Monday, December 12, 2005

Semantics

Coming to terms with my life as a couple has been a little hard for me. I was a card-carrying single. No ties, no conscience, no problems. I was a field player and boy, did I play the heck out of that field. Now I find myself inextricably bound to someone else and feeling happy about it, but still holding on to that last bit of the single life: living alone.

Since I last blogged, so much has happened. I left my old job, started my new one and the girl and I are living together. The first two, while jarring in their own right, were easy to acclimate to, the whole living together thing took more time.

So, my new job is in consulting, (of course), and my client is 1.1 miles from the girlfriend’s house. We decided it would be a good idea for me to stay at her place during the week and we would stay at my house in the country on the weekends. To me, this was just “staying over.”

One night we are talking about our situation and she blurts out the “we’re living together” comment and I explain that the dog and I are just overnight guests.

She points out that I’ve moved many of my clothes to her house. I rebut, with the fact that, I’ve denied repeated attempts to give me space in her dressers. This type of clothing storage is unnecessary. I need to have my clothes out in the open in case a quick departure should become necessary. After all, I’m just staying over and many times overnight guests wear out their welcome.

She mentions the dog. As I said before, my dog is also “staying over.” For months, I decline offers to buy him new food bowls, instead of the plasticware ones he’s eating out of. He’s a big guy, so the dishes need to be elevated. I opt for putting the plasticware on top of paint cans rather than have something so permanent as an eating station for him at my Girlfriend’s house. She points out that; number one, she bought him an elevated dish system a few weeks back; and he has his own bed at her house. Damn, she got me on that one. I acquiesce that point. The dog, or as I like to call him “Traitor” has definitely moved in.

She points out the household chores. She cooks all our meals and I do the dishes. She washes the clothes and I fold them. We watched Jeopardy every night. She says this type of domesticity must mean we’re living together. I say absolutely not. It’s just a domestic routine.

We agree to table the discussion, but weeks pass and it’s still top-off-mind for me. I decide the only way for me to convince her that I’m just an overnight guest is to call in the unbiased opinions of my close friends.

I phone E-Bone, one of my reliable confidants, who lives in Texas. I explained our argument to her. The girlfriend cuts to the quick and brazenly asks E-Bone how she would define our living situation. Without missing a beat, E-Bone said; “Of course you’re living together, I can see this and I live in Texas.” How snide.

Next, I phone one of my best confidants in Arkansas. Alas, she will see it my way. I explain the situation to her. She replies; “You’re cohabitating in 2 different domiciles.”

Somehow that seems easier to digest. “Cohabitating between 2 different domiciles,” it just rolls off the tongue. Yeah, that’s it. The girl and I agree that if asked, we would tell people that we're cohabitating between 2 different domiciles.

I’ve been able to get used to this idea. The girlfriend just shakes her head and laughs each time I correct someone who has mistakenly referenced us living together. “We’re cohabitating between 2 different domiciles,” I tell them sternly.

This worked for me for quite a while. Recently, my neighbor, the one that knows most things, asked me and the girl about Christmas. Did we want individual gifts or one gift for us as a couple? Without hesitation, I answered “One gift is fine, we’re living together.” The girlfriend smiles as she realizes the enormity of what I’ve said.

I wince. I feel my freedom slipping a way. “Me” falls into “We.”

Could my slip of the tongue mean that I’m growing up and accepting the fact that I’m one half of a cool (and strikingly attractive) couple? Probably not.

I think I've finally realized that I'm not losing a part of myself, rather I'm gaining the happiness I've always wanted and never thought I'd have.

Or, she's brainwashing me.