I've spent a few weeks now with a sort of Laurel and Hardy routine going on in my head.
It goes something like this:
ina: I'm going to write the mushiest gushiest tribute ever to the most wonderfullest man in the world.
ina: No, you're not. For one thing, the people who've known you for years will take one look and think you've turned into a pod-person. For another, I refuse to be seen in public with anyone who calls her fiance' her "sweet bear." What *I* am going to write is a long-overdue analysis of why this relationship works so well.
ina: And have people who don't know me yet think that I'm some cold hearted wench who used a risk-benefit analysis to decide to fall in love? I *don't* think so.
ina: Oh, really? And who exactly is going to stop me...?
There's only so long that any right-minded girl can put up with this sort of thing. So to keep the inner peace, I decided to give both sides their turn. What follows is the story of ina and Avrom, told from my points of view...
"He reflected that the Arab proverb was incomplete: to 'take what you want and pay for it' it should add 'which is better than being forced to take what you don't want and paying for that.'" - K. Amis
If I had to pick the one lesson I've spent 20 years learning, it's to quit taking what I don't want. In some ways, taking things you don't really want creates an interesting life - I picked up an eclectic education and went through a number of "great story to tell your grandkids" careers, including doctor, musician, cocktail waitress, professor - you get the idea. You meet unexpected people and see new things.
The problem is that this approach to life is that one often forgets to sit down and think about what one actually wants, as opposed to what one is TOLD that one wants. I kept telling my friends, "I want to meet Buckaroo Banzai," without realizing what that meant: that I wanted to be with someone who I could admire, who could keep my busy brain occupied, and most importantly, who I could trust.
So I didn't recognize my Buckaroo when he first appeared...and we won't even get into some of the poor synthetic alternatives I put up with in the interrim- too gruesome. Suffice it to say, it took seven embarassing years of soul searching to get to a place where I could have recognized him if I were lucky enough to see him again. Fortunately, my luck kicked in...
"You shine like a good deed in a naughty world." -- P.G. Wodehouse
I don't know what I did in my last life to deserve someone like Avrom, but it probably involved nursing in a leper colony or discovering a continent or something. I'm still finding out all the things about him that I love, and I suspect it'll take a lifetime to find them all. In the interrim I'm putting a starter list here and if you check back periodically it'll probably keep getting longer...
He is the only person I know who's as obsessed by mammal classification I am. He does a great Ernie impression. He can kill big ugly spiders. The cats love him. He loves the cats, even when they decide he has to be up at 5 a.m. He can talk seriously about philosophy and still think it's funny. He's published a really good book. He let me drag him out, exhausted, on a freezing cold night because I wanted to go to the middle of nowhere to look at Mars. Not only that, but he loved seeing Mars as much as I did. *And* he could point out constellations. He thinks "When Harry Met Sally" is a great movie. And he's the only other "Titanic" hold-out I know. He likes playing board games. He thinks the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a pretty cool place to spend part of a vacation. He sings the MenhaMenha song with me in the car. He makes a mean bowl of chili. More importantly for us good Nebraska girls, he actually knows a good steak when he sees one. He has friendly-looking feet. He's secure enough in his masculinity to cook, clean and coo at our girl-cat. He has admirable parents. He's kind to my parents. He not only tolerates my running a small business out of the house but encourages it. My friends actually *like* him. He understands why I cry sometimes about Daniel Pearl and what I love about my brothers. He babysits my godkids. He doesn't make obnoxious noises when he's lifting weights at the gym. He's tried to read the romance novels I'm so embarassingly addicted to. He has sparkles like little comets in his eyes and a tickly beard. He likes my hair whether it's long or short. He has great taste in radio stations. He loves Dr. Seuss, The Phantom Tollbooth, the Alice books, and Nick Hornsby. He reads aloud really well, and doesn't mind telling bedtime stories. He tries all sorts of things, fearlessly; like acting and ballroom dancing. He has a fantastic tenor voice, and always sings like he means it. He looks great in a tuxedo and isn't afraid to wear it. Nor would he ever wear it with a backwards baseball cap. He loves Stoppard. He agrees that Miss Manners is a resource worth consulting. He makes terrific coffee. He looks about two before he's had coffee. He has the website that features the oldest living being in the world bookmarked. He gets the whole "punk kitten" thing. He understands why the woman at the frame shop was so funny. My wedding dress maker and her dogs adore him. He's got Good Politics. He plays oboe beautifully, and puts up with my ragged violining. His culture matters to him in exactly the same way that mine matters to me. He understands that ancient things deserve respect. The way he looks at me makes me feel like I might be beautiful. He tells good jokes. He's Avrom, and I love him , and I'm glad I'll have a chance to tell him so, with friends, family and all the gods as witness.
Thank you for being there with us, in body or in spirit, on that special day.
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