moments where I think about how much more X and I would probably travel, or how much more Y and I might laugh.

But I cannot actually imagine how the film reel of not being married to Nick and being with someone else would play out. I'm not even trying to create that movie.

It's really just when I'm mad, frustrated, sad, I sometimes see quick snapshots of my alternate life, in which I'm having more fun.

Now I know how these thoughts work, however. I don't know if you ever read that book The Bridges of Madison County? It made me cry and cry (admittedly, I was in a bad place when I read it), and then really made me mad.

Because anyone can be The One if you only spend three days with them while your husband is at the county fair or wherever it is he went. It's life and living and dealing with the prosaic details and growing together that's the hard part. And also, in the end, the good, glue-you-together part.

When I conjure up my past, we're always smiling, traveling, doing something fabulous, having a great time. It's never raining. Or annoying. Or boring.
Which, I mean, come on. And really, who knows?

The other night I told Nick that none of my old boyfriends had ear hair and he said, "They do now."

So, yah.


Tell me about it.