Yesterday morning, I was out walking my dog, and a neighbor happened to be outside with a squeagy getting the dew off his car. I have never seen that before, but down here condensation is enough to drive anybody crazy. I said hi and noticed that his license tag said Delaware.
“You from Delaware?”
“How long have you been down here?”
“Well, what do you think?” I grinned.
“I love the climate! After I left Delaware, they got 65 inches of snow last winter!”
I giggled to myself because (a) he hasn’t been through August yet and (b) I get it. We always seem to love what we hated in the last place. I talked to a new fellow last night on the phone that I’m just getting to know.
“Are you from here?”
“I’m originally from Oregon but moved here when I was young. I moved away for college but I’m in the petroleum business, so I either have to be here or Houston.”
“Do you like it here?”
“I like everything but the climate.”
That crazy climate. One person’s vacation-like dream is another person’s hell. I spent my entire life trying to get away from heat after growing up down here. I momentarily lost my senses and forgot about it when I accepted this job. It was an adjustment for me to move from the Michigan-Indiana area to Memphis just a few short years ago. I can remember telling the sun to ‘please just give it a rest’ when it was beating down on me in July that first year. My ex had some kind of issue with turning on the air conditioning, and we fought like cats and dogs over it. I have to admit I didn’t love the northern winters, but I don’t love the southern summers either. I think the middle of the country is an ideal place to be if you can’t afford or tolerate the western coast. Seattle was freaking awesome. You hear about the rain, but honestly, Chicago and Seattle have just about the same number of cloudy days each year. It’s just that Seattle settles into the 40s in the winter, and Chicago settles into … well … bitter cold. And, Seattle keeps it a big secret, but it’s sunny from July to November. I didn’t even have an air conditioner, either. I didn’t need it.
It’s amazing how one experience colors another. The older I get, the more I learn about what’s intolerable for me. As a twenty-something, I was so naive about places to live, getting married and working. I thought any choice would do. Just pick one! If you are in midlife and married to the same person you married in your twenties, I hope you realize how lucky you are. With as little research as we put into high school and college dating, we have absolutely no idea what … or whom … we’re marrying. And, as we get older, we change so much that it is amazing that anybody makes it work long-term.
My first husband worked and traveled all the time. So, when I dated again, I wanted somebody that would be available to be a companion. I really wanted somebody that I could play with. I got that. My second husband and I went on all kinds of adventures. When things were good, they were very, very good. What I didn’t realize is that people could be crazy. I had no idea how hard marriage to a crazy person would be or I would have screened for it. I would have put more effort into finding somebody that had several good, stable relationships. Now, I’m totally focused on that. Whatever I had before certainly colors what I DON’T want in the future. In fact, I was talking with a woman this morning who is married to a crazy person. Listening to her talk about the chaos and drama at her house and helping her to process her fear and pain made me realize why I’m still single after 8 years. I’m just so scared of what that other foot looks like. The best foot is always forward during the marketing period. When that other foot comes out, it can be really UGLY!!
I have to say that I’m typing this while I sit on my front porch, and it is really nice outside today. It’s July 22 – my first husband’s birthday – and it should be scorching. I am getting chewed on by a few mosquitoes which is a bit uncomfortable. Maybe my next move will be to a cooler climate with no bugs. I’d also like an office where I can get all the money I need to implement projects and where people work together to solve problems. I’d like to be a stone’s throw from the mountains and in a city where I can go running on paved scenic trails that allow pets. Oh yeah, and I’d love to be in a place where being single is a great thing, and there is plenty to do whether you have a partner or not. While I’m at it, can I have a great salary that allows me to take some more Women’s Quests and have at least 3 weeks of vacation time to start? Wonder if I could even write for a living? Wouldn’t that be sweet? I feel another adventure percolating…