Friday, October 31, 2003

I have been too depressed lately to write. Though my life is by all outward appearances excellent, even in many ways envious, the funk of being tethered to her casts a pall over everything. We are fortunate in one sense – we are both 40 and have enough sense to not act out on our worst thoughts in a destructive manner. No clichéd throwing dishes, screaming matches in front of the stunned children, rarely if ever even a slammed door. More like just a deathly quiet punctuated by brief exchanges that frequently intentionally or not push a button on the other ending with a glare, a mutter under the breath when one of us stalks out of the room. Of course, you should hear the active dialogue that goes on in my head. I would win a Pulitzer, a National Book Award, maybe even the Nobel if I could record even 10% of the stream of consciousness that flows around me while I lay in the dark.

Why do we stay together? The kid of course. The money. And the fear of admitting defeat – not wanting to be the person who throws in the towel on a second marriage. I have been married before (briefly) and I know how to survive the breakup, but I am scared witless of having to look at myself in the mirror and admit to being a two time loser, and that this time there is a child involved, one who will bear the scars of my failure.

So we persevere, pretending to be good in front of the child, doing the things that happy people do, hoping that action will translate into feeling.


Sunday, October 05, 2003

I have a headache.
I need to start taking anti-depressants.

I had been taking St. Johns Wort on and off for the past year and it generally helped take the edge off, but then I started developing side effects. They were actually kind of bizarre – I would get a mild rash and get wildly itchy, particularly on my scalp and my ear lobes. The itch was weird – felt more like bugs crawling all over than the traditional rash itch. Before connecting the St. Johns Wort to the itch I thought for a time that I was going insane and my behavior was starting to be odd as I couldn’t sit still for more than 30 seconds before having to scratch my head or check for imagined bugs crawling on me. I stopped taking the pills and within 24 hours normality reigned.

This must be a small taste of what junkies go through during detox. No thanks.

Of course, this begs the larger question. Am I generally depressed and as a result my marriage has dropped into this sinkhole of misery, or am I depressed because of this mini-hell I live and I need the meds to allow me to endure, like some worker bee in Brave New World clamoring for the daily Soma?

Friday, October 03, 2003

There is an old and odd compliment that people used to give about a woman’s housekeeping ability – “You can eat off her floor” implying that she (and it always meant her and not him) keeps her house so clean that you would be happy to have your meal served right on the floor without plate. Well, in our house the statement is literally true. You could make a full four course meal from the leftovers, leavings, and spills randomly scattered around the kitchen floor. Yes, you can eat a filling meal off our floor, start with some bagel crumbs, how about some scrambled eggs, wash it down with some OJ, finish with some frosting from the seven layer cake our kid ate for dessert last night.

So, after a long day of work, if we ate at home, which was likely a not-so-delicious meal of reheated leftovers, microwaved frozen stuff, and possibly one item actually cooked that day, I clean the kitchen and fill a dustpan with leavings of the last dozen meals. Now cleaning the kitchen in and of itself is not what is particularly annoying to me. It is the fact that while I work a 50-60 hour workweek plus commute, she does maybe 15 hours per week of consulting, almost entirely from home, and takes care of our 4 year old child, who spends most of her day at school. What happened to the basic compact between spouses, the division of labor either implied or expressly agreed to by uncounted generations? You know the social compact where I agree that I will kill myself young working and bringing home the food/goods/money and she will take care of the house and kids and provide a decent meal and a floor to walk on that doesn’t crunch at every step. Guys have gotten a raw deal with the changes in how men/women deal with each other in a relationship and yet we still walk willingly into the ball and chain of marriage, with the end result that we don’t get sex, get barely edible food and live in a dirty house, while she goes to Pilates and the gym every day.

Of course, we could always get a cleaning person. And in fact we had one until she dropped some seriously heavy object into our bathroom sink literally breaking it and then we never saw her again. And now we have no replacement and the wife has barely looked for a replacement and the house gets dirtier and grosser and more inviting to bugs and rodents and I have yet another excuse to work late or meet some buddies for a beer and burger before going home.

And she wonders why I am not around much on weeknights.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Ambien. 5mg, sometimes 10. The rare nights that we now sleep in the same bed, I need Ambien to help me fall asleep. Fortunately we have taken to sleeping in separate rooms, or more accurately, I effectively moved out and upstairs to the guest bedroom. This of course has many advantages, as I can now self-gratify in peace without having to sneak around, can sleep without the infernal a/c cranking away, and don’t have to fight for the blankets. Now that I have been sleeping alone for the past two months, I can’t believe that I traded away blessed privacy and peace for the infernal nagging and cold war of married misery.

But then she comes. I lose my privacy and have to go through the pretense of a working marriage. You know who I am talking about. Mother-in-law. Mother-in-law comes for the weekly sleepover. If you are single and contemplating marriage and your mother-in-law lives within driving distance, listen to what I am about to say very carefully. No matter how bad your prospective spouse’s relationship is with her mother and no matter how strongly she claims to want space from the mother-in-law-beast, when that first child arrives, MIL will charge the line like Junior Seau and the wife will welcome her with open arms. And she will never leave.

Forewarned is forearmed.

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