I’d no intention of writing tonight. None; zero; zilch. Why, until an hour ago, I was face down, ankles up on the couch. I passed the hell out.
Leave it to an errant snore and a hungry cavy to wake one up. I snorted loudly, and he started screaming for his evening veggies. Curious creatures, these guinea pig monsters. They aren’t really pigs, nor are they in any way from Guinea. This guy doesn’t know geography, and he can literally squeal like a young, stuck pig.
Why do people eat pork for Easter, anyway? On principle that’s just effing weird. I mean, Jesus was Jewish, so what makes more sense that to celebrate by having a non-kosher meal?
As I was saying – I’d no intention of writing. I’ve been rather tired of late, in large fault of my own. I fiddle around after I write these. I poke at the internet like a stick-wielding child against a beehive. I play a video game. I read a book. By the time three in the morning rolls around, I pass out.
I’m used to this – the long nights. I’d get home around ten at night, while Rae is climbing in for bed. For the next four hours, I’d have carte blanche around the house, until I zonk out. With my getting home the same time every afternoon now, I’m finally acclimating to actually living with someone.
Look: that probably sounds strange to you. Eleven years together, I know, but, nine of those – that’s roughly four fifths of the time we’ve been together – I’ve been working odd or alternating shifts. We were glorified roommates until four weeks ago.
When I tell people I’ve gotten to know my wife more in the past four weeks than in the past four years, I’m not kidding. Figure this: we’d spend, on average, two hours a day together. This is being in actual, close, physical proximity, not just squirreled away in the kitchen. In a four week timeframe, that’s about 56 hours together, recapping our respective time apart from each other the rest of the day. Or, as it usually happened, I’d be too damned exhausted to do more than grunt and shrug.
Removing the week off, let’s figure we’re now up to at least six hours a day – one in the morning, five at night, 168 hours in four weeks. See that discrepancy?
Where was I? – oh, right, long nights. So, I’m used to the long nights, and I’m still trying to get those in to boot. Not surprising that a monstrous headache come out of nowhere this afternoon, leaving me curled on the couch in a fetal position for the hour it took the Excedrin to kick in.
Every day presents new challenges, but this is one I haven’t had to deal with in ages: how do I live with someone else? How do I share that common space that is normally mine or hers, depending on the time of day? How do I politely say I want to play video games for a few hours? We have a nice tv, and I don’t like hogging it, but, we have a nice tv. How do I expand beyond the little happy bubble I live in when I’m bumming around here on my own, and actually take into account that I’m not the only person here? Is it polite for me to say I’m going to ignore you for two hours while I read? Then there are issues such as the other person would like me to stop staring at facebook and help with the laundry (a valid claim: much of it is mine, after all). This doesn’t even scratch how much of a pain in the ass I’ve been to her these past few weeks, but I hope it conveys enough of it.
The bottom line, though, is that I’m getting to spend time with someone. Not just someone: someone I cared enough to be around that, by my own will, I am contractually obligated to do so in the 48 contiguous states of America, and the District of Colombia. Alaska’s close enough to Russia that I could run, if need be. As for Hawaii, all I have to say is Phillipino ladyboy. Seriously, it’s an outpatient thing.
Jokes aside, it’s been great. The biggest surprise (and, until this post, have done a great job keeping it to myself), is realizing all that she does in a day. Between work and working out, odd jobs around the house, actual jobs around the house, I really had little to no indication of it. She had rarely complained about it, and it’s not exactly topical conversation.
“I cleaned the bathroom today,” she’d tell me while I’m shuffling about the kitchen putting together dinner. Or, sitting, off my feet, zoning out from a long day. Or, just zoning out in general.
“That’s nice, dear.”
“Toilet’s all yours, though. Last time we eat at that taqueria,” she’d say.
“That’s nice dear.”
“There’s a human arm in the ice box. I ripped it off some homeless guy trying to clean my windshield, and instead washed my car in the blood of the innocent.”
“That’s nice dear.”
This. Nine years of this. I really feel like I’ve wasted so much time – so much of her time. I’m not going to be a cheesy git and ask forgiveness. It was a means to an end, and that means is at its end.
I can hope that she’ll deal with me being a little thick as I try to rediscover social interaction inside my own home, and with my constantly being in her way, but the only thing I have to do about the past nine years, is to not make that choice again. Not making the choice to be a workaholic ten to twelve hours a day, for a take home that barely resembled it. Resisting the choice to stay at a job where margins were valued over employees. Putting an end to the choice to spend all of my energy at a job, barely mustering two coherent hours on nights where we would have time together. The choice to work seven day weeks, twelve to fifteen hours each day, during the time of year she needed companionship the most.
If my desire to write shortly after being woken from my sleep tonight is any indication, I’d say the changes in the choices I make are starting to become some supreme habits. Fortunately, after all these years, I don’t need a habit to love her: I just do.