All I’m Sayin’ is You Probably Don’t Want to End Up in a Pie. DO You?
It occurred to me over the weekend that some of you might find it odd that Justin and I are taking a separate-yet-together vacation. That we’re married, and yet we would opt to arrive at the same destination via different means. That I, the girl, would choose to toss my bags into the back of the Tracker and take a week to meander my way to Philly while Justin, the guy, will pop a couple of Dramamines and ask the stewardess to wake him up when they get there.
The difference in our travel philosophies is obvious. For Justin, it’s about arriving at the destination as quickly as possible so he has more time to enjoy it. But me? I don’t like to be rushed. The trip itself — as long as I’m not stuffed into a cramped plane cabin full of crying babies and plane farters — is a part of the vacation.
Especially when I have the chance to see other interesting places and people along the way.
After nearly nine years together, we’ve finally figured out that there’s really no need for one of us to conform. If he prefers to fly, he can fly. Since I prefer to drive, I will drive. (Though I’ll admit this idea doesn’t seem quite as brilliant as gas prices creep closer to that $4.00 mark.)
Anyway. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean we have to become the same person — some oddly morphed amalgamation of the individuals we once were.
I remain stubbornly independent.
It probably stems from my first real date.
See, I wasn’t the most popular girl in high school. And I never really did have a boyfriend. But there was this boy, we’ll call him Todd for reasons that will become obvious in a minute, whom I met while painting the set for our high school’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona or some other Shakespearian work we didn’t understand, in a junior year last-ditch effort to involve myself in the place so it would look like I cared on my college applications.
Todd was a senior who worked on the lighting, and I remember the flutterbies when he held my hand in the dark on the catwalk as we lay side-by-side on our stomachs, watching the play through the metal grates from above.
He asked me out not long thereafter, and it felt surreal when the night arrived. A real boy was picking me up in a real car and taking me to a real dinner and not just a movie, but a play. A college play, that was going to be performed in-the-round with a revolving set inside of a big black box and we’d be parked in the seats, not the catwalk, though I thought maybe I’d miss our aerial view from the catwalk a little.
The play had some silly name, Sweeney Todd or something crazy like that, weird but easy to remember the way it rolled off the tongue.
He said it was about a barber.
Now. It’s important to remember that this event occurred before Johnny Depp brought Sweeney to mainstream culture. So. Imagine my surprise when Benjamin Barker cuts the first victim’s throat with a razor blade, red blood gushing oh-so-realistically as he pulls a lever on his specially crafted chair, turning it into a rigid slide of sorts, and the body, a once-jolly chap who’d only wanted a shave, falls through a hole in the floor and down into Mrs. Lovett’s kitchen where she grinds him up and turns him into a pie, of all things, and sells him on the street as the delicious individual pastries for which she soon becomes famous. And they sing about the pies, people, about the human meat pies in a song called, God, that’s Good.
And I thought about the hamburger from Ruby Tuesday’s I’d just devoured, and I realized at that moment that maybe this whole romance thing was overrated.
So when Todd (the one I dated, not the one from the play) started to get a little clingy — showing up at my house when I told him I was spending time with my girlfriends and calling incessantly — I thought maybe there was a chance that Sweeney Todd had been a warning.
And maybe, no matter what happens in this life with the menfolk, I shouldn’t try to change who I am to fit someone else’s personality. Nor should I expect them to change for me. Sometimes the solutions are much simpler than what we make them.
And I definitely should never pay anyone to shave my neck.
My life is full of lessons, people.
I’m just here to pass them to you.