October 21, 2008
This is my second “Seinfeld” story, that is a story about nothing, though something or other happens even in a story about nothing, so this story describes a bit of happy matchmaking.
I don’t know if I have ever matched two people romantically. By accident I once put two people in touch with each other and they fell in love and got married (which had not been my intention) but they later divorced bitterly, so I am relieved that it had not been my intention for them to marry.
Anyway, matchmaking can involve just introducing two people to each other because they will like each other or have an interest in common or can be useful to each other. I have successfully done that sort of matchmaking, and I had a good experience in this regard a couple of weeks ago.
I have talked about our friends S and B before. S grew up in Sri Lanka at a time when the terrible civil war was just getting started. As a child she saw people burned alive in mob violence. Her father had been a “rascal” (involved in petty crime such as changing currency illegally) and a Catholic, so S had attended a Catholic school where she had been taught by nuns. An older sister was already a college student in the United States. When the Catholics closed the school and sent the nuns back to Europe, because Sri Lanka had become too dangerous, S’ father decided Sri Lanka was too dangerous for his daughter as well, so he sent S to live with her sister in the United States.
S and my wife used to work together in Portland and they became good friends.
I don’t know how she met her American husband B, who works for a power company in Oregon. I will have to ask them one of these days.
They plan to retire to Washington. We hoped they would move to lot #4 (we are on lot #3) on our island. Each lot is about five acres in size because my wife and I love lots of separation from our neighbors. We love our neighbors more when we are not cheek by jowl with them.
S and B decided not to move next door to us. S has a bad knee and can’t walk very far. They don’t mind living next door to their neighbors as my wife and I do. S hopes to get an artificial knee to replace her failing natural knee before she retires. My wife’s other best friend has had two artificial hips installed. All of us are getting older and turning into cyborgs. My wife and I still have our original parts, though they definitely creak.
So S and B have been having a house built on the mainland. It is almost done. They will retire and move into the house in about a year.
Our neighbors on lot #1, whom I call the Friendly Neighbors for blog purposes, have been extremely helpful to us. We all garden, which bonds us together. Mr. Friendly Neighbor is a very handy person. He especially loves wood working, and makes many beautiful objects out of wood, both furniture and works of art. He is, in fact, a woodworking nerd (a term I use out of admiration, not disparagement).
He loves to talk about woodworking. He will show me a beautiful piece of furniture he is working on and talk about a joint is going to fashion and ask my opinion. He will point at a couple of other joints and ask my opinion about which to use.
I will say something such as, “That one looks very nice. But that one also looks very nice as well.”
He is a very kind and gentle person, so he says nothing unkind to me, or even cast a look of disgust at me, but it is clear I am of no use to him whatsoever in this regard. I feel like I have let him down terribly. Although he and his wife built their house together-and it indeed a splendid and beautiful dwelling-she is not a woodworking nerd either.
B, is also a woodworking nerd. When S and B visited us a couple of weekends ago, they noticed a sign in front of the Friendly Neighbors’ house advertising eggs for sale. (Their chickens are now producing eggs lustily, though probably that is not the appropriate word, as the Friendly Neighbors do not have a rooster.) They are now selling eggs to neighbors and friends such as us to help pay for feed for the “girls,” as they refer to the hens.
S said to us, “I would love to buy some fresh eggs.” She and my wife had a happy conversation about the difference between fresh organic eggs from the farm and fresh organic eggs in the natural food store. The difference is night and day they agreed.
I said, “I will walk down to the Friendly Neighbors and buy a dozen eggs for you.”
B said, “I will come with you.” S stayed at our place with my wife because the quarter mile walk would be too hard on her bum knee.
When we got to the Friendly Neighbors’ house, I introduced B to Mr. FN. “He is another woodworker,” I said to Mr. FN.
B looked at a table that Mr. FN had built. “What kind of wood is that?” he asked. I don’t even remember the answer (clueless as I am), but within a few minutes they were deep in conversation about different kinds of wood and a few minute later Mr. FN was taking B on a tour of the house, showing him all his woodworking projects, and they were deep in happy woodworking nerdish conversation. It was clearly love at first sight, as I had expected it would be.
Mrs. FN and I talked about chickens and gardening. After about half an hour, Mr. FN and B came up for air, and I told B, “We have to get back to our wives.” He obediently followed me, though it was obvious he could easily have spent many more hours in happy conversation with Mr. FN.
As we walked back, carrying the eggs, B described some beautiful piece of furniture Mr. FN had made. “I wanted to make something like that, but I didn’t.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“As I talked about it, S said she saw no need for us to have it. It didn’t go with our other furniture, she said. ‘Why do you want to make that?’ she asked me. ‘We don’t need it.’ She didn’t understand that I just wanted to make it,” he concluded mournfully.
As far as I can tell, B & S have a very happy and successful marriage. Yet as David has said, even in a successful relationship, one partner cannot meet all the needs of the other partner. There has to be space for other relationships even in the happiest marriage.
These other relationships do not always need to be alternative romantic relationships in every case. Probably in very few cases, though I have known some relationships where such relationships did occur.
However, David certainly needs to have at least one romantic relationship no matter how eccentric it may be. Even perhaps with someone as far away as Australia. Maybe that’s how much space he needs for a relationship to flourish. In my next post I will talk about the very high level premiums for those who contribute to the pledge drive.