All I Wanted Was a Pale Ale...

[Added from journal notes on the road, but published with the appropriate date]

So this weekend was the last of the summer trips I'd planned before my roommate launched the bombshell that he might be moving any possible day now, taking all the furniture and pleasant budgetary savings in his wake. If I could have gotten out of it without eating a $60 concert ticket, I would have because the $150 in travel costs was more than I wanted to spend right now. But the trip was largely good, except for east coast townies who were too lazy to excuse themselves to the bathroom in the middle of the concert. There was also my friend's burning need to make every fun exercise into a positive health moment. You know you're in trouble when the pub crawl involves two pubs that only appear at the end of a six mile hike through the hood.

One of the things that happened though was that - in the midst of the six mile hike to the pub on day so hot, humid, and still you'd think it came out of a chapter Faulkner threw out - I had a bit of a think about where I want to be.

My good friend T. (who, if you're reading this, I keep meaning to call and then the night slips away from me, and I wind up feeling like a complete heel for not managing my time better: I promise I'm going to call you. Promise!) often encourages me to take time out and imagine what I want out of life. She may have spent too much time in a commune for a story, but she knows what works. And since this trip, however accidentally, provided some clarity on that, here's a shout-out to you.

Part of what got me thinking was watching my relatively newly married friend, leading the march, and his wife interact. They're a lovely couple, but, I'm sad to say, they may not be one of those couples I'm drawn to. Their marriage works for them in a "let's have this argument in whispers in the bedroom" sort of way. It works in a "death march to the pub" sort of way. They want to have to have kids, and I've no doubt their children will be bright. But they'll be regimented in a way that scares me, even from afar (in the same way that people raising their hands and swaying in unison at the concert briefly unnerved me).

That sounds really catty. They're good people and great hosts, and I think they're good for each other in ways my brief interactions with them haven't fully revealed to me. And it completely misses the point I'm trying to make which is that they're just not the couple I want to be.

The job stuff aside - I think it's pretty well established in this blog that I like teaching and would like to continue with it but haven't drank the kool-aid to the point that I'd put that one thing over all the other ways I might be happy - there are things I'd like. A good, long relationship with someone who gets my quirks and brings out the good ones in me would be a start. I think I'm about ready to be done traveling alone. But I'm not done traveling.

But I don't know if I want kids. Some days I do; some days, not so much. One of the reasons I brought the ill-fated example of my friends' relationship into this was an alcohol-fueled conversation about their quest and worries about having children which naturally led to a brief unpacking of my own baggage about the possibility of being a baby-daddy. I don't know if I want kids because I come from a pretty odd and unknowable genetic mishmash, and I don't know that I want to risk those things for my kids. I don't know if I want to have kids because I'm not getting younger, and the sort of relationship I want to be possible takes time.

And there's the part about a place of my own - not having to rent or deal with landlords or loud neighbors pounding down the hallways. A yard for my dog. A room with books. Pictures I took on the walls. A hammock. A porch. A little garden; a big kitchen. Room and time for friends to come over and stay awhile. Space.

I'm ready for mischief again and for days where I don't know quite what's coming. I'm bored with planning and sticking to plans and inching forward. I think, soon, a leap must be in order.

Comments

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Belle said...

Oh, a leap. Good for you. There are leaps and leaps; any idea which kind might be approaching?

July 1, 2008 at 4:32 AM
ash said...

I also think a leap or leaps (romantic? career? both) are in order. And while you're leaping, don't rule out the kids. Something tells me you'd make a great Dad.

July 1, 2008 at 3:03 PM
ash said...

(oh, and it's totally worth it--the kid(s), I mean. one of the best leaps you'll ever make. sounds cliche, but...)

July 1, 2008 at 3:04 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Oh, I don't know exactly what the leap'll be. It could be a job; it could be romantic.

Job-wise, it gets easier this year to think about jumping off the academic ship, because I'll have the book done and in, and that'll be the last of the academic obligations that I wouldn't have been able to get out of. Romance-wise, one just never knows; I'm not particularly complaining on that one. Location-wise, definitely as soon as I can make something work.

As for kids, I'm sure it would be worth it. There are things I want to do though where kids might make things more difficult. But that's not a deal breaker - I like 'em, after all. But honestly, I don't know because that's not the sort of thing I want to decide on my own. I always feel like that's got to be something you think about once you're with somebody (since it does, more or less, require two people).

July 1, 2008 at 10:31 PM
Maggie said...

Since I am also feeling close to leaping, I'm so interested to look in on your leaping process :)

July 2, 2008 at 4:11 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Okay, so I'm posting this later at night, but it occurs to me now that it's a little funny how many people have posted messages that are the equivalent of "Jump, sucka!"

I (not so secretly) love that.

I'm not sure how the process will go, since part of this seems to be about taking a little time off from trying to plan myself where I want to be. But more will follow, surely.

July 3, 2008 at 1:44 AM