Monday, June 16, 2008

The Girl.

Riding the type-2 rollercoaster of fried chicken, regular soda, and a pot of coffee, I am reminded that I am at my best when I shut the fuck up and listen to the world around me.

One of the people who lives where I work has made it a habit of coming downstairs every night, and we'll spend anywhere from fifteen minutes to a good hour talking. Mostly I listen. She's much more interesting than I am.

One of my recent problems was trying to figure out how to best make my relationship work or even make sense. Of all our differences, she admits to having no imagination, while I try to make my living with mine. She has adamantly stated that she will never like video games. Her friends would ask her what she's doing with me even as my friends would ask me what I was doing with her.

Tammey has been married to the same man now for more than ten years. He's about as hardcore gamer as it gets, down to the tabletop D&D stuff even I won't touch, and she doesn't like games all that much. She admits that she's the serious type while he's a lot more laid back. I listen to her talk and all of this sounds glaringly familiar. So I ask her the obvious; How the hell do you make that work?

The more obvious would be why I stick around, but I'll get to that later.
Her answer is simple; compromise.
Straight out, I'm a lot better at that than Sam is, although she's learning. I approach life as an adventurous learning experience while she approaches it like a problem to be solved, so it's easier for me to see her point of view (especially when she's so much smarter than me in so many areas). I don't need logic for a problem to make sense to me, something that frustrates her to no end.

And yet, for almost ten months now (off and on) we've been making it work.

Tammey relayed one of many interesting stories to me tonight; she told me about the time she and her current husband, Brian, went to a country-music concert. Brian is not the biggest fan of country music, but she didn't want to let an extra ticket go to waste. They make it their second (or third) date.

Brian heckles his way through performances by Kenny Chesney (ugh) Lonestar (doable) and gets quiet when Alabama begins performing. Tammey had a painful experience to the song "Angels Among Us" which she relived as they performed the song. Brian gently put his arms around her and cradled her throughout the entire performance. Ten years later, here they are.

This past weekend, Sam is having one of many disagreements with her well-intending but domineering mother (nice lady, but I won't be starting any fan clubs). Sam usually capitulated to her mother on most things but as she strikes out on her own, she's found it easier to stand up to her. While explaining to her as politely as possible why she will not make me meet her grandparents, she said some things that got my attention.

It doesn't matter to her that she dislikes video games while I love them; it's the fact that I am driven to succeed that she respects.

It doesn't matter to her that I suck at small talk; it's the fact that I can carry an intelligent conversation that she loves.

It doesn't matter that her grandparents don't approve of interracial dating; I'm what she wants, and they will have to deal with it.

It was the first time I'd ever had someone go to bat for me like that.
Sam and I are as different as night and day and at the same time we have everything in common.
Begrudgingly, she'll even admit that she's learned to take things a little less seriously since being with me.
I've never been in a relationship where I've had to work so hard. At times it's so frustrating that I want to head home and never look back (and she knows it, we both apologize for being so frustrating).

But every day, it gets a little easier to envision a future with her.

This blog is for Tammey; who has lupus, but it doesn't have her.

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