October 21, 2009

Lessons in Sharing

We think sharing is something we learned in kindergarten. Yet if we do not practice it, we quickly forget. We build new habits and patterns around our own wants, needs, preferences, and we forget to ask or consider.

He likes it when I give him a goodbye kiss and a hug and say my farewells on the way out. I keep forgetting. My usual goodbye consists of telling my cat to “be good and guard the house,” which made more sense when I was saying it to my dogs, but it is now a habit nevertheless. He has to remind me with a “hey, come ‘ere,” and a hand held out. I wonder where he picked up this habit. I’m certain he doesn’t ask the guys he lives with for a kiss on the way out the door.

We’ve done things I would never do. For one night only George Wilson was in concert at the Lied Performing Arts Center. I would never go see a piano soloist on my own. I’ve never been to a performance that didn’t have a visual element. I’m a visual person; most architects are. The performance was lovely and I had a good time. Of course, he would never go visit the goats in the petting zoo, but he waited patiently while I rubbed their heads and backs and soft little noses. I like goats. He likes music.

I’m trying not to be too bossy. I still have places to go and people to see and work to do, while he’s on vacation and reveling in being lazy and making no decisions. I have a certain time and place I can be for lunch or dinner, so I try to ask, but it always comes out more like “I’m doing this and you can join me if you want,” which doesn’t sound very gracious, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

There is something about sitting on the couch holding hands that is more intimate than almost anything two people can do together. I’m trying to figure out what it is, but I may never know. He’s not good at sharing the bed, but neither am I. I like my own space and he likes all the space, especially the space I’m in. I keep nudging him back over to his side, but cuddling in the morning is nice.

He doesn’t like the Midwest. He doesn’t like how the people just roll over the landscape and shape it how they want it, without regard to nature, one endless tapestry of highways, crop rows, and strip malls. He prefers seafood to steak and doesn’t like how insular and close-minded the people can be sometimes. I don’t disagree on any particular point (except about the steak), but I like it here and I’ve had a good life in the Midwest. I suppose I could say similar things about other parts of the country, but it still makes me sad. I guess most people feel that way when they can’t share something they enjoy with someone they enjoy.

One week ago, I brought him home and introduced him to my cat. He likes my cat, which makes me happy, and he fills up my little house, which has it’s ups and downs. He cooked for me – shrimp pasta and Caesar salad with homemade dressing and lots of garlic in both. He kept looking up from my little kitchen to say I don’t have to sit there and watch him, but I was having a good time, sitting and thinking, listening to Mexican guitar and sipping whiskey. He likes to cook and moves with surety. Isis turned up her little nose at offerings of anchovies, shrimp, and brie, but she ate the pasta and the soft French bread crumbs. I guess she’s about as good at sharing as I – hit or miss.

We’re all learning.

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