I think I’m an observant guy. I’m attuned to the sights, sounds and smells surrounding me much like a ninja. (Albeit a slightly older version with bad knees and wearing board shorts.)
I remember the little things that can make a difference, like which side our gas tank is on, and who played Emma Peel on The Avengers, and when June and I were married.
Now you may think this is no major achievement, but it is when you realize I met my wife during the Jurassic Period.
We’ve survived several horrible disasters, including the devastating earthquake in the Bay Area (no, reader, not the one in 1906!), Hurricane Katrina, and even a Lady Gaga concert.
(We weren’t present for any of these harrowing events, but we did read about them.)
We’ve had a couple of dogs. (And one rat with a very long, unsettling tail.)
We both grew up in the Northeast, where I became proficient at shoveling snow and averting frostbite. We lived in the Deep South where the humidity is high and the people desperately need liposuction. We lived in Los Angeles next to a rundown, discount furniture store with unfinished, dining room tables that we still couldn’t afford.
We both worked and my wife has bounced from corporate job to entrepreneur so often her resume cannot be read in one sitting.
I’ve broken Mustangs, worked on an oil rig in Prudhoe Bay and make up careers at social gatherings. (My corporate job was so boring it’s one thing I don’t remember.)
We’ve traveled and there are still some countries I’m allowed to return to. We’ve made some smart investments, more stupid ones (what do you mean, this stock no longer exists!!), and won a car on a game show.
Oh, yes, and we’ve also had two kids. (And neither looks like me which, I’ve been told ad nauseam, is a very good thing.)
And as maudlin as it sounds, being a mother has always been my wife’s top priority. (I opted to be the annoying dad since I’ve never been too crazy about lactating.)
But I’m still an attentive Shar-Pei.
Well, at least I thought I was.
So when we walked into our house last weekend and someone yelled, Surprise! I could only yell back, How did you get in our house? (I’m also paranoid and was certain I’d left the garage door up.)
And how did I not know my daughter and two dozen of June’s friends, and one of my acquaintances, were planning this surprise anniversary party for weeks? How could I be so unaware even though our memorable date had passed weeks earlier?
OK, it was quite the bacchanalia and we all laughed and laughed, and they all couldn’t understand how she could still be with me after so many years. (I did say they were her friends. Though it is a bit sad my own parents feel the same way.)
And so I was caught unaware, and after 35 years with this woman it’s obvious I’m not so observant after all.
But I am pretty sure she’s the best friend I have.
And I think, just maybe, I can put that into perspective.