A weekend alone 

Reminders on what’s important

For someone who was single for 40 years, I’ve become quite accustomed to married life.

Even the simple things still amaze me, like watching her brush her hair after she comes out of the shower, or the way her smile radiates the sunshine. In a time of utter turmoil, unemployment and general malaise in my life, she has been the only one who still believes in me.

When the rest of the world gives me the middle finger, she’s there with a smile and a joke, or a piece of wise advice. I am truly the luckiest man alive. No exaggeration.

When the rest of the world considers me a washed-up, unemployed, obese former journalist with a Bush obsession, she’s there to remind me of all the good things in life.

Even so, my past life as a loner still sounds somewhat appealing at times, so when she said she was going to visit her family this weekend, I didn’t mind that much. The Live Earth concert was on, and I could get some work in on a few projects I have to do.

I haven’t played Madden in forever, either, and there’s always work to put in on Grove Street in San Andreas. I really didn’t think her leaving would be that big of a deal.

I was watching Genesis on Live Earth and playing a game of football when she left. Surprisingly, Phil Collins and his crew can still crank out a tune. And I was stifling my opponent with a modified version of the Cover 2 defense.

Thirty minutes after she left, however, I was lost. I’d thought of something mildly amusing to say but nobody was there to hear it except the cats, which are terminally disinterested in my witticisms.

I grew bored with both the game and the concert. There are too many cheaters with PlayStations and Internet connections. The concert ended up sucking almost as much as the Princess Diana concert the weekend before. Kanye West is a tool and the Police never should have reunited.

There was nothing to do, no one to talk with. I didn’t feel like going out for a beer, or calling up some of my friends. I was literally lost without her there. Everything that’s good in my life, everything that’s real and authentic and genuine, has her connected to it in some way.

I’m not the clingiest person in the world, far from it in fact, but I found myself missing her wit and her insight and all of the other amazing characteristics she possesses.

If all this sounds a bit odd to you, consider this: I barely made it through the first 40 years of my life without killing myself and this past year would have slain me a million times over if it hadn’t been for her.

All of the frustration, unhappiness and feelings of incompetence from the first four decades of my life have replayed themselves over and over again in the last 12 months since I lost my job.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours sending out resumes and surfing CareerBuilder and filling out applications for jobs of every kind. Given the fact that more than 200 potential employers have told me to fuck off, it’s easy to get morose about my future prospects.

I haven’t snapped yet and I don’t think I will. I know that eventually I’ll find something, somewhere. There are too many jobs out there for me to be unemployed forever. But, make no mistake, it still sucks. A lot.

The knowledge that countless other people are much worse off than I am at the moment doesn’t really minimize the suckiness of my situation right now.

The fact that I’m not in a mental institution or a homeless shelter right now is all due to her and my family. I can’t really think of anybody else who really gives a shit about me. There may be a few.

But she’s always been there to remind me just how precious life is and how ultimately meaningless setbacks like mine really are. I’ve never felt better and I’ve never had less.

Luckily for me, she was back 30 hours later, hours in which I missed her dearly and wondered how I ever got along without her.

For someone of my advanced age and advanced degree of cynicism, developing a case of romanticism is quite unusual and unexpected. Yet there it is, and who am I to argue with it?

It’s very strange, but then, most things are in these strange times we live in. I’m just glad she came back. 

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