Saturday, February 7, 2009

We Really Dodged the Bullet on That One

Today is an anniversary for me. If Keith and I had ever managed to get it together and keep it together, this would've been our tenth year of togetherness.

Here's how that makes me feel:

Old. Nostalgic. Irritated.

The first two are self-explanatory, I think. The irritated sneaks into the equation because right now, right this very second, Keith and I are in the middle of our annual We're Not Talking to Each Other Because One of Us Said Something Stupid or Insensitive About the Other One phase. It happens like clockwork--every year, generally in the winter, generally near the holidays when we've both been driven into the red zone by the more bickering, nasty, or crazy of our relatives.

This year it happened approximately one week after Christmas, at 7:00 PM, as I was driving home from my mother's house. He called on his way home from work. He was stressed. He was tense. He was snippy. He was scared. He is, after all, on his way to being a father and a husband--in which order is anyone's guess. Both events are looming.

In the middle of our conversation, there was a moment where it became evident that Keith sensed he could elbow his way into an argument by pressing a certain line of conversation, and what he wanted more than anything right then was to argue with someone. He wanted to yell. He wanted to be yelled at.

It was clear that he was angry, frustrated, pissy, and that he wanted someone to listen to that edge in his voice, wanted someone to feel everything he was feeling. He was tired of being tired. He was sick of his job. He was afraid of becoming a father. He was overtaxed by his girlfriend's hard pregnancy. He was nervous about the birth.

After he started baiting me, after he tried to drag me into an argument--which was starting to work--I took a deep breath and--very calmly, very slowly--said, "Well, I think you better change the subject in the next three seconds or else I am hanging up this phone because I'm already bored with this conversation."

And he said, "Oh yeah? See ya." And then the phone went dead. We'd been on the phone for a little over three minutes, and each of those had pretty much sucked.

That was the last time I spoke to Keith. Both of us are just about as stubborn as stubborn can get, so I imagine this trend of not speaking could go on pretty long--we once went an entire eight months not speaking after a fight--but I'm not going to let it. It is tradition for me to call him up on the seventh day of February and remind him that once, so many years ago, he was sitting on his mother's couch with me, and he was nervous, he was twitching, he was breathing funny. He told me the last few weeks had been fun, a lot of fun, and that he really liked me and he was wondering if maybe I wanted to make it official, if I wanted to become his girlfriend. And when I said yes, he smiled and exhaled and brought a bouquet of flowers out from behind the couch.

And today I am going to call him up and remind him of that again. I'm going to see how the baby preparation is going, how the wedding preparation is going. I'm going to listen to all the news and gossip I missed out over the last month. I'm going to let everything go back to normal--not because I'm over being angry (I'm not)--but because we're getting old, and exciting things are starting to happen, and he's one of my oldest and best friends and I want to be around when he becomes a father, when he has got some major bragging to do.

So, in celebration of our whole bumpy-ugly-stupidly-charming past, here are pictures of the two of us on the night he executed the greatest caper of all time: The Great Abraham Lincoln Theft of 2006.


If he thinks he's getting the bust of Abe Lincoln for a wedding present, he can just forget it.


Casey Sween said...

you wrote "bumpy-ugly" and I totally read that differently. Ha.

Jess said...


Joshua said...

maybe after that you can give me a ringy dinygy?