Friday, March 23, 2007

I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song



I have a friend at work who teases me about my (wide but shallow) breadth of knowledge. Yeah, ok, I know kind of a lot about Northeastern Congo, controlled vocabulary, epidemic disease, and the music of the 1980's, and I've forgotten more art history than most people would ever want to know, but mostly I know a little about a lot of stuff. Classical literature, scientific illustration, India, database architecture, old VW's, you know. I define "liberal arts major".

So my friend asks me if Bob is "as smart as" I am and I say, Oh hell yes. Bob has an analytical mind and a trove of historical and experiential knowledge that comes into play every time he reads a newspaper. Listening to his comments is like learning the hidden contexts and meanings that underlie all political acts. And yet, he's a consensus-builder who knows when to solicit everyone else's opinion and when to sit back and listen. I could never do that. Plus he plays piano and knows a lot about the movies of the 1980's, so we complement each other there.

So my friend asks, "Was that the attraction? Was that what drew you to each other?"

I laughed and laughed. The joke is that Bob and I fell in love at first sight: purely, we each thought the other was cute. We were teenagers.

We've been together ten years this month. We've been married for seven years, and we've been in love for 21 years, during which time we cohabitated with a combined total of seven other significant others (one of whom I married) in five states and one foreign country (Zimbabwe).

We finally got our act together in March of 1997, when he was in grad school at MIT and I was living in NYC. You think we're so smart? Well, consider this: after 12 years, it took geographic proximity and an incident of astonishing synchronicity to throw us together, ultimately for good - the email exchange went something like this:

To: Paula
From: Bob
I'm a little depressed this week. My girlfriend left me for a girl named Tex.
To: Bob
From: Paula
Huh. I'm "a little depressed" myself. My husband appears to have left me too. What are you doing this weekend?

When we got married, we chose to get our certificate from the Staten Island Borough Hall (I totally recommend it, it's a nice old building and the ride over on the ferry gives it a real sense of occasion) so that we could have a big ceremony with no officiant at all. Instead of vows, we read each other excerpts from our letters to each other - 12 years of pining and stupidheadedness. Then, our Best Man and our Babe of Honor held up cue cards and the entire assembly pronounced us husband and wife. We were married by acclaim.

Now, as anyone who reads this blog knows, we have found out that he's an energetic, engaged, imaginative father as well. What you may not have gathered is he lets me slack all over the place, he loves my cooking, likes the same movies as me, and mostly he doesn't mind when I get all OCD about how to load the dishwasher.

All that stuff is totally just icing though - I still love him for his body. You just have to look up what Anya says about Xander in that episode where nothing else really happens. But you might not want to.