Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Heading West

We bought a car, a silver blue Peugeot 206 with just 18,000 miles on the clock. It smells faintly of dogs and doesn't seem terribly robustly made. But it will get us to Heathrow on Saturday, barring some incredible misfortune. I'm ambivalent about flying, as any sensible person should be. You hear that it's the safest form of transport, but you have to remember that if anything does go wrong fatality rates are exceptionally high.

It should be a super trip. My wife and I went to Boston back in1999. It rained. I went to a strip club with my father, played barefoot football on the beach, sang karaoke at a roadside hostelry after my brother's wedding and exaggerated my Englishness to a barely credible degree wherever and whenever the situation saw fit. Last time we stayed in a borrowed winnebago with a bed about three and a half feet square. This time we're staying at the Boston Park Plaza, which is either a Grand Hotel or a fleapit, depending on which review you read.

This time I get to see my beloved Red Sox play, weather permitting ("...sometimes it rains.") And while I'm looking forward to seeing family, and meeting unmet friends, this is the point of the trip. It's St Peter's, Lourdes and Santiago de Compostela all in one, for a fellow like me (and I love those gaudy Roman churches). Let's hope Fenway doesn't disappoint. A Sox win wouldn't hurt either.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Something to hold when I lose my grip

The anniversaries come thick and fast. My wife and I have been married for seven years now. I think we've established our compatibility beyond reasonable argument. Either that or we're trapped in a bubble of apathy that neither of us are energetic enough to burst. I like the former idea, and I'm convinced that we're in it for the long haul. In fact the only thing that might persuade me into divorce would be the promise of another wedding day because our wedding day was a riot. We'd have to remarry each other, Burton/Taylor style, because it wouldn't be the same with anyone else. I'm not particularly prone to uxoriousness, but a conversation I had last night, with a friend who is also warmly ensconced in a loving relationship, reminded me of how fortunate I am to be where I am.

She said something along the lines of: -

"Partners should bring out the best in each other."

Which is a wonderful idea. I'm afraid that I've failed my wife in this regard; she was inexplicably gentle, tolerant and rounded to begin with.

"I think I would have turned okay eventually," I told my friend. "But my wife has certainly helped me along the road to decency."

"Two Become One" sang the Spice Girls. Reductive nonsense. If you enter into a relationship with a view to giving up half of yourself what you need is a therapist, not a lover.

The easiest way for a couple to become more than the sum of their parts is to reproduce and in this area we've done very well. Or at least our genes have combined to brilliant effect. I see in our daughter many of the good qualities that my wife possesses. And our not so little one is occasionally rather mouthy, and always very beautiful. Gets that from me. Her proud grandmother would have been 67 today, she is greatly missed, absent for the first time on her birthday. Much love.