And here I go..
Does being in a relationship make a woman dumber? I am starting to think so! It hasn’t been 4 months since I met the man I’m dating now [who, to be fair, has taken me home and introduced me to his family – including his mother and daughter – on that most American of holidays – the 4th! – and not just as his plus 1]. Alas, I have already devolved into the “we” mentality of a wife/a fiancée/a girl-we-friend.
Before the 2nd week of April 2013, my one true passion was NPR. I thought about smart “shows” on the radio [Radiolab, The Ted-Radio hour, Wire Tap with – my “loverlie”- Jonathan Goldstein]: Being smart. Thinking smart. And writing smart. About people, what makes them, what breaks them and what ticks them [off]. Race relations. Islam, homosexuals and Chinese women. Of Italy, of working on my craft, about reading as many “All facts considered” books as I can so I can appear more learned than I am and/or my humble day-job declares [the old “Samad Miah” complex.. of the immigrant’s need to ..
desperately be wearing a sign, a large white placard that said:
I AM NOT A WAITER. I HAVE BEEN A STUDENT, A SCIENTIST, A SOLDIER, MY WIFE IS CALLED ALSANA, WE LIVE IN EAST LONDON BUT WE WOULD LIKE TO MOVE NORTH. I AM A MUSLIM BUT ALLAH HAS FORSAKEN ME OR I HAVE FORSAKEN ALLAH, I’M NOT SURE. I HAVE A FRIEND – ARCHIE – AND OTHERS. I AM FORTY-NINE BUT WOMEN STILL TURN IN THE STREET. SOMETIMES.
Or, in the absence of such a placard, the desire to drop names and quote quotes from, say, such renowned works of fiction as “White Teeth”; about old men who found out:
“..that the inclining of one’s head, poising of one’s pen, these were important, so important. It was important to be a good waiter, to listen when someone said Lamb Dawn Sock and rice. With chips. Thank you.”
That was before April 2013. The pre-Trojan era, as I would like to call it [wink wink nudge nudge :-)]. Now all I think about is my weight [hoping on the scale morning and night, in an attempt to see I haven’t crossed-over the dreaded 5 pound threshold]. I worry about the food I eat. The cloth I wear. How many hours before bed to apply my Clean & Clear® dual action moisturizer [which is da bomb, by the way, I highly recommend it for all skin resembling “yeNebir Qoda”!]; so I don’t sniff a hint of it the next day on my pillow. And what hair oil to use so my skull doesn’t dry-out [and starts “mebunening”, like yeDukem asphalt] from the sun.
I think of tooth pastes – most whitening! [Green] Tea types – better source of antioxidant! And body lotions – texture/smell/feel! I wonder if I should learn how to bake. Or how to swim. Or how to drive – so I won’t be found lacking when the need arises. I browse the lists of things to do in Seattle that come with free-parking. For restaurants that offer healthy options. And try to figure out what to cook/where to go/and what to do so the next date isn’t as costly as the last one was. I think of schedules [his and mine]. Colors. Other women. I keep an eye out for the movies he likes. I flip through the pages of the books he loves quoting from. And pounce on programs I know he would find impressive, so I could share it with him [and, by and by, prove I got more going for me than meets the eye]. In re-living the moments I spent with him, I dissect words and try to read between lines. I review behaviors and look for patterns. I Google emotions and reactions; best ways to communicate concerns and red-flags to be wary of.
I look inward, too, sometimes; shamefacedly.. almost on tip-toe.. “the same way adolescent vegetarians scurry by butchers” [as Zadie Smith would say]. I think of how, the longer I lived in this country, the less intelligent I seem to become. How, the more I doubted myself, the less coherent I am. And how the quick-come backs, the witticisms and the perfect lines occur to me long after the subject has been chewed tasteless. It worries me; this tendency of a woman’s – of throwing all of her into a relationship – and not being able to think of anything else when she finds herself in one. And I feel guilty for seeming to have turned into an almost glass-is-half-full person. [A person who no longer says “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” the way she is brought up to, but makes plans weeks ahead in the hope that she will live and he would still be around. This person who sees options & opportunities and not always hand in hand with consequences. Can hope to enjoy pleasure without punishment. A future! – not tainted by the fear of loss].
Even when I think these things [look inward, that is], I think of them in & with relation to him. Would he feel he has been robbed when he realizes I’m not as smart as I write?! Would he consider me a little too dependent when finding out that I don’t have much of a life outside work [so should I join that gym? Register for that course? Make myself less available]?! Is letting your guard down another way of setting yourself up for a disappointment – a heart-break?! And, ofcourse, classic abesheet: would he go and would I wish I hadn’t made mention of him, written about him, hoped?!
But he will come again..
And there I will go ..
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