There are some things a person has to accept that she cannot change about herself. Maybe it's that she'll never believe that another color is the new black. Maybe it's that she will always find those new 3-D ultrasound images vaguely creepy, no matter whose baby it is. Maybe it's that she'll look at a glass half full and see a glass that someone has already drunk from and suspect that person probably has a cold.
According to British economist Richard Layard, who wrote the book Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, we need a certain amount of stability in the big things in our lives (job, marriage, etc.) to keep us chipper. But, on an individual level, we need to mix it up a bit. Suze Orman writes that we should be able to splurge a little; the marital experts write that couples need some spice; Martin Seligman writes about the element of surprise.
I tend to get stuck in ruts of routine, so I'm always looking for new things to do. A regular DJ Funky Fresh, I am.
Brandon and I decided on Saturday night that it would be great for Caleb and me to join him when he played with the Sunday night jazz collective he's started going to recently. We'd get some dinner. I'd be supporting my man. Caleb would get some culture.
I settled up the bill for our tacos while Brandon went upstairs to warm up. Caleb and I joined him up there and got comfortable, him with a Shirley Temple, me with a Bohemia. Caleb leaned his head against me. The band started with "Take the A Train."
First song: Caleb taps his foot appreciately. We both smile a little bigger when Brandon takes his solo. We snuggle.
Second song: The whispering starts. Why are they all wearing glasses? I suggest maybe it's a band look. Where is the drummer? He's just around that post. This is the song that goes duh duh duh duh duh. Yes. How long does this last? Uh oh.
Third song: Frantic waving at Brandon and my hissing that Daddy's trying to play. A suggestion that we play Hangman. An ill-advised decision to get me to try to guess a ten-letter Pokémon character. A few more rounds in which the stick figure meets his end. A few more rounds in which he gets a stay of execution. Finally, a request that we leave.
By the middle of the fourth song, there are urgent requests to go home now and comments hinting that if I'd only let him bring him his Gameboy, we wouldn't be in this pickle. I sigh in a way hinting that my balance between stability and surprise is being seriously offset. Also hinting that one more mention of the Gameboy is going to seriously piss me off. We go downstairs and order dessert.
We walk to the parking garage. "I'm sorry that didn't work out," Brandon says.
"I'm sorry we cut your night short," I say.
"I'm not sorry for anything," Caleb says mildly.
We keep walking the pathway back to the rut, where the least apologetic of us is happy to stay.