Although I am not normally in the habit of paraphrasing Rita Rudner, I recently did so in an office card for a colleague’s wedding, noting that I was delighted he’d found that special person he wants to annoy for the rest of his life.  The present Boy Person and I are not nearly that far gone, but have taken great pleasure in irritating each other for the last couple of years; it’s all part of the loving foundation on which long-term relationships are based.  Whether we’re goosing each other in the stairwell, making hideous faces behind each others’ backs, or imploring one another to, please, really, just shut up, we’re never short of love or totally obnoxious behavior.

I don’t know why we find such mutual amusement in annoying each other – I don’t mean to the point of actual anger, but certainly irritation of the junior high variety.  My latest and greatest achievement is the bottle of nail biting solution I’ve brought home in an effort to curb his nasty habit.  He’s agreed to this treatment after two years of my pleas for hygiene and observations that the stubs on his fingertips look like ten little bald men, and so every other night, I get to coat his nails in highly flammable polish that tastes like a pure Everclear hangover.

And, oh, it is delightful to witness him absentmindedly snag a cuticle between his teeth, and hack like he’s coughing up a hairball.  The faces, the sputtering, the whingeing…  My enjoyment of the spectacle even surpasses the nearly-maternal pride I feel when he displays his half millimeter of nail growth (“Look!  White bits!  There are white bits on the ends!”).  Good job, baby.

You see, I also consider this just revenge, of a sort, due to an incident from early on in our relationship.  Allow me to set the scene of the crime.  (more…)


So, I’ve been in this long-term relationship – five-and-a-half years, to be exact – and things haven’t been going well recently.  To be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship from the start, and I can only ascribe its duration to my own complacency, oft-misplaced loyalty, and perhaps a mutual recognition of tenacity.  There have been good times, no doubt, but also a fair share of bad times, and throughout it all, a nagging sense of boredom and of things left undone and unsaid.

When Johnson and I got together, I was 22 years old and coming out of a nasty patch; I latched on to him with enthusiasm.  He was a foreigner in my hometown, we were both looking for some security, and the mutual benefits were immediate and obvious.  It didn’t take long for me to invest my heart and time, shrugging off the occasional errant suitor in the face of Johnson’s promises of longevity and fulfillment.  If I was good and devoted to him, he would be good to me, and together, we would go places.

It didn’t take long before I could see we were going to have problems.  He had a roving eye, as is his wont, and I was going to have to fight to remain in his affections.  Over the years, other pretty girls came and went, but I continued to declare my commitment and one by one, they dropped by the wayside.  I wanted to prove I was dutiful and in it for the long-haul, but sometimes the frustrations of all this struggle to stay visible and important overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sail on an even-keel; maybe we weren’t so well-matched after all, and I should be seeking attention elsewhere. (more…)