Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Some people value their fridge more than marriage.

Yesterday at lunch, I overheard a man talking … but really, it shouldn’t qualify as eavesdropping, because when someone speaks so loudly that I can hear them or lives their life as though they want everyone to see, then they deserve to end up in my blog.  At least that’s my opinion.  Consider yourself warned.

 

Anyway.

 

This man in the booth behind me was waving his arms all over the place and getting pretty riled up about how he considered marriage to be of little significance in a long-term relationship.  He went on and on about how he thought “the whole institution of marriage is a crock” and that he didn’t feel he needed any contract to remain committed in any relationship.  In fact, he continued to babble on that a paper wasn’t going to be the thing that would make him stick around, “even if kids are involved”.  I never got a chance to actually see this man, but I didn’t have to see his face in order to recognize that, in my opinion, he was just full of beans.

 

If I didn’t have another appointment to rush off to, I would have stopped at his booth to ask him if was also in the habit of acquiring expensive appliances, entertainment equipment or new car without a warranty.  Instead, I sat with my pencil and paper and started writing down most of the things humans pursue nowadays that require more than a handshake or a promise.  It was a lengthy list, as it seems modern man rarely embarks on any venture without some kind of written agreement for protection and peace of mind.

 

Even so, any contract can be broken, whether between employer and employee, vendor and customer or between spouses — but a legal document does make you think twice (or more than thrice) about severing ties when litigation makes the process a little more complicated than just waving goodbye in your rearview mirror.  It’s not foolproof, but it helps.

 

Tonight, I sat outside and listened to a neighbor who had the unpleasant misfortune of having to turn her fridge into the world’s largest insulated picnic cooler with bags and bags of ice.  The four year old unit was on the fritz and she was so happy to announce that a repairman would be showing up tomorrow morning to make it all better, because “the darn thing is still under warranty”.  She’d only had this big lug in her life for a few years and depended upon it from day-to-day, so having it fail was tremendously upsetting to her and I understand.  Thank goodness for that winky, wrinkled yellow paper she had shoved into a file or drawer somewhere.

 

It’s been over 20 years and, last I looked, my marriage license has not yet expired.  I can honestly say that of all the things that contribute to the longevity of this union, it’s not the paper that holds me in place (weird, but visions of giant sci-fi level flypaper just popped in my head).  If I took my time and sat with a cup of tea, I might be able to wax philosophic about why it’s lasted this long – but, in a nutshell, it’s complicated.  The short-form answer is that while I might have once thought that the grass is greener on the other side of fence, I am also wise enough to know why: fertilizer.  As a result, I have no intention or motivation to trade this life in for one that might involve some strange, nuclear fertilizer that is nastier than what I might be able to handle.  The devil you know, and all that.  Plus, the paperwork would be ridiculous.

 

For those that do wander to the darker side of the fence, away from their already green-green grass of home, I can’t help but wish a pox on their head.  Their big, fat, pompous head that believes some better life awaits them as they swing for the bleachers hoping to win the Kewpie doll of their dreams in this complex carnival game of life.  I don’t know which is worse, the fool who believes that a marriage license isn’t necessary for proof of love and commitment, or the bigger fool who believes the paper it isn’t worth the ink it was signed with after a certain period of time.

 

All I know is that if we expect our cars, laptops or refrigerators to be repaired due to contractual obligations, shouldn’t we treat one another as equally worthy, if not more?  There are those who think that marriage is a dusty old relic, not worth fighting for — though legions of Americans might argue with that around the water cooler and at the polls.

 

Personally, I wish we didn’t have to depend so much on the notarized documents of the world to maintain our relationships, honor our agreements and promises to one another.  It would be so nice if we could go back to a time when a man’s handshake and his word was all that was needed to prove he was a stand-up guy.  Until that day I’m keeping a pen handy, to loan to the folks who should use it (like the guy in the booth next to me), so they can keep a record of their good intentions to be shoved in a file or drawer somewhere.

 

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and a 5’4” woman armed with her favorite Papermate Profile pen?  Well, that’s a dangerous thing indeed.  Consider yourself warned.

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