Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Sometimes, when the junk mail is particularly abundant in the mailbox, I have a vision of myself expiring under a mound of it in my living room, starving to death because I can't reach the kitchen. It only gets worse if there's a magazine or catalog that I actually want to see because I know that it won't just get dumped in the recycling and taken out once a week. No, it will take up residence on my desk until I weeks later when I finally tire of the Marketing Mound (TM) and notice that 80% of those catalogs on my desk have expired. As a reformed packrat, it's one of my pet peeves that the paper still wins sometimes, no matter how hard I try to say, "it's not important to keep this." It's no good saying that if it is, in fact, important to keep the paper in question.

I realized a while back that this same anxiety can carry over into my marriage. Sometimes, when I've spent hours away from Hubster and all I want is to spend my evening enjoying his company just as soon as he sets foot in the door, I seem to pre-emptively slide into a bad mood because I know that life will get in the way. If it's not the bills that have to be discussed and then paid or the dishes that need to be done, it's the exercise time we want to take for ourselves and that new blog post which will suck me in for an hour. I even look at church activities and hanging out with friends like that, and it's obviously crazy to think that the rest of life is unimportant next to him, but when I miss him enough, my priorities get a little wonky.

On the couple-time vs. other-time spectrum, I get to spend quite a bit of time with Hubster. I don't know why it happens that one workday away can do this to me, but I guess it's the paperwork again - it's that life is populated by activities that are necessary evils. They may get in the way of other activities, but they must be done, just like getting bills is necessary even if getting spam isn't.

On good days, I overcome the paper. I control it, organize it, weed out the crap, and keep the important stuff for saving money, clothing myself, or learning something useful. On bad days, I dawdle through the pages of a catalog which I have no intention of patronizing, and I keep the coupons for the Chinese restaurant we're never going to try. On good days, I spend a few minutes talking with him when he gets home. He sets out for his run and gets back to shower, and I cook and read blogs or books while dinner simmers. We enjoy dinner together, snarking over some TV show or a recent news item.

On bad days, I let my angst help me pick a fight and get upset at him over real or imagined wrongs. I dawdle over making dinner while noticing his disinterest in me or in helping out with dinner acutely. I let the anxiety that attacks when there's paper disorder attack me anew when I feel our relationship in disorder and I don't know what to say or do to get back to a better place.

I usually sleep through this ritual, but a few weeks back, Hubster bids me goodbye before leaving for work in the morning, and he hugged me for a bit longer and kissed me a couple of times and seemed to want to stay there with me. I noticed (through the groggy haze of awakening) but never mentioned how sweet that was. I never said anything about it. I feel like that's a missed opportunity to keep the "paperwork" of life at bay. It's a way to take the drudgery and be master over it. And maybe I'm doing just that, sitting at my desk, focused on it and not on how messy the bedroom is. And maybe it just reminds me how far I have to go before I relish my relationship and don't let the paperwork it engenders drain the joy out of it.

1 comment:

Mair said...

My dearest friend - this is brilliant. You must be a philosopher with those sweet analogy skills. I want you to know, you are absolutely normal in this regard. I do the exact same thing with my marriage relationship. (Ok, maybe it just so happens that we are both radically abnormal, but I doubt it.) It's good that you realize it and can work to control it and it's ok if sometimes you freak out about all the necessary evils. And it's a good thing that we both have amazing husbands who want to spend time with us (realize that this is not a universal phenomenon).

Anyway, I really like this post. You are amazing. Come visit me NOW because I miss you. hehe.