June 26, 2001
Dances With Carrots


Every morning I stand at the kitchen counter, just before we leave for work, and I fill two plastic sandwich bags with baby carrots: one bag for me, one slightly larger bag for David. Every morning I look at him, sitting in front of the computer in his underwear, and I say, "Don't forget your carrots."  He nods distractedly, every morning, and he says "I won't forget."

And every morning, right on schedule, he walks off and leaves his bag of carrots sitting on the counter.

It's part of the dance.

For the past almost-three-years, my clothes have hung on the left side of the bedroom closet, his clothes on the right. Lately, however, *my* clothes have been spilling over ever-so-slightly into his closet space ... my Laura Scotts and Sag Harbors intermingling indiscriminately with his Arrows and Van Heusens. (This is probably due to the fact that I've been buying clothes like a maniac lately. By the time I get them home and out of the shopping bag, they're too BIG already. But that's another story for another day.) He doesn't gripe about this blatant infringement on his closet 'territory.' He doesn't make caustic remarks about how much I'm spending on clothes. He doesn't yank all of the offending *girl-stuff* from his side of the closet and toss it into the bathtub. Instead, he simply moves some of his own outgrown/out-of-season stuff to the farthest regions of the closet, where the high school yearbooks and the defunct stereo components are stored, and he gives us both a little more room on *his* side.

The dance. It's all about the dance.

I take the first shower in the morning; he takes the follow-up shower. He orders iced tea with his vegetarian burrito; I order Pepsi (in the bottle, please) with my two regular tacos. He sleeps on the West Coast of our big lumpy bed; I sleep on the East Coast. When we're watching TV, he commandeers the remote while I critique the viewing choices. In the grocery store, he pushes the cart while I read off the grocery list. He answers the phone; I write the thank-you notes. He takes the garbage out; I make the coffee every morning. 

He writes his message board masterpieces; I fiddle with *FootNotes.*

I get sore and winded and discouraged, and I stop in the middle of the trail, crying and kicking my tires in frustration, and I swear that I'm never going to get back on that stoopid bicycle again: he leads me over to a picnic table and gently massages my crampy thigh muscles, until I'm calm and quiet and ready to ride again.

This is the dance we have choreographed for  --  and with  --  each other.

I've danced before, of course. So has he. We're too old and too vain and too full of ourselves not to have had plenty of invitations in the past ... and plenty of dance partners. But the thing you learn as you get older is that dancing isn't always about how many names you've got written on your dance card, or how hot you look on the dance floor, or where you're going to wind up later in the evening, after the dance is over. Sometimes it's about knowing your partner so intimately that you can anticipate her every move ... almost before she moves. It's about not minding terribly when he steps on your feet again. It's about the two of you hearing music that no one else hears.

And it's about packing him a bag of baby carrots every morning ... even when you KNOW he's going to forget them, anyway.

one year ago: surviving the totem pole
two years ago: temporarily oozing

throw a rock