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Monday, April 25, 2011

C Minus

My wife went away to Providence to visit her family this weekend, and I walked through our house as one who wanders vacantly and purposeless.

That's not completely true -- it's partially true -- and, besides, it sounded poetic as fuck.

I was, I'll admit, a little lost. Not lost in the way that you'd expect a traditional, stereotypical American husband to be "lost" without his wife, in that I didn't shrink all the laundry, I didn't blow up the microwave, and I didn't forget to shower, eat, or go to work. Yeah-- this was my weekend to work, and I think that's probably for the best. Had she gone away and left me alone with no scheduled activities or responsibilities, I might have fallen apart. But we'll never know.


I don't know about you, but I engage in rather a lot of self-critique -- of my writing, of my habits, of the random shit I say to people throughout the day, of my so-called "performance." I guess it's natural for a recovering theatre-major to evaluate his/her performance. And it's not so much, "Was that thing I said to that person at 2:35pm funny, or was it misconstrued?" (although I definitely do that kind of micro bullshit analysis, too) but it's much more of a self check-in -- like, "How'd I do today?"

Was I effective as an employee and a coworker?

Was I a good husband, son, brother, friend today?

Did I utilize my time in a manner that brings shame and embarrassment to me, or was my time utilized efficiently, appropriately, and rationally?

Really-- I'm not German. I swear.

On a grading scale, using the Bell Curve and points for extra-credit, I'd give myself the Weekend Without my Wife grade of C-.

First of all, I broke Passover -- on Friday night. It felt salacious and inappropriate and almost like an act of infidelity. And, what's even worse: I broke Passover at my parents' house. When I walked into the dining room, there was matzah on the table. I was relieved. Then they brought out toasted bread.

"But..." I mumbled. Then, the main course came out.

Shrimp. And pasta.

Then there were Snickerdoodle cookies for dessert. It was the unholiest, unkosherist, fuck God up his asshole till it bleeds bloody yeast dinner.


And I ate it lustily, and even had leftover shrimpies for lunch the next day.

So that... wasn't good.

I was very good at the working part of the weekend. I did my usual thing, was very effective and compassionate and funny and it was a successful weekend at work -- so that bumped my score up significantly.

Then, the night came. As Mark Twain once wrote, we are "never quite sane in the night." Well, that's me. Without my buddy here, without the activities in which we engage when the sun goes down (oh, shut up, you pervy child), I was most definitely lost. Saturday night was an utter befuddlement. It was as if my face was attached to the computer monitor. I blogged. I watched porn. I flitted time away on Facebook. I ate dinner at the computer, which struck me as incredibly pathetic, even though it was normalized behavior back in college.

Then, I tried to watch "The Wire," which I had never seen before. I made that my status on FB and was inundated with inane comments from people I haven't heard from in ten years, leading me to come to the conclusion that I ought never to mention anything popular on Facebook ever again. Three minutes into Episode 2, Season 1, the DVD crapped out. Twice. Utterly frustrated, I stared at the floor for twenty minutes before deciding to fold the two bag's worth of laundry that I'd done earlier in the evening.

Oh, and I vacuumed, too.

In John Irving's "The Cider House Rules," the character Candy says that she is "just no good at being alone." I suppose I'm not either. Not quite co-dependent-- just not so good at being alone. I get out-of-order, unfamiliar, unpleasant. I also get ashamed. Why wasn't I picking up the phone calling people I know and haven't seen for a while to get together? Was I afraid they'd brush me off?

Was I afraid they wouldn't?

I actually did search for concerts or plays to go to Saturday night -- but nothing piqued my interest. I feel like I actually would have gone to hear a singer-songwriter or see a show by myself, but I can't imagine I would have enjoyed it very much. Besides, who would I have made fun of people with on the way home?

So, all things considered, I gave myself a C-. I've done worse, of course, and I'm not particularly ashamed of that grade, to be honest. In many ways, I think I kind of expected it. Fortunately, my buddy's back. And I feel some grade inflation coming on.


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