I am not a particularly nice man.
I'm not a particularly bad man, either, but generally I talk too much, my opinions are often rude, and I am caustic and immediate in my judgements. I am a fairly sloppy dresser, tend to disrespect authority and pretty much everything else, for that matter. I have been, by turns, a bad employee, an angry and difficult husband, a disobedient son and a faithless friend. While I have also been a loving father, a caring and affectionate spouse, a genuine pal, a diligent and responsible wage-earner, a sharply competent professional and a compassionate family member, this just balances the scale against the Bad Stuff.
Put both sides together and I'm about right on the mean for human attributes. Half devil, half angel, fully human, I guess.
What I do own; what I have a complete lock, 100% pure-D monopoly on, is what you'd call "survivability". I'm just hardwired for survival. Something in me just doesn't want to die. You can kill me as easily as any other human, but my mind and body won't work with you on that.
I'm the guy, if I were in one of those 1980's made-for-TV movies, you know where the airliner goes down in the Andes and the wretched survivors, after spending endless, grueling days freezing, starving and dying of thirst finally feed off the corpses of the victims and, eventually, each other, gets hauled up to the rescue helicopter as the credits roll, burping gently?
I'm that guy.
I'm the guy who rolls past the four-car fatal accident with a glance and a grimace. Whose reaction to the explosion that destroys the office block around him is to ensure that he gets his expense receipts out of the drawer ahead of the fire. Who walks into the barracks room where the privates are watching "Faces of Death XIV: Too Gruesome For Anyone!" munching a burrito and exclaims amid the retching "Hey! I didn't know my old buddy and my girlfriend knew HOW to work a videocam!"
Note: this is NOT a good thing.
For one thing, it makes it difficult for me to be truly human and truly empathetic. I am not good with the sick and the grieving, and I have an unpleasantly distant reaction to hurt and loss, more a longing sort of mild regret than truly tearing grief. I'm missing something very essential, some emotional accessibility that my system just doesn't have.
It works, in terms that it makes me a very emotionally and physically durable person. But there is something very...needed, missing in me to obtain this, and I am the poorer, the less...human...for it.
My beloved Mojo is, if anything, the exact opposite. When she gets hurt, or sick, she collapses. Grief and anger and worry tear at her.She has been depressive, clinically depressive, and has suffered through torments after the loss of our first child, and after the disruption of our first adoption, that I can literally not imagine.She also tends to "break down": she neglects herself, and her body takes its revenge by shutting down. If I were in the middle of a massive emotional crisis, my mind and body would force me to stop and eat, take a drink, nap. Mojo will push herself beyond that point and, finally, collapse.
Six years ago today we enjoyed a wonderful, joyous, splendid day.
The wedding we crafted and celebrated together, complete with our own vows, music, the celebrant of our choice, a reception at our beloved Overlook House catered by our favorite taqueria - we still mourn that they didn't feel okay with doing it out of the taco truck; we wanted a picture of Mojo in her wedding dress lined up with the other guests at the curb - and a honeymoon at one of our most secretive B&Bs.
It was, for lack of a better word, magical, full of the love we feel for each other with all of our friends around us.
Poor Mojo was so wired and so excited she literally forgot to eat ALL DAY.
Okay, I think she had two bites of wedding cake. Three. Tops.
So as we were leaving the B&B to get dinner that night her blood sugar crashed and so did she. We ended up eating at the first place we could get to, a NW Portland Cantonese greasy stick, nearly got our car towed away, and Mojo slept for the next ten hours straight. Ah, youth! Ah, romance!Ah, real life. It's SO not like a Hugh Grant romcom.
Fortunately, Mojo hates La Grant.
So I should have guessed that when my love said she had a headache last evening it wasn't just a figure of speech. We had spent a long, busy day, she'd been socializing and sipping wine and mommying and not eating or hydrating right. She didn't take her medication on time. So the poor girl crashed into a hideous migraine; we spent all morning at the doctor's office and she's knocked out in bed upstairs as I type this, a victim of our anniversary tradition of Mojolicious' distress.
I'm sorry, lovey, that you feel so poorly, and that I am so distressingly chipper. I hope you feel better soon.
But on this day of iron and chocolate, I will whisper into your sleeping ear:
Now, as in Tullia's tomb, one lamp burnt clear,
Unchanged for fifteen hundred year,
May these love-lamps we here enshrine,
In warmth, light, lasting, equal the divine.
Fire ever doth aspire,
And makes all like itself, turns all to fire,
But ends in ashes ; which these cannot do,
For none of these is fuel, but fire too.
This is joy's bonfire, then, where love's strong arts
Make of so noble individual parts
One fire of four inflaming eyes, and of two loving hearts.Happy Anniversary, my love.