19 August 2009
I just spent a whirlwind weekend on Cape Cod for the Winters family reunion. The Winters are Seth's Massachusetts family on his maternal side. They had a family reunion this past weekend to honor Seth's grandmother who died recently. Seth's family has more aunts and uncles that I can even imagine. I know that his mom has at least nine siblings. Let's see who I remember and who I forget: Amy, Julie, Sean, Andy, Brenda, Katie, Barbara, Sarah, and Jenny (in no particular order), and Seth's mom Eileen...is that really it? The short time I spent with them was really amazing. I felt--and I certainly hope they would concur--like I was adopted into the family.
In the Atlantic. I think I am the palest person they have ever met.
Me, Seth, and his cousin Trevor. Don't we look like we would be good parents? The cuteness almost makes me want to have one of my own. Almost.
My favorite picture from the reunion:
The beer I am holding was definitely not my first. I was nervous at first to meet his family, but when the roofer uncle with a mouth like a truck-driver squeezes you in a tight bear hug, you know you've made it.
The thing about being around your partner's family is that it allows you to see so many things about your own relationship. I think the fundamental different between Seth and me comes down to volume: he's loud and I'm quiet.
Seth is the oldest of 6 children. In his house, if you're not yelling then you're not really talking. I come from a smaller family. My dad grew up with one sister and my mom is an only child. I don't have uncles and aunties. In my family, if your anger brims to the point of yelling, it usually precipitates a call to the police (yes, it has happened - on more than one occasion).
The matter of volume permeates other aspects of our relationship too. It's not JUST volume, it's talking in general. Seth says I don't emote. I think it just takes a little more to coax it out of me. I spent a lot of time alone as a child and although I am prone to random bouts of talking to myself around the house on occasion, for the most part the only sound you hear when I am home alone is Tula chewing on a bone. When Seth isn't here I don't turn on the TV and I listen to music through headphones. A passerby wouldn't have any reason to believe anyone was home if it weren't for the glow of the lights through the window.
Taking care of Tula by myself suddenly alerted me to my own silence. I got to thinking about how much Seth must talk to her when they are home together. But I had nothing to say. So I started to give her a play-by-play of my every move: Tula, daddy's oiling the cutting board now. Do you want to watch him? Daddy's gong to wash the dishes. Tula, daddy's going into the other room now, you should follow. Tula, I'm going to sit on the couch. Would you like to sit next to me? Tula, daddy's going to use the restroom. Tula, daddy's going to put some ice in a glass and then some water. And then daddy's going to drink it.
It wasn't long before we both felt ridiculous. Tula will just have to get used to living with a mute for the next couple of days.
09 August 2009
I made omelets all weekend last week. Taylor was away at his high school reunion, and I went on this egg kick. I’m too embarrassed to mention how many eggs I ate in 3 days. My standard included onion, cheddar, sliced turkey and a little freshly diced tomato thrown on at the very end. In the future, I’ll take pictures of these things-my apologies.
Focusing on certain foods is not new to me. Duration varies greatly, however. I nurtured a macaroni and cheese infatuation for nearly three months when I was younger, but my affair with smoked oysters only lasted for a week. Right now I can’t stop making chef’s salads. I think I’ve had four in the past 5 days. I usually use the same big blue plastic bowl in my kitchen, fill it with lettuce, veggies, ham, and grated cheddar, throw on some buttermilk ranch dressing and dig in. Yes folks, this is my life. Envy me.
This evening’s salad time was much anticipated. I’m still nursing a bit of a hangover from the night before and all I’ve been able to do all day is eat. I had just settled onto the couch, and was letting the Pos-T-Vac commercial on tv whet my appetite. Call me crazy, but watching pre-niors frolic outside and talk about the life-changing power of putting your dick in a tiny vacuum sure makes me hungry.
Somewhere amidst the dressing dripping from my fork and the man on the screen beaming with his arm around a gremlin of a woman (now the tube makes sense given his alternative orifice) it dawned on me that everything about that moment was ME. That is, if I could find a way to truly and accurately capture everything about that one instant, I’d be able to possess my concentrated essence. The strange universal order and contentment precipitated by the same meal day after day and the same shitty entertainment and the same set of habits I’ve cultivated made things so clear for a second or two.
The immediate follow-up to this was a tidal wave of anxiety and this weird pang of shame. Did I just have a capital m Moment over diced ham? This is by no means the most glamorous or fantastic…all right it’s probably the most boring excerpt from my life I can think of. Shouldn’t I have been somewhere else, doing something, anything else? What about last week when I did that nine-mile hike? That would have been an inspiring moment for transcendence to occur; out in nature, astride some modest creek or something. Not now, sitting on the couch in a t-shirt, underwear and slippers with my dog standing in the corner of the room eating a dust bunny.
But it is what it is. I managed to find something in the monotony of eggs and oysters and chef’s salad. As much as we want to we can’t choose the moments when we are going to be honest with ourselves.
You take what you can get.