Let me start by saying I love my husband Chuck very much. In our 25+ years of marriage there have been plenty of ups and downs, but we still enjoy being married to each other, and share a lot of things in common; not just our dogs and our home, but a love of certain TV shows — Modern Family, The Middle, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad (of which we’re on the last season, via Netflix) and a few others — plus we enjoy a lot of the same foods, red wines, and visiting places like Paso Robles and Las Vegas for short vacations. We are both somewhat addicted to computer games, which, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of other things, usually isn’t a problem.
During the week Chuck and I don’t see each other during the day, due to our work schedules. Unless I need to pick up or drop something off at his work, we just don’t see each other, except in the evenings when I get home. Since we don’t have to work on weekends we have all that time to spend together, but sometimes it can feel like a rut, as he enjoys being home more than I do.
Unlike me, Chuck has very few friends. That’s not a brag — it’s a fact. Chuck is more of a homebody than me; he would rather be home watching TV and on the computer than be out and about. This has caused a lot of friction at times, especially when I get together with friends more often than he would like. My friends are my salvation. I love catching up with them over coffee, breakfast, lunch, drinks, or a walk around Mission Bay. My friends, like me, lead somewhat busy lives, so it’s not always possible to catch up with each and every one very often; sometimes I may not see a friend for over a year, but fortunately Facebook helps make it easier to not lose touch and to somewhat keep abreast of what’s happening in their lives.
Chuck doesn’t do Facebook. Not the social animal that I am, he feels it is an unnecessary component to his somewhat complacent life. He feels I spend too much time on it, but then again, he feels I spend too much time with friends face-to-face, anyway, so what should I expect from the pig, but a grunt?
That all said, I happen to love it when Chuck’s best friend Craig comes to town. A confirmed bachelor of 57, Craig is a gracious, fun guest who makes the 90-mile drive down from Orange County 3-4 times a year to spend the weekend with us. Chuck comes alive when Craig comes down, and within 20 minutes of Craig’s arrival, these two 50-somethings turn into Beavis and Butthead.
Yesterday I was their designated driver, dropping them off at Stone Brewery at Liberty Station for a few hours. Within those few hours I visited a very cool consignment shop, then spent a couple hours at home puttering, and writing Day 15. Except for an occasional dog bark and some smooth jazz background music, all was quiet. No TV blaring upstairs, no asking me questions about “what’s for lunch?” and what money was spent where (as he handles our bills), etc. Just quiet, and I reveled in it.
We all spent some time together after I collected them from Stone, which was fun; I had had my solitude for a few hours, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Now (Craig’s second day here), after having dropped the guys off in the Gaslamp Quarter (downtown San Diego) for a few hours, I am enjoying my solitude again. I am upstairs, with the Smooth Jazz station playing on the TV; dogs are quiet (for the moment). My friend Jim just texted me and asked me if I wanted to go over to some friends’ house with him, but I declined.
In a few hours I will again go and collect Chuck and Craig and more than likely spend a good part of the rest of the day with them, including a St. Patrick’s-style dinner here at the house.
It’s funny how Craig brings out the social animal in Chuck. Would Chuck consider going out two weekend days in a row with me? Probably not, but do I care? Definitely not.
Craig was telling me about some mutual friends of ours, Tom and Amy, who live near Craig in Orange County. Having been married for 3+ years, this couple tends to be joined at the hip. Back when Tom was single, he and Craig would hang out together all the time, even go on big vacations together — Hawaii, Greece, Italy — as Tom had time shares all over. Chuck even joined them on several trips to Spring Training in Arizona (you know I enjoyed that).
Although Craig likes Amy, and does a lot of things with the couple (the three have even been to Hawaii together), he laments about the good old days when he and Tom could just hang out alone, and maybe go on a vacation now and then. Even just Craig and Tom going out to a neighborhood sports bar is out of the question, as Amy insists upon tagging along every time.
In Amy’s defense, Tom travels a lot, so it is somewhat understandable that she would want to spend as much time with her husband as possible, but it’s still a shame that she can’t comprehend how sometimes you just have to let the guys go and be “guys.” The only time Amy doesn’t mind Tom going out and doing stuff with his male friends is when Amy has plans at the same time with her women friends.
Kind of sad for all involved in that situation; sad for Craig, as, in a sense, he has lost what he and Tom once had; sad for Amy, that she is so wrapped up in Tom that she not only has a problem with him going anywhere without her, but also that she never leaves his side when they are out; and sad for Tom, as he at times feels smothered, and like Craig, misses the days of just hanging out with the guys.
On a somewhat humorous note, I had a dinner party two years ago with Craig, Tom and Amy (they were all staying over at our house), plus another couple, Todd and Sandra — seven of us in all. I love making place-cards for each setting, and I have a (etiquette expert-recommended) tradition of never seating couples next to each other. Most times it makes for more interesting conversation and party flow when a man or woman is seated next to someone other than his or her partner. From the get-go, Amy was not thrilled with the seating arrangements, and before dessert was served she slid into the seat next to Tom — previously occupied by Todd, who had briefly excused himself to the restroom — forcing Todd to take Amy’s previous spot. Okay, then.
But getting back to Chuck and me, my philosophy is “When Chuck’s happy, I am happy,” at least for the most part. Him being out right now with his best friend, enjoying beers at some brewpub in the heart of the bustling Gaslamp, chatting about sports, perhaps even checking out attractive women, doesn’t cause me the least bit of angst. I understand his joy, because I have friends, too.
This is not one of those “Cool wife” affirmations; this is more about space. It’s about trust. It’s about security. It’s about having important people in your life outside of just your partner. It’s about what brings you joy.
Let me end this the way I started it: I love my husband Chuck very much.