Posted by: agapeflower | January 12, 2009

Will You Go Out With Us?

So the other night Mike and I invited a couple over to the apartment to hang out.  Nothing special: a pizza, a movie, some beers, and good conversation.

Normal people do not worry about whether or not this will go well.  But for me, on the other hand, it was January 2004 all over again, and I was preparing for a first date.

In the five minutes it took for us to set up a time for our friends to come over, the apartment went from a pretty decent, humble abode, full of laughter and love, to a shabby tenement found somewhere on the map between a dilapidated section of Washington Heights and Dante’s eighth circle of hell.  Suddenly, every flaw was magnified in the early afternoon sunlight: the spots on the carpet, the cracks in the walls, the bare hooks that were nowhere near as strong as advertised, seeing as how they could not hold a single piece of artwork I’d brought with me to Pittsburgh when I moved in.

It all seemed to hit me at once: we’ve having company! Real company! (Apparently, our friend and neighbor who is a frequent visitor doesn’t count.) There’s so much to do! Everything needs to be shouted; every sentence needs to be punctuated by an exclamation! They’re bringing over pizza! What if they don’t like our plates?! What if they think our pizza cutter is gauche?! We have two – maybe I should put out both of them and let them decide!

You can see how this could be annoying.

One of the best things about being married so far is having a husband who is like an animal who moves quickly when a natural disaster is approaching –  but instead of moving out of the hurricane’s way to find higher ground, he moves closer to it and calms it down to a sun shower.  I got my perspective back and tried to breathe; and wouldn’t you know it? When our new friends arrived, pizza in tow, we started a conversation, watched a movie, and talked and laughed a lot.  Everything went just fine.

But it was still remarkable to me how the really big things – identity, self-worth, someone’s image – things that you think are solved when you end one chapter of life, say – never really go away; they just circle back and around again, wearing different shirts, talking in different accents.  Worrying about whether or not our new friends would like us was not very different (okay, not different at all whatsoever) from worrying about whether or not I’d be liked on the first day of school.  Worrying about if my carpet looked okay or if they’d think the TV is big enough seemed pretty similar to worrying about whether or not my date would think my outfit was nice and my hair looked good.

Hopefully Mike and I get asked out again, but I won’t worry about it.  I think.



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