Posted by: Kate | June 6, 2008

A Testosterone Evolution

I ate two meals today, each with heavy representations of testosterone, and each under vastly different circumstances.

The first was lunch. Curmudgeonly J chose to return in to work after the overnight shift, to spend four hours completing his paperwork from last night. Does it really take an extra four hours to complete the paperwork for my job? No. Not if you sit right down and do it immediately afterward, or even with a delay. Unless you choose to constantly interrupt yourself with gripes and complaints about the system, the lack of validation, the risks, the annoyances, and the myriad frustrations of simply breathing in and out. Then it takes four hours, and if you’re really lucky you can get a little on your coworkers in the process.

When he was done, he sighed and looked around, seemingly surprised that he was still there. He stared off into space for a while, and I assumed he was ready to launch into yet another tirade about the insufficiencies of the mental health system. Instead, he announced, with deep and ponderous authority, “Fuck it.”

I waited.

“I am going to make myself insane, or make myself sick, if I keep getting so upset about this stuff that no one else cares about. I need to just let it go. I need to just say, Fuck it.” He thought about it for a few minutes, and nodded. “Yeah. I really need to stop thinking that what I do makes a difference. I need to focus more on the clients, and let the rest of it go. I’m the only one who cares about the rest of it anyway. Fuck it.”

While he chose a different manner of delivery than I might have, I agree with the basic sentiment.  Find what matters, and focus on it.  Find what you can change, and change it.  But the rest?  The small stuff, and the stuff that is out of your control?  Let it go.  Direct your energies elsewhere.

So we joked about him coming around to the Dark Side. And as he stood up to pack his things, he said, “Does anyone want to go to lunch?” My impulse was to refuse, but I overrode that and went along. It was actually quite a pleasant meal, with a discussion about places we’d both visited and operas we both won’t watch. While we’re in no danger of becoming BFF, it was a nice reminder that he does have a personality outside of his gruff, miserable work self – and perhaps he’s thinking the same about me.

Later, I came home and spent a few hours with Willem and three of his college buddies, fraternity brothers stopping here for dinner before they all headed off to a weekend of golf and beer in the Back of Beyond, Maine.  There are a few of Willem’s old buddies that would not be welcomed in my home, near my children, under any circumstances, but these three are house-trained and well-behaved, at least around the wife and kids.

There’s an evolution there, too, of course; I’ve known these guys more than ten years, and it’s been a long, strange trip, indeed.  I doubt a lot of people would have won money on a bet of whether we’d be married, two kids, suburbia, minivan, had they been asked twelve years ago.  Certain of the house girlfriends were always treated with a fair degree of deference – Sara and Val, for instance – mostly because their boyfriends seemed to respect them and their buddies followed suit.  I was never able to figure out why the boys didn’t give me the same sort of attitude, because Willem seemed to hold me in high esteem.  Why, then, didn’t the guys follow his lead, too?

Well, not to be all over-wordy about it, but, duh.  They were following his lead, because they knew he was serially unfaithful.  There was no reason for them to treat me as though I was anything other than a mobile set of sex organs, no reason to show some simple courtesy or talk to me like I had an IQ rivaling a houseplant.  I was just another of Willem’s girls, nothing special here.

Once Willem decided to treat our relationship as something worth saving, his friends got the message and served up a little respect and dignity.  Lo and behold, things worked out, and I’ve got the mortgage and the stretch marks to prove it.  And, little by little – some faster than others – the frat boys are becoming adults with social skills.  Amazing.


  1. I second those sentiments! Sometimes when you get too caught up in things (personal or work related) all you can say is f**k it. Sounds like a 3/4 full cup day.

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