I don’t know how to explain what has happened with the kitchen… The closest I can manage is that once Elvis got sick, I started having anxiety. And it just leaked out onto everything… and if the everything was not important (or fancy) I stopped caring about it.
I’m sure you understand that! But it becomes less explainable when you consider that Elvis has been gone for a while now, and I have not gotten my care back.
I do not mean that I have some deep apathy towards life; it’s more like, life is GOOD just.as.it.is.
I am happy exactly where I am: the pajama-pants-version-of-existence.
The idea of firebombing my own inner peace— over something I do not care about, (especially a project of the kitchen’s mess and magnitude) makes me want to lie down in the street and hope that someone runs me over.
I just want to hang out with Paul, and the munchkins of destruction; grow flowers, read, go dancing, wear fun costumes, and occasionally get something giant on Craigslist.
I’m done with anything else life needs from me.
Paul has done a wonderful job of being patient… telling me stories about Elvis, tolerating my endless distractions, flights of fancy, and three-in-the-morning-whims-of-iron.
Occasionally absenting himself, so that RagePaul can visit.
(RagePaul is AngryStainGuy’s angrier brother)
RagePaul feels that life is intolerable because we have not moved forward with the kitchen… and RagePaul’s perspective has clouded mine.
Is this intolerable?
Is this irrelevant?
When RagePaul is 93, will he still be mad about the kitchen?
(That’s a rhetorical question. He will definitely still be mad.)
But when I am 93? ALLOW ME TO ASSURE YOU: the very last thing that I will spend ANY time thinking about will be this kitchen.
Plus, there is another problem that is happening: when Paul tries to talk to me about the kitchen, my brain slams shut.
I feel like I am being suffocated.
Seeing as how my preferred form of communication is hyperbolic overstatement, you may not realize that I am describing my actual experience without embellishment:
MY BRAIN SHUTS DOWN.
I cannot even hear the words that Paul is saying.
Instead, I hear that clanking-movie-noise when the gate is closing, the spillway is overflowing, the building is on fire, and the door on the alien spaceship is sliding shut.
But instead of sprinting to the exit accompanied by exciting music and explosions, I’m like— WHATEVER. The aliens are totally fine. I’m just going to stay here.
This is deeply unfair to Paul.
And yet, sometimes life is unfair.
If this is the first he is learning about this, I cannot help him.
Compounding my alien-brain-paralysis, is that I am married to someone who is SO DIFFERENT from me, that he cannot relate AT ALL.
In a lot of ways, I think it’s mostly good to marry your opposite… (AS LONG AS YOU ARE THE CRAZY ONE)… But it has turned out that Paul is not simply my opposite; but rather a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPECIES; and at this point, I have no idea which of us is entitled to be the way we are.
I mean, it seems reasonable that we are BOTH entitled to our species’ traits; but Paul seems to disagree… and because none of this is legitimate to him, it feels not legitimate to ME… like my own Self should not exist in this way because it is wrong.
Like it or not!
HERE I AM!
EXISTING IN THIS SUPER ANNOYING WAY!
Unfortunately for Paul, (the title of my memoirs!) other people’s expectations have never been a determining factor in my personality, and the chances of me reversing course NOW seem REALLY SLIM.
After all, an aardvark does not become a zebra!
It’s a fact.
LEARN ABOUT SCIENCE, PAUL!
At this point, I am unsure if who I am at the core of my being is an acceptable lifeform… or if who I am is an intolerable mess that should be left on the side of the road with a sign that reads: caveat emptor.
Probably the latter… in which case, I won’t begrudge Paul swapping me out for a zebra and enjoying the rest of his days, grazing the plains in peace; enjoying the serenity of an appropriate species-match… luxuriating in the clarity of black and white and never thinking at all of the muddled grey aardvark he booted from the vehicle.
BUT there is a caveat: if he is planning to abandon me freeway-side, he’d best get on it; because I am fast approaching what (I suspect) is a hard and unforgiving wall of sell-by-date, (an event that may have already passed, but I’m fine living here in denial.)
Either way, once I reach it, THERE WILL BE NO REFUNDS and Paul will be stuck with me forever.
I have informed him of this, and offered to make him a countdown clock so he knows how much decision-making time he has left.
It’s a trick though because HONEY, I’M NOT LEAVING.
The offer is just to lull him into thinking he has choices… the illusion of choice is surprisingly satisfying!
Sort of how I think that if Paul leaves me, there will be a silver lining: revisiting the guy not taken… the one who was so interested in sifting through the depths of my life-ineptitude with curiosity and empathy!
WHAT would THAT be like?
To be accepted EXACTLY AS I AM.
I cannot even imagine such a miraculous thing!
And it’s irritating that I cannot even enjoy my nice imaginary-alternate-universe without realizing that sans-Paul, my soul disintegrates into a million useless pieces (and probably goes to jail.)
Thinking about all of the paths not taken does not make me sad or nostalgic… instead it forces me to realize exactly HOW INSANELY LUCKY I AM and that I should definilty TRY NOT TO RUIN the only smart life-choice I ever made: a man who facilitates the growing of kale.
A man who fixed Elvis with duct tape.
A man who tells me that EVEN IN DEATH, I will be overly particular… and that when I get to the River Styx, I will be all— I do not like this boat… do you have another one?
So now I am basically STUCK HERE, because what with his moving of heavyoldthings and fixing of brokenoldthings and also buildingofkittenhammocks, and channelingElvis’smesagesfromthegreatbeyond… Paul has ruined me for ALL OTHER OPTIONS and rather than pinballing through the world, I am forced to STAY HERE AND THINK ABOUT MY FLAWS.
Thanks a lot, Paul.