Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Appreciate and accept.

It's gotta be weird to be married to me. A few weeks ago, Joshua asked his mom, "What is it that you love most about me?" I guess it sounds kind of cute to hear a kid ask that. It's a wonderful opportunity for a parent to go on and on about all of the wonderful things that are lovable about him or her. But I cringed a bit to hear it because I remember once asking her the same question. It was before we married. We had only recently gotten back together after a lengthy breakup and I asked her that very question. Cute from a kid, but maybe a bit needysounding from an adult, especially an adult male. "I don't ask you questions like that," came my loved one's reply. Ouch. Lesson learned. Don't question; just appreciate and accept. That's a good way to go about life. Appreciate and accept.

Of course, I'm the type who questions pretty much everything. There's a very analytical part of my brain that peers over shoulders, dominates other more important parts of the mind, and basically just gets in the way. With a smile on my face last night, I asked my wife another ridiculous question. I was joking, but there was probably a bit of truth deep down inside. Out of the blue, I wondered aloud, "Do you think it possible that I might be a jerk?"

"No," she replied, probably wondering where in the hell that came from.

"Well, I was just wondering. I mean, I know jerks who probably don't think that they're jerks. I could be one of them and not know. I feel like I'm a nice enough guy, but it's not like I have any friends to hang out with. There could be a reason for that."

We laughed about it. I made it clear that I was just being silly, but the possibility of its truth festered a bit.

A few years ago, I ran into an old friend at the airport. We used to work together and would go to bars and movies together often. It was cool to run into him but when I suggested that we should exchange numbers, he kind of blew me off. "Just give me yours and I'll call you." I got the subtle message. Still, I gave him my number, knowing that he was just being barely polite enough to keep it as it was, just a random good-to-see-you-again exchange at the airport.

As simple and harmless a moment as that was, it kind of stung, but more to the point, it stayed with me and forced me to question a whole history of relationships. Was I not as cool a friend as I remembered? I was probably analyzing this too much. He was just a guy who had moved on in life, busy with wife and kids and work and bills. Heck, I recall kind of doing the same to a buddy of mine before. We used to be very tight. We were even roommates for several years. Then I met Paige, moved in with her, and pretty much just stopped hanging out with him. It was nothing personal; I just preferred domesticity with a pretty girl to playing pool with dudes night after night.

I'm rambling. Back to the point. I know I'm no jerk, but if there's anyone who might think otherwise, I'll just say this. I'm friendly, but quiet. I'm bookish, but not snobbish. And although I'm on this current kick where I'm quite obsessed with opera, I'm not yet pompous. Maybe sometime soon, my wife and I will be in better financial shape and can spend a bit more time at parties and blogger meet-ups cultivating friendships.

Until then, I can remember to simply appreciate and accept. Too much questioning and analyzing is for the birds.

Thanks for reading. It's well past midnight and time for bed.

8 comments:

kate said...

You're not a jerk. Trust me, if you were, I'd tell you. Friends are a funny thing, sometimes you have them, even if they can't be present. You have many friends here, people who appreciate your questioning mind.

I'm around the corner, with a sense of humor, some booze, a shoulder to lean on and whatever else you might need from a friend.

Anonymous said...

this might sound odd, but i would
not birth a jerk. you're a fantastic guy and i think you're a
wonderful person. none of the
children that i carried and raised
have turned out to be jerks. so
there! if i may say so, you're my
eldest boy and i love you to
creation. you're my bestest friend
and i think you're a super person.
no jerk ever!!!! love - mom

Anonymous said...

this might sound odd, but i would
not birth a jerk. you're a fantastic guy and i think you're a
wonderful person. none of the
children that i carried and raised
have turned out to be jerks. so
there! if i may say so, you're my
eldest boy and i love you to
creation. you're my bestest friend
and i think you're a super person.
no jerk ever!!!! love - mom

The Old Man and His Dog said...

I've had this same discussion with my wife several times. There's an age difference between her and I of almost 20 years and most of her old friends, sorority sisters and family members have gotten married and moved on and she was having, and probably still does have trouble understanding that these things change. Relationships change and sometimes the things you have in common with your best friends change as we mature, grow and change. Something I realized quite a few years ago, but she's just really starting to experience. Just accept that your wife and family love you the way you are and "let it be". Suck it up Dude, have a beer and relax.

Leesa said...

You're definitely not a jerk :)

I've had these same feelings lately. Relationships I thought were great, not so much.
I always felt I was a good friend although I know I can be a bit reserved and cautious.
To have relationships just fizzle always makes me question myself instead of them. "What did I do?", "What's wrong with me?". Human nature I guess.

peach said...

Even though I've not met you in person, I cannot imagine you being a jerk. Friendships are funny things. People come and go in and out of your life all of the time as we age and grow. I've lost some of my friends due to marriage and kids (with me being single and all) but the ones I still have are the important ones and so are the ones I've yet to meet. Oh, I wanted to tell you, our old friend, Amy, lost her Dad on Friday. I just found out yesterday and thought you would want to know.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

You're not a jerk. Would we be reading your blog if you were? Would you have such a wonderful wife?
Obviously your mom did not raise a jerk!

BUT...you do raise a huge questions for me. I've had one date with a guy and talked to him daily for several weeks for an hour or so at a time and he says he really likes me...but I have never said it back cause I really don't know how I feel at this point. HERE is the thing:

He asked me what I liked about him! I am the kind of person who would rather stick a needle in my eye than hurt someone's feelings (not a good character trait) so I listed off a few nice things about him.

Is he needy? Weird? A jerk?

Holly said...

I think it should be pretty obvious by now that "jerk" is not a word any of us would use to describe you. However, a healthy dose of introspection is not a bad thing--you're probably having these feelings for a reason, and it will come to light in time.

Just don't overanalyze. I agree with the rest--relax, know you're loved, and you know where I am if you need me.