I wasn’t weird, just uncommon. Unchained by convention. A free thinker.
I home-schooled my only child, a daughter, so there would be time to see the world. We saw it. We even met the Dalai Lama. When not traveling, Rachael – that’s my daughter, Adair, before she started using her middle name — and I lived with four cats and a dog, all foundlings. We refrained from eating anything that had once had eyes, except for potatoes and those had to be organic–preferably sold out of the back of the farmer’s pick-up. I grew sprouts and juiced juice and spoke ill of famous soft drinks. The only thing in our house that was openly artificial was the Christmas tree: it just seemed mean to cut down a real one.
Our friends held similar views. They weren’t all vegetarians but they knew the meaning of tempeh and seitan. They talked about gas mileage and they reduced/reused/recycled back when we still thought granola was diet food. The people we knew were mostly artists of some sort–if not from 9 to 5, then the rest of the time. Politically they were liberal and socially they were activists. Rachael learned to carry a picket sign in her stroller.
Compared to people we knew who wouldn’t drive, or buy clothes that weren’t used, or watch TV–ever–we were the all-American single-parent family, or so I thought until William came along. His singles ad – we were a couple of years ahead of Internet dating — showed stunning eloquence in twenty-five words or less: “Divorced man, lived abroad most of life, looking for woman who enjoys travel, music, art. Age and race unimportant.” Wow! Maybe he’d been in the Peace Corps.
William and I chose to rendezvous in a bagel shop. He said he’d met five of the thirty women who’d responded to his ad, but I was the first to bring non-dairy cream cheese. I learned that he hadn’t been in the Peace Corps, but maybe his being a software attorney had helped developing nations get email. He was so attractive and articulate that I barely noticed that he was drinking Diet Coke.
In the stupor of infatuation followed by the blindness of love, I also missed that we inhabited different universes, until fourteen months later when we were newly married and freshly ensconced in the same house. I had five children, four with fur; he had three, all human. His lived with their mother but would spend weekends with us. It was going to be delightful. [Read more...]