Most days my husband and I are OK stuck at home together, 24/7. We started isolating ourselves on March 17, just two days before California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued stay-at-home orders.
Don and I get along, although we approach things differently. I’m a worrier; he subscribes to the Alfred E. Neuman philosophy, “What, me worry?” He takes risks; I don’t. I indulge in retail therapy while he orders his shoes online from L.L. Bean and finds clothes at Costco and Kohl’s. I enjoy getting out occasionally with friends. He’s more comfortable staying home, although I can entice him out with the promise of lunch at a restaurant.
Temperamentally, we balance each other. He talks me down from the emotional ledge when I get upset. I prompt him to accomplish things, like making doctor appointments or filing our income tax return before April 15. Both of us are smart/nerds, and we appreciate language (we each had Oxford dictionaries of English etymology).
We make each other laugh. When we were dating, we told my teenaged son about a bumper sticker we had seen. My son didn’t find it as amusing as we did, and I said that Don and I had the same sense of humor.
“Great,” George replied. “Two moms.”
That humor carries us through these long days of isolation. We find ways to amuse ourselves and each other. A friend brought him a sourdough starter, and I found it engaging to watch the bubbles “burp” in the dough as it rose. We can tell when mail or delivery trucks approach. I observed a hummingbird stirring in the rosemary bush out back. Don spotted a cricket in my studio, which is a pretty good place to hide because the room is a creative mess. Every night, I listened to the cricket as it moved around the house. I’ve heard that crickets are lucky and I hoped that’s true.*
We do sometimes get on each other’s last nerve, however. Especially in the kitchen, where my role usually is to assist while he cooks. I set the table and stage items he will need.
On Sundays, we usually fix eggs with toast or English muffins (he adds sausage to his order). One Sunday, we deviated from our routine and made fried egg sandwiches. I had set a sharp knife next to our plates on the counter.
“You don’t need a knife,” he said.
“Uh, yes, for cutting your sausage and the sandwich,” I replied.
“I meant for butter.”
“I know but I may need it if you keep annoying me.”
“Get a bigger knife,” he quipped.
All things considered, we’re coexisting well in captivity.
“There’s no one I’d rather be stuck on a desert island with,” my loving husband told me the other day.
Unless I bring a knife.
*unfortunately, the unlucky cricket met an untimely death