Monday, June 10, 2013

Chincoteague: A love story

Day 1:

When my boyfriend mentioned to me, many months ago that there was an island in Virginia that touted roaming, wild ponies, I became fixated and knew I had to go. The wild horses of Rodanthe are well known and now even more popularized by Nicholas Sparks, but wild ponies in Virginia, the very place I was currently residing? Seemed like fate to me! I have loved horses since before I even knew how to speak. I have pictures as a wee babe, leaning out of my mothers arms to feed a neighboring horse an apple. It's always been love, between us, horses and I that is. The island is named, Chincoteague and it is off the coast of Virginia, right smack on the great big Atlantic. I drove five hours down from D.C. to reach the ponies and the coast. Upon crossing over a marshland onto the small stretch of island that is Chincoteague, my heart was thrumming with delight. Who am I kidding, my heart had been thrumming with delight since I had woken up at six a.m. that morning, a half hour before my alarm even went off, but upon reaching the island, now that was nirvana.
Is that a pony? I narrowed my eyes looking off into dense marshy waters. I saw a brown shape, quite large actually, as I quickly darted my eyes from the road to marshy waters trying to make it out, it seemed rather boxy and maybe more the size of a smallish vessel, not a smallish pony.
Oh no, that looks like a lobster trap of sorts.
Clearly, I was getting ahead of myself.
Upon checking into my hotel, appropriately named the Refuge Inn, near the back of the island, closer to the ponies and having ponies of their own grazing near the parking lot, I was all but rushing to drop my bags in my, it must be noted, beautiful sea-like room and make haste to where the ponies were on the adjacent island of, Assateague. I bought a day-pass for eight dollars and drove on in. No more than a few minutes later and I saw another marshy area on both sides of the paved drive where cars were pulled over. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I expected to see some cranes, really, as it seemed quite happenstance to just pull into the park and bam, see ponies, but that is exactly what happened.
I was near hyperventilation here, turning this way and that, wanting to point and screech,
"Ponies! Wild ponies! Ponies, I say! Are you seeing this?"
But I felt I shouldn't do that with strangers, so I just did it inside my head, as well as clapped.

After driving around the island, pulling off many a time to take pictures of wild life and the surrounding beauty of the island, and dipping my feet in the ocean for a bit in complete bliss, I decided to go explore town, buy some sunblock and plan out my itinerary a bit. My boyfriend would be so proud. Really if he only knew how much of a planner I was while I am on location like that. I say on location, one because it sounds tremendously cool, and two because I really was in Chincoteague for work if you'll believe it. Work of my own doing. If Conde Nast won't send me to write about new places, then I will send myself, silly gooses. So that is what I did. I called up a local hotel, asked for the owner, and inquired what she could tell me about the island, because I wanted to write about it. Not only was she incredibly helpful but when I arrived there was a packet of welcoming information with my name on it. I had never felt more like a writer. And I truly understood why Hemingway chose to live near and write about the sea, as nothing was more fruitful for my creativity than the sound of the sea and the turquoise sea ambiance of my room. My room even smelled like the sea! And cologne, actually, but not like someones crummy leftover cologne, but a lingering deliberate smell. Like a sexy merman might smell. Heavens, but I loved it! Every moment that I wasn't adventuring I spent writing in my seascape room, with red wooden chairs on the little patio outside and overstuffed crisp white bungalow chairs inside. Sheer, bloody perfection if you ask me.
After driving through town and spotting many a quaint sea item for sale: seashells, minnows, duck decoys with just a rinky-dink rusted box for you to leave cash in exchange for your item, pure honor system, I began to see that this town wasn't just the sea and wild ponies. This town had a whole other kind of allure and magic all its own. I pulled over and parked in town to get out and walk around. I peeked in Neptune's bookstore and Sundial Books, two of the most magnificent bookstores I have happened upon and I adore bookstores. Neptune's was a combination of mermaids and the sea, very Hemingway-esque, while Sundial's was two stories, open, airy and sunny with loads of chairs and even window seats to sit, read, or look out on the water. I honestly, could have moved in it was so perfect. I told the owner that her bookstore was exactly what all bookstores should strive to be. Upon seeing that this town had not one, but two sensational bookstores, on top of ponies and seashells for sale, I pretty much wanted to call DC and tell him I wasn't coming back. In fact, I did.

"Oh honey, I love it! It's everything I dreamed! There are lobster fisherman and the sea and the library is the cutest little clapboard white building I have ever seen and it's the library! You know how much I love cute libraries! I want to move here! So, yeah I'm not coming back."
"Yes you are. You have my car."
Such. A. Killjoy.
After finding that every building that housed books was a dream, I started to feel hungry and went looking for seafood. I pulled into a bright multi-colored building that had nets and buoys dangling from the exterior. I couldn't see the sign but it looked like a fish shack to me. There were two men and a woman sitting outside the entrance talking as I walked up. I glanced at the sign and saw that it said Chincoteague Treasures. Oh yes. I asked the man sitting closest to the door if they were still open, he pointed to the open sign and said yes, with a chuckle. I smiled and walked in. If the bookstores in Chincoteague were what bookstores were meant to be, then this treasure store was made just for me. It was overflowing in complete disarray with ropes from ships, bird sculptures, record players, driftwood, buoys, lanterns, old traffic lights, moose antlers--moose antlers! I immediately went to find the lady who had followed me in to ask her the price. She told me the antlers weren't for sale and I was crushed but a little relieved. They would have easily been $500 and I probably would have sold a kidney quick to buy them. I wanted desparately to take a picture of the overflowing sea treasure madness but there were signs that said not to take pictures of the merchandise. I at least needed a picture of the outside of the building because it was equally intriguing. I asked the woman if that would be all right, because I was working on a travel writing piece on the island and she perked up and said,
"You're writing a novel about Chincoteague!"
"No. No. Not a novel. I just have a travel blog. I mean, I am writing a novel, but not about the island." She beamed and went out to ask her husband.
"Can she take pictures? She's writing a novel about Chincoteague!"
I interjected, "I am not writing a novel, just an article."
The man said, "So you want to promote my store, eh? You take pictures then. Of my store, me, my wife." He smiled.

His wife waved her hands at the prospect of being photographed but the man looked genuinely interested in me now. He introduced himself as Harry and his wife as Maria. He was not a small man and he had a grey beard and matching hair, but right away something about him seemed kind and inviting, like he had stories to tell and somehow magnetized I felt compelled to stay and listen. I flurried around photographing the shop at all angles while I felt him eyeing my camera. Once satisfied that I had gotten every angle, Harry motioned for me to come try his wife's homemade pear preserves. Maria brought me out a little dish with spoon, a glass of water and a chair at Harry's insistence.
"Sit, sit. Try the preserves!" He commanded in a congenial tone.
I sat and began to eat, feeling very excited, like something good was about to ensue with Harry and Maria here at this unusual treasure trove in Chincoteague. I couldn't have been more right. While I nibbled on my preserves, good though they were, eating straight jam was a little tough for me without some sort of bread or cracker, but I didn't want to be rude so I ate spoonful after spoonful. Harry asked me about photography and then told me about his business. He pointed out the strawberries he had just bought sitting on a bench near me and talked about a fish tank he bought from a sea captain for $8,900, the only one ever made. Maria came out and asked if I would like some coffee. I nodded a profuse yes and smiled as I wasn't going anywhere. I didn't want to and I got the sense Harry just wanted to visit.
So we visited. I found out both Harry and Maria were Greek. Ah-ha. That explained the beautiful lilts to their voices. I asked Harry about this and he told me he moved from Sparta, Greece to Connecticut when he was sixteen years old. Now I wanted to know everything about Harry! He told me about how he would share his food with the homeless or the alcoholics of Chincoteague, sometimes offering them a beer as well. My heart warmed to him immensely.
Then Harry asked if I would like a glass of cognac. Yes. Yes, I would. He yelled for Maria. "I want her to try the cognac. Bring it out here so she can try it." I saw Maria's eyebrows go up in surprise, but he insisted she bring me some. She dutifully went, gathered three small plastic shot glasses with stems and poured us each a hefty amount. Maria and Harry raised their glasses in a salute and I raised mine to meet theirs.
"To good health and good fortune," Maria said.
"And to you settling down," Harry piped in. I laughed and cheers'd. It was an expensive seven star Greek Cognac, Harry pointed out and it tasted as such, smooth and delicious, but burned a fiery trail down my innards. Now Harry asked if I were twenty-three. I said, twenty-seven. He nodded and said that was the perfect time to settle down. I got quite a kick out of him wanting me to settle down. I hadn't even mentioned DC yet when he asked how long I'd been with my boy. I said 8 months. He nodded and offered to give me some advice on marriage.

I was giddy. Just giddy. This man was kindly and reminded me of my late grandpa Rajala who also loved to visit. I wanted his advice. I wanted it greatly.
This is what he told me:

"Don't be jealous of one another. There is no room for jealousy in marriage, neither you, nor him." I nodded, intently wanting to take notes but not wanting to ruin the moment. "Also. Don't worry about what you're bringing home. If you make $500 a week and he makes $800, don't you pay this and he pays that. You put it together. You share. You are a family and you share and you take care of one another. And it's not important what you make. Don't worry about that. Worry about what you save. I made $12 today and I spent $7 on strawberries. Do you know what I'm saving? $5. And you be faithful to one another! Oh, today you've got the husband going out to the bar and then the wife is doing it. No. You be faithful and loyal to each other! And say he has a bad day and he comes home and is telling you about his boss riding him and this and that and you think I don't want to hear all this, well, why do you suppose God gave you two ears?" he asked me.
"So you could listen twice as much?" I offered.
"No. So it can go in one ear and out the other. Just listen to what he has to say and don't let it bother you. And he'll do the same for you. In one ear, out the other."
At this point an elderly couple looking to be about 75 came into the shop. Harry greeted them kindly. They didn't stay long so when they walked past us again, he asked how long they'd been on their honeymoon. The man paused looking at Harry, confused.
"We're not on our honeymoon."
"Sure you are. How long have you been married?"
"Twenty-eight years," the man replied.
"Well I have been married for forty-three," Harry answered. "I have been on a forty-three year honeymoon." And I loved him.
At this point he yelled for Maria again and told her to bring us some pizza. I laughed to myself wanting to insist that he didn't need to do that, but there seemed to be no point. Harry didn't seem like a person you could argue with. I stayed and ate my delicious pizza, visited some more, including with a friendly older woman who seemed to have all the qualities of a very loving hippy. Harry insisted I photograph her as well and I did.

She was silly and delightful and had more patience than anybody I've come across in my lifetime. Anytime she tried to haggle with Harry on some piece from his shop and he wouldn't budge where I couldn't see a reason not to budge, she smiled like it made no difference and was completely and utterly kind to him. Not that I could imagine being unkind to Harry, but there was something about her that was so full of grace, much more so than the average lovely individual. It was astounding to me, the kindness and love radiating from her, and Harry and Maria. Honestly, I felt changed from meeting all three of them. Eventually the conversation died down and the hippy left and Harry still insisted on entertaining me, showing me an African mandolin made out of a melon and strumming on it while waiting for another picture to be taken of him. I did. It was getting late and I knew I still had loads on the island to see so I thanked Harry and Maria profusely for all their kindness and wisdom and said I had to be going.
"You come back tomorrow and see me," Harry said.
"I will do my best."
"Well, you are welcome here anytime," he smiled. Maria nodded and told me what a beautiful girl I was, while Harry reminded me to settle down. I beamed, feeling warm from the entire interchange, the cognac and the hot sea air. I waved goodbye and lazily made my way back to my steaming car.

Day Two:

I wanted to bike everywhere! I had wheels and I would not be reigned in! The Refuge Inn has a very handy bike shanty with bikes available for rental and I picked one up the night before to cruise around at sunset. Immediately I was reminded of, who else, but Hemingway and a quote I once read from him:

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle."

I didn't know why I hadn't bicycled around every place I'd ever been before, because darn it all if Ernest wasn't right! It was the way to see the world! And straightaway after my waffle, banana and coffee from the complimentary breakfast, I hopped back on my bike with that exact intention. I wanted to explore the whole of the island of Assateague, the island that housed the wild ponies. I wanted to see all the hidden trails, more animals and birds, the lighthouse and of course, be one with the ocean. How could I not? I happily pedaled in and out of every trail I spotted, feeling very connected to Mother Nature, very present and blissful, pausing on my bike to photograph trees, or marshland. There were rabbits, a deer darted out right in front of me, snowy egrets, and ample pony poop which should have excited me that the wild ponies were so near, but of course my frantic mind played a worse-case scenario of me coming upon a wild pony herd on my bicycle and the ponies immediately becoming suspicious of me and trampling me while I screamed, No, ponies, no! I came upon a mystery shack that was in the ocean resting precariously on wooden stilts, that looked long forgotten about. I felt like I was on Treasure Island and had just discovered something precious and wonderful that no one else knew was there. I think it was being alone that was having this affect on me.

Then I biked around the island to the beach. I walked up to the ocean after locking up my bike, snapped a few photos and then quickly disrobed down to bathing suit and made my way to the water's edge.

Now, here's the thing. I am crazy over the sea. I have a clipper ship tattooed on my arm. My entire bedroom is a salute to water, ships, and lighthouses. On countless occasions in my life I have proclaimed that the sea was calling to me and I must go! However, with that being said, I am slightly scared to swim in the ocean. Which really rankles me as I am a free-spirited and bold adventurer; I can't have limitations! See, I grew up in Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes. These lakes are vast, deep and ocean-like in their own right as they go for miles upon miles with no opposite shoreline in sight, however they are crystal clear and when I swim in them, I can be as far out as my neck and still see my feet. This is a fact I have always taken great comfort in as I don't care for seaweed, murky waters, or the possibility of unknown sea creatures grazing my feet while I swim. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that more often than not, I have worn water shoes well into adulthood while swimming in a lake where I couldn't see the bottom because my nerves just can't handle the unknown. Ask my boyfriend about how well I reacted the other day to a cicada landing on my shoulder and you will understand how I feel about a slimey fish grazing my foot in some murky depths.
The ocean combines my nervousness over murky unsettled waters and stories I have heard about shark attacks and jelly-fish incidents involving a sting in shallow water and then having to pee on yourself. So being my dramatic self, before I even set one toe in the salty water I already was convinced I spotted a fin darting in a zig-zag pattern in the distance. My heart stopped and then picked up, accompanied by the soundtrack to Jaws immediately playing in my head. I squinted my eyes and looked closely. On second thought it kind of seemed more like a duck than the fin of a shark but I was still leery. Then I spotted a man fishing straight from shore, nearby with large fishing poles that were wedged into the sand for support. Oh dear lord! What could he catch with those? I inched away from him and closer to the gaggle of children running and dive-bombing the waves. That seemed the best place to swim, by the brave five-year olds.

I waded in, little bit by little bit until I was up to about mid-calve. That was fine, I thought, because the waves were gigantic that day and when they swooped in and hit me, it got me wet all the way up to my neck. I don't count it as a swimming experience unless I dunk, so I was gearing myself up to move out a little deeper and submerge but I was so nervous anytime so much as an errant piece of sand grazed my foot and I mistook it for an eel or piranha--wait, mental catalog are there piranhas in the ocean? Nope, I think that's the Amazon my mind supplied. Okay, so it was probably an eel, then but like that's better--I would shimmy all the way back to ankle depth in the water until my nerves weren't requiring a Xanax and then make my way back into the waves. I glanced over to my left where the young girls were playing. They were up to their chests and neck in the waves, much further out than me. Okay, that's a little embarrassing. Who were these advanced swimmers making me look bad?
Then I realized that all four little girls were moving forward in the surf in a line while holding hands. Oh that's the way to do it girls, a buddy system! That way if one of you goes down by shark, the rest of you can see it coming and scatter. Brilliant. I wanted to go over and see about getting in on their ingenious hand-holding system, but I felt the watching mother might mistake me for a pervert. I already had my explanation ready.

It's okay, ma'am. I am the oldest of ten. I am really good with kids.

Nope. Still wouldn't work. I would surely look like a creep. Well, drats, I thought, they really are able to have much more fun in the ocean when they've got back-up like that, but whatever, I guess I just had to get as brave as a seven year old and push forward, with or without hand holding. After many tries of going forward until I was up to my thighs, then feeling something touch my foot (it was sand every time, being pulled up by the strong waves) I got skittish still convinced I was about to be attacked and featured on CNN in a pool of my own pee or blood and back-tracked to the shallow shore. But I did eventually just start face-planting into the waves so I could consider it a dunk in the ocean and could then proudly proclaim I swam in the ocean on a Thursday afternoon while everyone else I knew was being a slave to the man. Ha. Ha. Ha.
After my ocean swimming debut was official I proudly walked out of the sea and back up to my mound of clothes and put them back on nonchalantly. I didn't leave without first collecting seashells and listening to the waves hit the shore. There is nothing in this world so beautiful as the sound of waves crashing onto land. Well, that and when babies coo. Or my parents laugh. Those are my top favorite sounds.
I was mesmerized and then had to stop and place what the sound reminded me of. The salty waves racing up to shore, gaining momentum and then collapsing on themselves at the shoreline, made a fizzing sound, like the opening of a shook up bottle of pop, then when the waves slipped back to the sea, I watched the bubbles dissolving from a white foam, to a luminous sparkle as they scurried and dissipated on their way back to where they came from.
I very begrudgingly left the sea. As soon as I was out of it, though I missed it. I went back in one more time, and my nerves no stronger for having just spent a half an hour frolicking came right back and I turned around and went back to shore. I didn't bring a towel, but I figured the wind could dry me on the bike ride back to the hotel. I stopped at the lighthouse on the island and photographed it.
By the time I cruised into the parking lot of my hotel I was sweaty again from the several hours long bike ride and felt like there was a bucket of sand left over from the ocean, waiting to fall out of my bathing suit the moment I stepped off my bike.

I realized something while biking through the forests of Assateague, the streaming sunshine, smelling the sea air and feeling as free as those wild ponies, that there was a reason I despised closed spaces of any kind, as well as always finding horses so relatable, almost on a primal level, not just love but understanding. I am not someone who can be reigned in. There is a reason I find it hard to work any job for more than a year because I start to feel trapped and corralled and like I need to break free.
No waitressing, or cashier job has ever been able to hold me for too long because in the deepest recesses of my soul, I know I am meant to be out exploring the world, writing about it, introducing myself to every creature, ponies and wise old Greek men, alike. I felt a deep connection to Chincoteague, this island that is known for the wild ponies, but made a sincere impression on me in the way of kindness and goodness.
Not a single person who helped me made me feel like it was just because I was a tourist and might spend money. One man who was mowing the lawn at a shop in town offered to put my bike in the back while I shopped, then brought it back out for me when I was done. Others riding their bikes through town smiled and waved. Seeing the tin boxes to put money in for seashells on the side of the road all speaks to a kind of honesty and good intention you don't see much of anymore, or at least I haven't in a long while. This trip wasn't just good for me as a writer, to feel empowered and full of purpose, seeing and exploring a new place, then writing about it, it reached me on a very intimate human level and I felt incredible for having met Chincoteague in all its splendor. It so moved me that upon returning home, and not smelling the freshness of the sea and surrounding marshland and feeling enveloped in a sort of warm inviting community, I simply cried myself to sleep. I yearned for more.

I offer a sincere wish that you put Chincoteague Island, on your list of places to visit in life. Stop in and see Harry, admire the ponies and their wild freedom, take a moment to feel like Hemingway, bicycling included, and just be present. Present enough to notice every single sound the sea makes, flicker of the wind through your hair, and innate kindness of strangers. I say, it will be more than worth it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

To Smother or Not to Smother

I am reading Augusten Burroughs right now and I forgot how much I love that hilariously inappropriate gay man. In all his wit and candor he has reminded me that a writer writes best when they don't hold back. So here goes nothin.

I was talking to DC last night about writing, my life, existential crisis', the usual and he brought up to me that on numerous occasions he tells me to write and wouldn't it be nice if I actually listened to him and wrote? Furthermore, he also pointed out that it would be good for us to sometimes, (and this is where he started talking very delicately and carefully as if wisely and diligently avoiding bombs in Minesweeper) have time apart, as in independently, then he did make the treacherous mistake of pointing out that at times I can be... and this is where he mis-stepped and hit a mine, "smothering." In his defense, he was trying to avoid the usage of the word smothering by saying, "not smothering, but..." and then searching for a synonym to smothering that isn't as harsh, but I had already stopped listening at smothering. It was beyond my control; I blinked for a moment waiting for my highly sensitive emotions to catch up with my brain that was scrambling to register the onslaught of horror at the word smother.

Red Alert, the fiery independent portion of my mind was screeching. How did this happen? Smothering? Were you not paying attention, she accused the side of my brain that has been in a lovesick delirium, while the lovesick side was waving her hands in a frantic I don't know how this happened gesture because she has been tripping on dopamine for some time and it feels out of her control.

While growing up in a big family and sharing beds with my siblings and drawing on backs to fall asleep has prepared me for a life of sharing that I greatly enjoy, my life in the dating realm included ample rejection and boyfriend-less years making me rather adept at going it alone, seeing movies by myself, opting for solo museum dates and wine tastings because I enjoy those excursions and, bonus, my own company. I still pride myself on being able to go on road trips by myself, or venturing out with nothing but my thoughts, music and God. Also I think I am kind of the cat's fucking meow when it comes to girlfriend duties.

So it was rather alarming to find that I might be getting a little too comfy in the world of cohabitation with my boyfriend. Sure I fall in love with the kid more every day and am real keen on the place we're in of complete comfort and understanding. We get each other's little quirks and habits and we work, but was I getting too codependent? Apparently, as when I left for work yesterday I pouted that I was twenty minutes early and DC just couldn't wait to be rid of me. I don't know why I did it. I mean, sure I wanted to keep garage-sale-ing with him and not spend my Saturday serving wine instead of drinking it, but I think it was a whole mixture of things.

We are in the best place with with our love. That place I couldn't wait for. Where I don't worry if my hair doesn't get washed everyday or if I am doused in perfume, lotion or wearing fifteen coats of mascara. Where I tell him I am not shaving my legs that day, mmm, or the next and he surprisingly still wants to touch them. Where nights like Friday when we laid in bed and massaged each others feet and then dozed off while reading our own separate novels--too darling and perfect for words. At least in my mind. It also means, however, that the new fresh, beginning period of dating where DC sought after me relentlessly and couldn't get enough of me and upon seeing me had this raw passion of needing to kiss me long and good, like in an old black and white flick has passed.

I cling to wanting him to still be crazed with longing for me because there are still times when I look at him, like this morning and my land! I am bowled over. See, he is the cutest lil babe when he wakes up, his hair is mussed and he walks into the living room looking slightly dazed and almost like a kid. I can't stand it! I want to tackle him and kiss his face off and then I worry, because, um it's me and that's what I do, that maybe that feeling has worn off for him, but not for me, hence why I pull little antics like having a fit before I go into work.

So naturally after the smother comment and my brain going into hysteric meltdown mode, the passivity began. I refused to cuddle him last night because I didn't want to "smother" him. He cuddled me anyway. Then this morning after hearing his sweet sleep murmurs and seeing his messy hair after waking, I wanted to throw myself at him, but then remembered the word smother and tried to keep it cool and disinterested. I kissed him maybe three times instead of devouring him like I wanted to. Then, normally Sundays, my favorite day, I like to spend the day doing something pleasant like driving the countryside or eating pancakes with none other than my favorite, sir. I opted to go to the coffee shop and write without him. Oh and about him. Perks of dating a writer, baby. He commented that I didn't mind going and doing my own thing today? I answered that I wanted time alone.

"I know what you're doing," he said.

I pretended not to hear. Then on my drive to the coffee shop I contemplated all the ways I could stick it to him. I would be so non-smothering, so occupied and driven to my old independent ways that he would altogether ache and yearn for the days of my wanting too much cuddle time! Until I realized, I was being slightly insane and needed confirmation on whether I was justified or not. I relayed my conundrum to my best friend, Ash. She saw my side and understood, however, told me not to go too far in my Anti-Smothering Movement, because then we'd both lose. She also knows me really well because she gave me this sound advice:

"Now don't just drive around listening to the Lumineers, staring out a rain spattered windshield and crying."

Okay, so I would scratch my melodramatic drive into the mountains and stop plotting to get back at DC with my extreme passive-aggressiveness. Except it was easier said than done. Every time I would calmly think, he's right, it's fine for us to have our own separate interests, I would become incensed over the fact that he used the word smother in the first place and I already did loads of adventures on my own, not to mention working two jobs that oftentimes overlapped with his work schedule. When did I have time to smother, I fumed?

And though I got myself back round to the notion of letting the whole, to smother or not to smother issue rest, when I walked in the door after my independent time at the coffee shop to see that DC wasn't yet dressed for his niece's baptism I was a little surprised. It was 1 and we were going to leave at 1:20 according to DC's planning timetable. I asked him if he was going to get ready and he seemed nonchalant like he had all the time in the world. Odd. Then after getting ready and coming out of the bedroom at 1:17 he casually sat back on the couch, while I was already up and waiting in the dining room. Okay, now I was suspicious.

"I thought we had to leave," I said.
"Yeah we've got time. We don't have to be early." Ohhh, now I saw what he was up to. DC has never been casual about being late or early. For not being early to him is being late.
"Um, what are you doing? Are you trying to prove some sort of point?"
"Were you trying to prove a point earlier?"

I didn't answer because I am a bad liar so why bother? He seemed satisfied that he made a point as well (though the point being that he can be less rigid about time was kind of a funny one to me) and jumped off the couch and said, "no really, we should get going though, we don't know how traffic will be."

"And he's back," I quipped, knowing all too well DC couldn't be casual about being late if his life depended on it.

Honestly, after leaving the coffee shop I had really good intentions to stop being coy and planning ways to act like this whole smothering affair had rolled right off me, but every time I looked at him and imagined at what point I had supposedly smothered him, I got back to being angry.

To quote Mr. Augusten Burroughs here,

"I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions."

I am flawed. Besides being highly over-sensitive, something that serves me well in the empathy department, but not so well when it comes to even a whiff of criticism, I also happen to have a huge problem with being passive. Am I working on it? Yes. My intention to be better is there. Just like my intention not to smother my boyfriend is now there. Truly it's a good thing I leave for vacation in two weeks. While I don't think my irritation over this will last into tomorrow, for I am a lover not a fighter, (I had a camo shirt that proclaimed as much, that I proudly wore in high school) the three week hiatus away from my boyfriend will be a built in Anti-Smother Movement all on its own and he will rue the day he used the word smother, whilst counting down until I am nuzzling his beard again.

No, but seriously, my boyfriend is probably a mad genius and did all this as reverse psychology to get me to write. In which case, kudos, honey, kudos. What a brilliant ruse. For with the word smother, I am getting back at my boyfriend by... feverishly writing. Yeah, look out undercover ops, this girl plays dirty.

Now if you will excuse me I think I need to go photograph the rain or attempt to learn guitar on my out-of-tune five string guitar to prove to myself that I don't need to be oozing relationship romance every second and there is more than a morsel of independence still in me. Or it's just to stick it to DC. I kid, I kid, of course it's just to stick it to DC.