“Yeah my girlfriend…
she’s so smart and independent, I don’t think she needs me –
quite half as much as I know I need her-
I wonder why there’s not another guy that she prefers-
And when I feel like giving up like my world is falling down…-
I see her pretty face, and it takes me away to a better place and –
I know that everything, know that everything, know that everything, everything’s gonna be fine.”
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked in comments or e-mails is whether my wife reads this blog.
The query typically isn’t asked in the context of “Wow, you’re a talented writer - she should be proud to have you around.” Rather, it always seems to have an unstated implication like “Dude - you have some strange issues. You could get into big trouble if she knew the things you write about.”
You know, like the way I’m enthralled by Beyonce videos, or how I’ve said training for a triathlon is very much like having an affair, or why I feel compelled to stay up past midnight watching seven recorded hours of the National Spelling Bee. Things like that.
The answer is yes, she’s very aware of everything that goes on here. Truthfully, there’s no way on Earth I could do something like this without her knowing about it. She’s wicked smart. And I’m not good at being sneaky. So there’s not very much that gets past her.
Thankfully, she’s about the most understanding and supportive person I’ve ever known. She always goes along for the ride, even when she sees me travel down one crazy path or another.
I figure it must be something like watching your kids play on the high bars at the playground: you realize you can’t keep them away, and you know there’s a decent chance that things could turn out badly. So you just stay close by and provide help if they ask for it, and figure if they fall and hurt themselves at least you’ll be there to help pick them up and comfort them afterwards.
She had every right to ask for a refund after we got married, because in many ways – athletic and otherwise - I barely resemble the guy who stood at the altar with her. When I trained for my first marathon in college, it was basically a lark. She had no indication that for the next dozen years she’d have to put up with me traveling to several marathons a year, running up and down the sides of faraway mountains, or waking up in the dark every weekend to train for ultras.
Yet that’s the course we’ve charted: me coming up with some wild idea, her keeping me grounded and realistic. It’s very much a give-and-take thing, except, um…well, I’m usually the one doing most of the taking. But I absolutely need her to keep me under control – because if she gave me enough rope to do all the things I imagine, there’s no question I would end up hanging myself. And then you wouldn’t have this blog to read.
Which brings us back to the question at hand. This girl has known me for about 15 years now, and like I said, very little escapes her. So do you think there’s any way she didn’t already know that I was a brooding, obsessive/compulsive, idiosyncratically scatterbrained idiot before I launched this blog? Me neither. But she puts up with me anyway, which seems increasingly amazing as the years roll by.
They say that behind every good man, there is a woman. Sure, that’s true - but any woman can support a good man. It’s the woman who supports a bizarrely flawed man who really deserves special recognition.
I think about that every year at the end of July, as we celebrate our anniversary. I consider myself very lucky. And I know that everything’s gonna be fine.
August 2, 2006
“Yeah my girlfriend…