Sunday, April 13, 2014

No. 53 – Today

Performer: Jefferson Airplane
Songwriters: Marty Balin, Paul Kantner
Original Release: Surrealistic Pillow
Year: 1967
Definitive Version: None.

Today was the song that when Tributosaurus played it, I turned to Laurie and said, it’s a crime I don’t know this song. Why didn’t I know this song? Of course, it’s because radio decided that Jefferson Airplane had ONLY two songs, and because this song was neither Somebody to Love nor White Rabbit, it got shunted to the side.

I wrote about the anniversary Laurie and I spent in 2010 as tourists in our own city (good ol’ No. 376). What I didn’t say was that it began a somewhat downward spiral in our relationship. It wasn’t a period when we constantly fought, because we don’t have ongoing fights, but it definitely was a period when I was questioning our future together.

Nothing had happened specifically to merit this re-evaluation, that is, I wasn’t having an affair or interested in having an affair, per se. I just was wondering whether perhaps it was in my best long-term interest to pursue other options. Unlike some of my other paramours, however, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be evasive. I’d be honest and direct and tell Laurie if that’s what I wanted.

The problem was I didn’t know what I wanted. A few characteristics that I always didn’t like about Laurie seemed to manifest themselves in ways that threatened to become problematic. It was a classic it’s not you, it’s me situation, except it really was both. It was me, BECAUSE it was you.

In fact, my re-evaluation reached a point where we actually broke up for a few minutes. It was on Valentine’s Day 2011, of all days. We had a dismal dinner together at a great Italian place where a number of things weren’t right. Our fight simmered over when we got home, and I said … maybe … we should … break up.

The second those words left my mouth I regretted saying them. I didn’t want to break up with Laurie—and she definitely didn’t want to break up with me—I just wanted a few things to change. I guess I reached a point where I concluded that they weren’t going to change, and the discussion spiraled to the point where it seemed the logical thing to say.

But as soon as I said I wanted out, I realized I didn’t. I apologized for my behavior, for how I’d been acting, for everything. Somehow, we moved past that moment and fairly quickly. There was no nuclear winter, no radioactive fallout.

Part of the reason was, well, life got in the way. Mom’s pending death quickly put the events of Valentine’s Day in the past out of necessity. Then my ear flared up, even while I made several trips to Columbus to pack up Mom’s condominium. It bought me and Laurie time, and, perhaps, made it so we dug in, determined that we wanted us to work and that we’d make it work.

And we have. It’s been a lot better lately. Laurie slowly changed a few of the problematic things, and I also changed in terms of my demands. The real secret to any long-term relationship is deciding what you’re willing to overlook and what you aren’t. I guess I decided that some things just weren’t worth troubling myself over after all.

This past Valentine’s Day, we went back to Orso’s for the first time since that dismal Valentine’s Day three years before. We originally planned to go somewhere else, but I forgot and suggested Orso’s in January. As soon as I said it, Laurie grasped why and agreed instantly.

This time everything was different, everything was better. I surprised Laurie with tickets on the floor of the Chicago Theater to see Eddie Izzard in June. Aside from Eddie’s brilliance as a comedian, it was a significant purchase, because we once were supposed to see him, in the same venue, but had to skip it when Laurie went into the hospital in 2008.

When we left, we agreed: Orso’s, as well as our relationship, had been redeemed.

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