... and I find a text file I saved many years ago. The date stamp on the file claims Aug 11 1999 but I wouldn't be at all surprised to the learn the original is older. I don't know who wrote it or where I found it, but it's one of my all-time favorite stories.
Subject: Married Life
A friend once asked me what was so great about being married. He asked at a bad time, though. It was during one of those marital blips couples occasionally experience. You know, the ones where you ponder how much more pleasant your life would be if you could turn your S.O. into a diffenbachia for a while.
Now I think I have an answer for him.
There's a lot to be said for knowing and being known intimately and well by someone and for being accepted by that person, no matter what. This can be illustrated by a particular personal experience, which I will now relate:
Said S.O. and I went out for dinner recently. We wanted to catch the baseball play-off game on TV later, so we decided to eat at a cafeteria-style place because it was quicker. In front of us in line was this other couple. They began to eavesdrop on our conversation. I suspect this because the woman dropped her purse precisely as I said the words "mucus plug." (I was filling S.O. in on recent message board topics). When I got around to mentioning the Comfort Food Killing Field thread and Suicidal Fungi, Purse woman was practically standing on top of the elderly couple in front of her to get as far away from us as possible.
On the way home after dinner, we stopped by the store for some milk, cereal, and sundries. S.O. went in. I stayed in the car, rolled the window down, and tuned the radio to NPR. It had been a rough week and I was wound pretty tightly, so I was really enjoying breathing in the cool fall air and listening to Garrison expound on the Moral Imperatives inherent in Ball canning jars and Lutheran's problems openly discussing the virginity of olive oil. As happens sometimes, my ticklebox got turned over. I began to laugh so hard I was almost weeping. Then, in one of those weird cosmic occurrences, I looked up to see Purse Woman sitting in the car directly across from me. She was watching my small breakdown. I thought she appeared rather pale. She saw me spy her and froze.
How to explain my behavior next? The devil whispered in my ear, I guess. That or I was silly with stress and the release from laughing so hard. Anyhow, I felt a perverse desire to have some fun.
I made a great show of reaching over, while never taking my eyes off the woman, and locking each one of my car doors in turn. She visibly swelled up and got all huffy, you could see it. Then she locked her doors. I figured the gauntlet had been thrown. I kept staring at her. After about a minute, I see her reach for something. She begins furiously punching numbers into a cell phone. Across the parking lot, I see my S.O. coming towards the car. Knowing we're about to leave, I decide to go for broke. Still staring at Purse Woman, I launch into my best monkey imitation, jumping up and down and waving my arms and making monkey sounds -- the whole bit. The car is actually rocking back and forth with my efforts. Purse Woman now has a Vulcan death grip on the cell phone. She's practically screaming into it, while trying to both NOT look at me and keep an eye on me at the same time.
So, there we are. She's yelling, I'm Oooh-Oooh-Ooohing for all I'm worth, and up walks the S.O. What does he do? Why, nothing, except calmly reach into a grocery bag and hand me a banana. Purse woman blinks once or twice and almost drops the phone. Her mouth hangs open. Thinking how much I love this man, I take the banana from him and start peeling it as we leave.
As we're pulling out of the parking lot, a companionable silence settles over us, allowing the sounds of crickets chirping outside to be heard. They sound like a benediction of sorts. My beloved says "I suppose one day you'll have an explanation for that." I reply: "Not really." S.O. that he is, he accepts this, and we drive off into the autumn dusk together.
So, I say to you: Marriage is good.