Out Californee Way
May 20, 2008
My Internet died yesterday morning, very suddenly, but I didn't think it was anything unusual -- I get bumped off our wireless router occasionally and it's never anything some random plug-jiggling or power-cycling won't fix -- but yesterday was different. I couldn't get back on. I power-cycled everything from the router to my laptop to the refrigerator two rooms over and still, no Internet. I sent some frantic emails from my iPhone -- helpless-sounding ones to my husband ("can I like...plug something into the wall? all old school and shit? does the Internet still sometimes work like that?") and profanity-laden ones to everybody else ("MAH LIMBS HAVE BEEN REMOVED! I NEED WIKIPEDIA! ALSO HOW DO YOU SPELL SCHADENFREUDE?")
And then my phone's internet capabilities died in the late afternoon, as if a black cloud of non-connectivity had settled over the entire house, and I was completely lost and unable to find anything to amuse myself with, so I watched the Food Network and attempted to reboot the router once every 3.218 minutes, just in case that suddenly did anything.
Finally I managed to find an actual network cable in our basement and plugged it in and voila! Internet! Provided I didn't move more than two-and-a-half feet away from the router, which is...not near any chairs. I pulled up a chair and sat down and prepared to make up for all the lost hours ("BLOG BLOG BLOG JEZEBEL GOOGLE NEWS FARK BLOG ADDICTIVE FLASH GAME BLOG") but found myself just staring at a blank Typepad page in bafflement. I couldn't write anything. I was stuck. That damn network cable was strangling the flow of ideas and this chair was uncomfortable and not my normal blogging couch and anyway, that's why I never got around to writing a follow-up to Friday's entry and all the awesome comments and responses, because all I could finally think to write was a tantrum about not having Internet, and I felt you deserved more than that.
The Internet mysteriously started working again 30 seconds before Jason got home and has been fine ever since, which: obviously, because how else could you be reading THIS tantrum about now having Internet, i.e. exactly what I just said I could have written yesterday but didn't but MY POINT IS, I'm really not getting much sleep lately.
So I don't really feel like I'm at my sharpest or wittiest these days, and I've been struggling to come up with a response to Melissa's comment:
But also, this really scares me. I'm a lawyer, fiance is a lawyer, we both work long hours, and no way we can work these hours once we decide to have kids. It's clear I'll be the one to cut back the most (although he'll frankly have to as well, because seriously, we were both up until 4am working last night). Anyway, your comments about staying home and its effect on your opinion of yourself scare me. Your comments about feeling like you're always working to meet deadlines but yet you feel like a drain on the finances scare me. Comments about it not occurring to him to put the kid to bed or brush the babies teeth scare me. And the 345 comments agreeing with you scare me. I don't want to resent myself. Or my husband. I don't want to feel like I can't go to as many happy hours as him b/c what I do isn't as important. But I look at you and everyone else and it seems like it's simply inevitable? Scary.
Dude, I know, right? It IS scary. It scared the ever-loving shit out of me three, four, five years ago. It scared the shit out of me Thursday night, while I sat at Chipotle alone, both relishing the damn LUXURY of sitting alone while also feeling a tad terrified at my aloneness -- what if Jason and I ever had a really big fight? What if there was ever a fight where I wasn't sure of an inevitable resolution and calm apology from both sides? What if he cheated? What if he left me? What would I do? I mean, screw the heartbreak and all that shit, what would I do? How would I pay bills, rent, car payments?
(I would like to remind everyone that I got myself into this state all because he DIDN'T BRING HOME A BURRITO LIKE I WANTED. Menfolk, please take note of Exhibit A of the Female Mind and FEED US ACCORDINGLY.)
I'm just gonna take a deep breath and toss this out there now: our marriage almost ended once. Years and years ago, long before Noah. We got through it, obviously, but...it was bad. Awful. We never talk about it and yet I know neither of us will forget it, and we both blame ourselves for letting things get to that point. We got married young. We grew up and apart. We settled into a day-to-day roommate rut before we were out of our mid-20s. We were always working late, he was always in meetings and too busy to talk, then we got home and watched TV and went to bed and then woke up the next day to jockey silently for the shower and he'd go back to work and meetings and I would go back to work where a married guy friend lavished me with email and IM attention all day and we would go out for lunch and listen to my stories and make me laugh and whatever, we were FRIENDS and he was MARRIED and SO NOT MY TYPE, ANYWAY. Then Jason would IM me during the day to remind me to pick up the dry-cleaning.
No, I didn't cheat on Jason or have any type of physical affair, thank GOD, but the betrayal was still there. I didn't really want the other man who was sending me text messages on my phone, but...I liked the text messages. I liked feeling like I was interesting and new and someone you looked forward to seeing in the evenings, regardless of whether or not I remembered to bring home the dry-cleaning. Those are all hard requests to articulate -- sort of like Emily's story about her husband bringing home flowers after she asked for flowers but that's not really the point because...uh...I want you to want to bring me flowers. Or something like that. It felt easier at the time to just disengage from my marriage than to save it.
When the situation finally became officially Ugly and Ultimatum-Like, Jason looked me in the eyes and grabbed my hands and told me that I was worth fighting for.
And I was shocked, because never in my life have I felt like such a bad, worthless person.
And all that happened when we didn't have children, when I worked and showered everyday and got promotions and bonuses and plenty of sleep.
I guess I'm telling this story just to say...it's ALWAYS SCARY. None of us want our relationships to fall apart or be anything different than they are on the glowy day of the proposal or wedding or when you first collapse on a mattress on the floor of your first home, surrounded by paint cans and champagne glasses and dreams of coming home to candlelit dinners and one day gently laying your newborn in a crib in the spare bedroom.
Jason and I talked a lot about what happened on Thursday. I plagiarized y'all copiously -- I hope you don't mind -- using Kara's stomach flu analogy to explain my rocky relationship with food and Starbuck's assurance that we are simply in the most financially draining time of our life, no way around it, but it's not forever. I connected the dots between his 3 pm "oh I'm going to happy hour, won't be late" email with the fact that a girl's night out for me gets planned a month in advance if at all, and that his recent suggestion that we just go "a couple months" without a second car after the lease is up was just salt in my already-isolated, never-leave-the-house, its-not-like-YOU-have-anywhere-to-be wound. It was a good talk, one that we needed to have, all very calm and therapeutic and we baked a batch of chocolate-chip cookies while we talked.
At some point, however, the self-mockery many of you gently chastised me for on Friday reared its ugly head and I jokingly said something like, "I promise I won't ALWAYS be this much of a drain!"
This made him put down the spatula and step away from the stove in shock. He looked me in the eyes and grabbed my hands and told me I wasn't a drain, he has never thought that, not once.
So yes,it's scary. You put your faith in the other person to not cheat on you or hurt you. You let them make the mortgage payments while you pursue a law degree or a writing career or stay home and raise the children. You trust them to celebrate your successes and to always be on your side and to never hurt your feelings in public. To forgive you when you mess up. To put up with you even when you're driving each other ABSOLUTELY CRAZY ABOUT <UNRELATED TOPIC>. And to remember that you are worth it, worth talking to, worth fighting for.
And likewise, you promise to remember that they're worth it all too, and to take a deep breath sometimes and just let yourself get a little speechless over the loveliness of your imperfect, frustrating, wouldn't-change-it-for-a-billion-dollars life.