I met a well-known artist. His engagement and wedding were announced in TNYT. I had no idea he was married until I googled. In fact, he’s a gentleman of a certain age so I thought that perhaps I could arrange for one of my single friends to meet him.
There are certain observations for civilized behavior in this kind of matchmaking. We do not tell either party that we want to set them up, it destroys spontaneity. We never tell the 1st party that we think they may have an interest in the 2nd party or vice versa. We are talking about two unique human beings, not a new couch or a pair of shoes. We do not allow one person to “shop” the other person, it’s insulting. Just to let you know, I was shopped once, I did not care for it at all. When I discovered what transpired I decided the gentleman in question was not nearly as attractive as I had originally determined. Over before it began, can’t even remember his name, banished from my memory.
Back to our story. The artist is funny and, as a person of a certain age, he has interests similar to mine. In addition to that, I like his work. I was drawn to it by a piece that reminded me of my husband. I took the latter part of last Saturday afternoon off to go to his studio to choose something for my office. We had a conversation. I enjoy a good conversation. I like to know what position the other humans have on the collective condition.
While I was at the studio I talked about my husband. I explained that we work together, that self-employment in a business context, rather than a creative one, is not fun at all. The artist is interesting. His marriage has entered a passive phase. It is possible that it will end. I hope it does not. He seems like a good guy. The wedding piece in TNYT was lovely. It quoted both of them. They were in love. I told the artist I was sorry, he quipped “That’s life” meaning to to allude to the metaphysical topic we had covered. I can tell he misses his wife. I talked with my husband on the dreaded cell phone while I was at the studio. I bought something tasty to take home to him. I mentioned the artist and his work briefly that evening.
We have our own little traditions. Sometimes I think they’re habits we’ve recently embraced but that’s only because I forget that we have always been this way, doing these things. Each fall we take a long ride to look at the colors. We get coffee and doughnuts and ride down long country roads and highways that cut through miles of uninhabited fields and woodlands on the way to Canada. We talk about things.
Sunday was our own personal peak color day. As we were riding along, I described some of the pieces I saw in the artist’s studio. I repeated parts of our conversation. My husband was just a tiny bit threatened. He was jealous! I was floored, flattered, and very sorry. Really, you should see my 53 year old carcass. I’m in a state of constant disrepair. Believe me when I tell you there is nothing conventionally attractive about me. I’m so far beyond that kind of awareness that I couldn’t find my way back to it with a compass and a road map. The extent of it is, I’m clean and pretty happy with my wardrobe.
I love my husband more than air. I just do. There are times when I’d like to smother the breath right out of him but never in a million years would I behave in a way that was designed to make him jealous. Jealousy is a horrible emotion, it’s painful and awful. I tried very hard to think of something that would put his mind at ease. Finally, at the tail end of the day I remembered why I’d been drawn to the artist’s studio in the first place.
My mother-in-law told me this story. When my husband was a little boy, a puffin was blown off course in a storm and landed at my in-law’s house. My husband found it and believed it was a penguin. He put it in the barn and fed it hot dogs. When he woke up in the morning, he was crestfallen to discover the puffin was gone. I love puffins because of that story. The artist has several studies of puffins in the studio. I returned to look at them on Saturday to choose one for my office.
I told my husband the puffin story and why I’d gone to the studio and that I’d told the puffin story to the artist. I hugged him. He didn’t try to wriggle away.