When I was young, I wondered about marriage. The thought occurred to me that once you make that decision, you are planning to be with that person the rest of your life. It was an overwhelming prospect to me. I am someone who needs alone time and when I spend too much time with anyone in close proximity, I feel - well - overwhelmed.
But I made that decision in 1985, and I have had no regrets.
What is amusing to me lately is how two people with different temperaments can successfully live together.
D is very calm. He ended one of his famous humorous newsletters with "what me, worry?" and I thought yep that's him. I, on the other hand, worry about everything. If anything can possibly go wrong, I've envisioned it in my head. That old anxiety gets worse as I get older. I used to think I would get calmer as I aged, but the opposite seems to be true.
I am also a person who tends to rush through things, including, sadly, life in general. While I don't plan to view life this way, it's like there's never enough time for me.
In the past few years, I've discovered that gardening can slow me down. I can putter around and it's ok. But there's still that part of me that's urging me to come on, hurry up, get this done.
And maybe this whole gardening thing is a way to look at our life together.
My brother owns a flower and vegetable seed company. He asked me what kind of seeds I wanted and I told him pole beans. I knew nothing about pole beans. I did a little internet research and learned they grow tall and need something tall like a pole (hence the name, I guess), for the plant to wind itself around. So I got my seeds in the mail. There were no instructions, because my brother's company sends to professional growers (I do not fit into that category). So after waiting weeks to find a guy who would actually show up to rototill the garden (another topic for another day), we were ready to plant. I was ready to just dig in the garden and plant the seeds. D, on the other hand, had to approach this in his slow, methodical way. He got on the internet and told me there was conflicting information. Some sites said the beans need sun; some said the beans need shade. He was standing there telling me about this dilemma and I just said "plant the damn things already." And thinking about our exchange later, with a smile, I realized how different our temperaments are.
The other night at dinner we decided to go to a nursery to get a few more vegetable plants. We weren't sure when the nursery closed, but we guessed 8:00. So after dinner, I was ready, but D was doing his usual "stuff." My son describes it as "dad's gotta do his rituals." He has to find his eyedrops, which is usually a 5 minute search. Then his wallet. Then he always tends to find a million things to do when it's time to leave. So this night, D started his rituals. It fills me with anxiety to wait for him, so I sat down at the computer to kill some time. Time went by. I waited. Finally at 7:35, I said "uh, I think we need to get moving" and he said "I've been waiting for you!" and I said "I've been waiting for you!" And if I could count how many times we have exchanged these very words, it would be a very large number.
We arrived at the nursery at 7:55. There were only 2 cars in the lot. We walked in and asked the three guys standing there, clearly anxious to leave, when they closed. "8:00" said the older one. I think the younger ones would have said "we're closed" had the older guy not been there. I said "we can do this in 5 minutes." It was a challenge. We had to get our bodies past the rows of racks of flowers they had pulled together in anticipation of closing. We each picked out a vegetable plant. We just needed one more thing - mulch. I said to D "grab a bag of mulch." Which is what I would have done. Well, there were about 20 varieties of mulch. And D stood there in front of those bags and said "I don't know what to pick." I stood there tapping my foot, knowing the guys who worked there were ready to kill us. D asked the older guy "what works best on vegetables?" and the older guy responded "they will all do fine on vegetables." OK, that would have been the time when I would have checked the prices and grabbed the cheapest bag. Not D. He stood there, looking at each bag.
We finally got out of there. It took more than the 5 minutes; I had prided myself on meeting that deadline.
And then there's the other thing that they say is the number one cause of conflict with couples: finances. If I had my way, we would save every penny. If D had his way, we would spend every penny. Somehow, some way, we have reached a medium that is probably where we should be. If D had to say the words heard most from me during our life together, it would have to be "I don't know how you think we have money for this." Well the ultimate irony happened the other day - we had moved a loan from one bank to another, and the new bank did a credit check and sent us their results. And would you believe D's credit score was higher than mine? The frivolous one gets the better grade?!!! Geez.