Well, Bing and I just returned home from a mini vacation. We went to Kansas for a long weekend to see a good friend of ours who is a jazz singer and was doing a clinic there. We left after the Husker game, so admit that we were both kind of crabby (C'MON, you guys....you're playing like it's pee-wee football out there instead of collegiate....)
Liv stayed home to take care of Socks. My 21 year old niece stayed with her.
I wasn't too excited to go, just between you and me and the garden fence. Bing and I are not good vacation partners. I am all about staying in fancy hotels with mints on my pillow at night and eating in good restaurants. She is ALWAYS all about saving a buck. So, I am the one sneaking around buying foolish presents for people (Liv has a shot glass collection that she's had since she was 4 and we try to add to it but did she REALLY need that hair barrette that I found in that darling little shop?) and discreetly hiding them in my suitcase. Once I get home, I PROMISE you that Bing will never notice that Liv has a new barrette.
If Bing had her druthers, we'd stay at Motel 6. She requires bedsheets and a hot shower. That's it. I require those things too, but I also insist on SPARKLING CLEANLINESS and a snotty concierge. I usually win this battle since she knows from experience that I will NOT travel anywhere with her unless she shows me the hotel first and it better be really nice.
And our ideas of a fun time are completely opposite. I like art museums. She's happy if she can find any sort of place with a good jazz band where she can sit mindlessly in a chair staring into the void all night. I am not a jazz fan, in general, it reminds me of snapping rubber bands. She tells me to let your mind go into the music and follow it down all the paths.
But, we both love our friend and let me just remind you that she's been nominated for a Grammy more than once. Plus, she's funny and smart and okay, kind of a diva and I find that fascinating to watch.
So, we went to see her play. She was giving a concert on Sunday night. This way, Bing could go to the jazz clinic (boring...) and I could find something fun to do in this rather-small-but-pretty city in Kansas, just a few hours away from our home.
And it was FUN. We actually had fun. We stayed in the same hotel as our friend and it was very, very nice. This pleased me and pleased Bing because we were just two doors down from our friend.
Car rides of any length are not fun for Bing or me. I have two words: Talk Radio. Bing LOVES it and I don't mind it, usually....but I don't like HER talk radio. She likes the more conservative financial ones. I prefer the political ones or at least Husker radio, so we can re-hash the mess that was the football game. But, truthfully....I like to listen to books on tape. Bing ABHORS books on tape of any kind. She says the sing-songiness of the voices makes her feel car sick.
The rule: the driver gets to listen to whatever they want.
But, this time? We ended up just talking all the way down and back. And Bing says that we should make this a habit. That it isn't often that she gets me trapped in a car with her for three hours. I told her that I didn't see it as trapped at all. We actually had fun. We talked about the future. We talked about what sort of wedding we could both agree on.Yes, we are hashing out the details. Yes, it is going to happen.
I would just like to go to Iowa and get the paper and be done with it. Maybe take Liv with us and then all of us go out to dinner. Bing prefers that we have a proper wedding, complete with readings, music and walking down an aisle together arm in arm. She tries to lure me into this scenario by saying how we will get so many presents. She knows I really, really like presents and we do need a new toaster.
I am not nearly as mercenary as that sounds. It's just....I don't really want to sashay down an aisle. I don't want to say vows in front of others. It seems to me that this should be a very private thing between the two of us. I don't really want a bunch of our relatives either gushing that this is their first lesbian wedding! or grousing that they don't really get this insistence of gays needing to make a fuss. At the same time, I am not embarrassed to be marrying Bing. I've NEVER in my life wanted to marry anyone. I would get the heebie jeebies just thinking about being a bride.
So, how to compromise. Bing suggests that we just have a very small, very exclusive wedding. Just invite all the people that we want to be there. Our friends from Chicago, Vince and Thuan. Liv's Father. My bestie, Harriet and her husband. Our jazz singer friend and her partner of many years. In fact, she could sing at our wedding and he could conduct. Except that I don't want schmaltzy music.
I said that I could live with this song:
I said that I liked Smells Like Teen Spirit too.
That made her laugh. I love it when she laughs. She said, "Honey, if I can get you to just do this THANG, I could care less what music is in it."
It ended up being a pretty fantastic time away together.
Well, a small snafu at the after concert party. We went and of course, the first thing we saw as we walked in the door were a circle of people sharing a bong.
Bing immediately went all edgy. She said (as I knew she would), "I'm a teacher. I can't be here. Let's just pay our respects and get going."
Me? The sight of the bong brought my inner party girl out. My first thought?
Holy crap. I can't remember the last time I had contact with a bong. Come to Mama!"
Just one more way that we are like night and day.
I told Bing that I wouldn't mind smoking one joint. I mean, really? It wasn't as if I had to play role model here. Liv wasn't back at the hotel. I didn't have to worry about coming home smelling like weed. She rolled her eyes at me.
Said: "I spent way too many years carrying you home from parties. If you indulge, you find your own way back to the hotel. I MEAN IT. "
I sighed. Shoved my inner Courtney Love back inside. And, in the end, it was the right thing to do.
This is the part where I should say that I am somebody's Mother and I realized that and that I knew down deep inside that I wanted Liv to be proud of my abstinence.
But, that would be sheer bull shit.
The truth is that I don't have much problem with weed. Grass. Mary Jane. I agree that cocaine, meth, etc. are very very bad ideas. But, I always loved the way I felt when I had some bong water sloshing. I think that small indulgences are okay. This does not mean that I want my daughter to go out and start doing speed balls. It just means that, like liquor, I think it has a time and a place.
But, I can't tell my daughter this. So, I tell her another truth. That I rarely drink anymore because I used to drink way too much and it was bad for me. Bad for my life. And that yes, I tried many, many drugs. And that I regret it. A lot.
What I don't tell her and what I never will tell her is that I think a little indulgence now and then is okay. When you are older.
I have told her that using drug as a way to drown out the pain is a costly mistake to make. I did that and yes, I do regret it.
I am only glad that I didn't join the bong circle because Bing would have yelled at me ALL NIGHT LONG and I'm glad to have avoided that. It was much nicer to go home early and go to bed and relish that time alone with no one else. Just us.
And a piece of cheesecake brought home in a napkin from the party to share. After. In small bites with soft cheesecakey kisses in between.
Even though there is no paper, I am truly married because I understand compromise.
Yes. It was nice to get away. To talk. To not have to make the bed. To pull up at the truck stop so that I could get vitamin water and Bing could get a very small slice of that fudge that they only have at those roadside truck stops. To see a ragged rolled up sleeping bag and a falling apart guitar case by the side of the building and take a photo of it with Bing standing next to it. And send it to our friends with the text: We are never coming back, Jack Kerouac!
And to talk and talk and talk all the way home.