I have discussed my insomnia in this space on more than one occasion. For me, insomnia manifests in waves. Over the last twenty years, I’ve faced calm sleeping seas and consecutive years of high swells. Through numerous conversations with my doctors, I have steadfastly resisted their entreaties to allow them to medicate the problem (and me) into submission. Until recently, that is…
Three nights of little green pills have produced nothing more than fitful sleep and the strangest of dreams. What follows is an adaptation of one of those WTF!#?? dreams in which the characters and situations have no discernible root to my life.
I thought Jade and I had exorcised all of our relationship demons before getting engaged. We’d seen each other in crisis, had traveled together, found agreement on all of life’s big ticket items, and I was as mad for her as I was for her four year old son. For almost two years, we dated and never saw a problem we couldn’t solve with honest communication… and maybe some champagne too.
About a month before our wedding day – small ceremony in the chapel of her undergraduate alma mater – we went to a Mother’s Day lawn party hosted by her classmate and would-be Matron of Honor. The women all seemed to be wearing sundresses and the men all seemed to find a shade of pastel as harbinger of late spring. After my first hamburger but before my second beer, Jade ended a phone call and headed my way bearing the electric smile that helped me fall for her that first night we met.
“Why are you so happy?” I asked.
She laced her arm around mine and uttered the sentence I never thought I’d hear her from her lips, the sentence that would end our relationship.
“You’re looking at the new chair of the Palin 2012 campaign.”
There aren’t many things that could render me incapable of verbal communication, but this was near the top of a very short list. The room was spinning like I had the hangover from hell when Jade finally stopped the rotation with “Well, say something.”
“You’re a democrat, a democrat who’s pro-choice, pro-gun-control, pro-green, and you went to Smith for fucksakes!”
And that was it. Our relationship, our life together shattered in as much time as it takes for three “you betcha’s” and a couple of winks.
I grabbed another beer and went to find Max, the little boy who wasn’t going to understand any of this.
“Max, I need to talk to you” I said just after he stuck his dismount from the Moonbounce.
“Max, your Mom is going to have a longer conversation with you later but the short version is ‘I’m not going to be around for a while.’”
His little head, with surprisingly large ears, nodded up and down – Jade conceived through a sperm-bank and I always kinda suspected that Will Smith was the donor. I continued “There are some things I may not be around to tell you, but that you need to know in this life:
- You’re going to get in trouble, you’re going to do something wrong and get caught; when that happens, never lie about it, that only makes it worse.
- Steer into a skid… and that doesn’t just go for driving
- Black and White photographs are always cooler than color
- The correct number of eggs for an omelet is two not three
- There is no such thing as ‘out of your league’
- If your cab driver is listening to NPR, tip them a bit extra
- Always make friends with the bartender
- Never draw to an inside straight
- A night of bad theater is better than a good night in front of the TV
- Never do business with someone you wouldn’t drink with
- Never wear loafers with a suit
- There is no good sartorial application for polyester
- People who only have self-taken pictures in their dating profile have no friends
- Never pass on the opportunity to pay an honest compliment
- Always wait for the second generation of a new technology before you invest
- When you’re at a party, only tell one joke; always leave em’ wanting more
- Quartz watches are for suckas
- There is no car that looks good in yellow
- Miller Lite is not beer… but that doesn’t make it evil on a really hot day
- Learning how to dance early will yield exponential dividends later
- Do go on that semester abroad
- Do not gamble with pool players who have multiple word names like Philly Mike, or Six Fingered Tony
- Chewing gum in public isn’t inherently bad, but everyone else knowing you’re chewing gum because your mouth resembles a bovine with a hunk of cud is bad
- Daydreaming is a virtuous activity, practice it often… but not in class
- Do not trust people who begin conversations with ‘Can I be honest with you’
- Also not worthy of your trust are Yankee fans not from New York… or Yankee fans in general, might as well ad Red Sox fans to the list too
- Do not see any Kevin Costner movie that doesn’t involve baseball… except maybe The Untouchables
- Learn the word ‘feckless’ and use it whenever appropriate
- It is always better to be the irresistible force than the immoveable object
- Free advice is usually worth exactly what you pay for it, and ‘your mileage may vary’ applies to this list and just about everything you will ever learn as there are very few absolute truths…
- Among the world’s absolute truths is that you will be judged for your ringtone – choose wisely.
And then I got in my yellow sports car, adjusted the tie on my polyester shirt and steered into my nocturnal skid.