The Captain and I went out to dinner last night, with his friend from work and her husband. We drove through a torrential downpour, which I thought might portend the end of days, but felt better when I saw no flying bodies. We arrived no worse for wear, and sat at the bar to wait for Elle and Nick. The Captain ordered a Stella Artois beer. I almost checked for a zipper down his spine, certain that his body had been snatched.
At some point this year, the Captain overreacted to one of my comments about his personal habits. One day, I had to drive to the train station to get something out of his car, so I asked him to tell me where he was parked. When he indicated it was the same space every day, I said, "Of course it is." He took offense to my tone, and has since set about proving he can be unpredictable. He now parks his car in a different spot each day. He orders fancy beer instead of Heineken. It's silly. His predictability is one of his most endearing qualities. He's the very definition of steadfast. After all, he's been with me for twenty-five years, and his company for twenty-three.
The Captain and Elle have worked together for twenty years. They are friends, who have amassed a lifetime of memories that are distinct from the ones I share with my husband. I find this fascinating. Each day he leaves the house, and has a whole other life separate from the one we have created. Of course, he tells me about it, and I've met some of the people he works with, and they all know about me and the boys. But every once in a while, like last night at dinner, it strikes me that he spends more waking hours each week away from me, with people whose faces I will never know.
In contrast, I have never had a career. Jobs, yes. Part-time, mostly. The Captain has always known where I am, and who I am with, because it's usually the children. This year, as I've reached out across the internet, and gone off to conference, he's had a glimpse of my experience with his career. I wonder if he finds it all unpredictable and worrisome, or if he can send me off to "virtual" work everyday with the same confidence I have in him.
How much detail, or daily interaction, do you need to feel like you really know someone?