23 May 2011


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?


  1. Anonymous23.5.11

    I listen to police scanners in the evenings when Daniel is at work, so I pretty much always know where he is and who he is talking to. Makes it simpler for us to discuss his time away. I already know the main characters.

  2. london betty23.5.11

    I adore my old man beyond anything - we've been together 32 years, married for 29 of them; I have been a stay at home Mum for the most part,and then very recently he retired.
    Now we still have chick at home so there is no swanning off for the gap year travel fest that we missed out on in our 'youth'and it's early days and we still haven't really worked out the system that I'm sure we will, so wow - It's been a challenge!
    However it's never boring - and for me that's the best, most important thing. Yes we are spending pretty much 24/7 together - but we still have so much to talk about.I just hope we'll have another 32+ years to finnih our conversation!

  3. @londonbetty: The Captain just told me the other day that he'll be perfectly happy to sit quietly beside me in retirement. I think this is because our conversations are always interrupted by children! Silence is appealing.

    I am looking forward to the time when we see each other more than four hours a day-your current situation sounds great!

    @Julie: I think the scanner would make me nervous, but you're an old hand at it now. I suppose the comparison is that I send the Captain on a train to New York City everyday, where he walks through Times Square on the way to his office. On any given day, the police are out, waiting for some nut-job to try and blow the whole damn place up. I've learned to live with that, so I guess I could get used to the scanner!

  4. Well predictability isn't exactly what I would call the situation we have going on here. The military seems to think that separating something for a year and allowing the two separates to grow during that year should equal a strong family life that resumes immediately upon completion of deployment. It doesn't. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't resume and that the pieces don't find a way back together....they just hold a different shape.

    And then there's my daughter. Who would like the entire world to be predictable. And set to music. And possible animated. :)

  5. Anonymous23.5.11

    I think it's cute that he decided to try and be unpredictable.
    I'd never really given much thought to the whole 'other life' thing but you are right, I have all these relationships completely separate from my ones at home.
    As for your question...that's deep lol I'll have to think about that one.

  6. @Sarah: Sometimes I would also like life to be animated, with an awesome soundtrack. I would get a kick-ass avatar that would bring order to my chaotic, yet wildly successful life.

    Of course, in a battle, I would lose to you, because "Sensational-Single-Mom: Keeping the Home Fires Burning,and The Children Alive" totally has more power than "The Lone Woman: Overly-Procreative, and Single-Gender Oriented."
    After all, I only have myself to blame.

    You rock.


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