Monday: He gets up. I want to stay in bed but now I can’t fall back to sleep. Or, I get up and he wants to sleep, so I can’t turn on NPR.
I make myself French toast and a cappuccino and just as I’m about to sit down and enjoy reading the Times, he trots in and says, “Mm, that smells good.”
So I offer him some of my breakfast because otherwise I’d feel guily, but now I just feel hungry and my peaceful breakfast with newspaper indulgence is spoiled.
I walk the dog then return and set up outdoors to work on my laptop.
He asks if I want to bike along the river with him. I’m conflicted because a bike ride sounds great but so does my routine of working outdoors. Either way I’m screwed; I’ll regret that I may have made the wrong choice.
The day rumbles along like this with either interruptions or too many choices. Lord knows there were enough choices before he came along. On the other hand, some of the choices I used to enjoy, like walking with friends, have been reduced because of the time I spend biking and being with him.
Nighttime draws nigh and there’s the usual discussion of what, when and where to eat. He feels like going out. I always feel like eating home. He’s hungry now and wants real food; I’m not and I don’t; I just ate a chunk of dark chocolate, a handful of almonds and a large glass of milk, which you may recognize as my favorite diet tip.
I long for the Monday nights before he came along when the second I got hungry I could stand by the kitchen TV watching “The Bachelor,” while whumping down a salade nicoise.
After dinner, he wants to settle in with cops and robbers or the local news on TV, but I don’t like scary TV. Casey, who used to rest his head on my lap, jumps onto his lap.
A while later, one of us is ready to go to bed; the other isn’t. One of us wants to have sex; the other doesn’t.
He raises the thermostat. After his breathing shifts into slumber, I lower the thermostat.
Tuesday to Friday: It’s the same. (He is retired.) Except Wednesday nights I watch “Survivor” and he sulks.
Weekends aren’t all that different, but after a lifetime of conditioning, they feel different. On Saturday night, he wants to go to dinner and/or a movie. I hate noisy eating and crowded theaters. It’s a perfect night to be cozy at home.
There must be reasons people pair off into living spaces, but I can’t remember what those reasons are.
I suspect I’m missing something here. Do weigh in!
Read an excerpt from my new memoir, Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others.
LOTS ABOUT MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIPS IN MY NEW MEMOIR . . .
“A first-rate personal essayist, Susan Orlins delivers the goods time and again. Underneath her self-mocking voice, her abundant humor, her brio, there is the serious candor of a moralist who worries the problems that won’t go away.”
–PHILLIP LOPATE, author and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay
“Susan Orlins is America’s funniest neurotic since Woody Allen. Just be careful you don’t crack a rib reading Confessions of a Worrywart.”
–PATRICIA VOLK, author of Stuffed and Shocked