In many ways, Bob and I are very similar. We don’t tend to bother ourselves with the sorts of things that take up most Americans’ time, like clean, show-room-worthy cars or living room furniture carefully chosen and color-coordinated to match the window treatments. Nope. We are perfectly content to sit around in a house full of mismatched hand-me-down furniture (some of which makes our friends who are educated in such matters green with envy, because it’s so old, we probably ought to be featured on The Antiques Road Show every week, and other stuff that makes the same friends wonder which dump we like to frequent) and not so-gently-used books, our feet leaving marks in the dust on the unfinished and broken coffee tables on which they are propped. We couldn’t care less about having a yard that could be featured on the cover of House and Garden, if it means time spent in the hot sun doing backbreaking work instead of time spent lounging around with open books in our hands.
However, somewhere we part ways. Somewhere, I seem to be able to distinguish between a pair of jeans that could really be called a pair of threads, and a pair of jeans that shouldn’t be worn in public but is perfectly good for those horrible days when one finally decides that the kitchen and bathroom floors really must be mopped. Bob, on the other hand, thinks that a shirt that is basically missing a sleeve and half its back still has some use to it, and not as a rag, but as something that can be worn for, oh, raking leaves, or mopping the front porch – places where he’s likely to be seen by others. He will pull an old napkin buried deep in a drawer somewhere to the surface, examine it’s blotchy stains and frayed edges, and while I’m thinking, “Now why didn’t I throw out that old thing when we moved?” say, “Oh, look. It’s this nice old napkin we haven’t used in forever.”
I’ve decided I’m married to Don Quixote. Not only are those windmills dragons that must be fought, but that broken and rusted lamp is quite obviously a Tiffany original that just needs a bulb to be as good as new. I dread ever going up into the attic with him, which is full of things we’ve never bothered to unpack from the move, because they never should have been packed and brought with us in the first place. When Bob goes up, he comes back down with stuff I’d rather forget we have, stuff that I’d kind of hoped had just opened up the window and made its great escape while we weren’t looking. He’ll come down holding in one hand a rusted old pot with pin-prick holes in it wondering aloud why I’ve allowed this fine cookware to stay hidden away up there. The other hand will hold a moth-eaten sweater he picked up in Peru twenty years ago that's “beautiful.” A towel draped over his shoulder, one I wouldn’t even use to dry a dog is described as “a perfectly good towel.” He could spend days finding his treasures up there. I’m waiting for him to come down with the barber’s basin upside down on his head, declaring himself my knight.
I suppose I shouldn’t really complain. After all, it bodes well for the future. I’m definitely beginning to show signs of age. I can only hope that if I ever become a hunched-over, arthritic, hag-like little old lady with no teeth, I will still always be his beautiful Dulcinea.