My husband, Peter, is preparing for the End Times.
This might not be literally true, but it would certainly appear to be if you checked out the food supplies we have stashed away. Peter hates the fact that packages now contain less than they used to while the price continues to rise. He is infuriated when products substitute less quantity and quality and try to “get away with it.”
“Whenever I find a product I like, they discontinue it or change it!” Peter laments.
I tell him he sounds like an old person.
Peter and I are getting to be old people—although we would never admit it. We met when we were both technically past “middle-age,” although I notice that “middle-age” seems to be a very elastic term. Not a lot of us are going to be around at 120, yet sixty still qualifies as “middle-age” to every sixty-year-old I know.
Meeting when we did meant some accommodations on our part. When I moved in with Peter, he relinquished his entire bedroom closet and moved his clothes into the spare bedroom, seeming to realize intuitively that we were past the age of peacefully cohabiting a wardrobe.
Peter accepts that his closet will never again be his and I have accepted that Peter derives great comfort in having plenty of the essentials on hand—and not paying a lot for shipping. Nothing bothers Peter more than shipping charges.
“They want $15 to ship those beans!” Peter said, outraged, once we found a tasty variety of bean that was grown locally. Peter investigated. It turned out he could order a 50-pound bag and save a substantial amount per pound on shipping.
“Fifty pounds?” I asked.
“Yeah!” Peter explained how much he’d be saving.
“But… Fifty pounds of beans?” I clarified.
“It’s a great deal!” Peter insisted.
“Where are we going to keep them?”
“Um . . . Maybe next to your desk?”
I had an image of myself getting slowly blockaded at my writing desk, surrounded by food stuff. Somehow, my glamorous image of “The Writer at Work” had not included her straddling a 50-pound burlap sack of beans.
We waited several days for word the beans had shipped. When we heard nothing, Peter wrote to the small supplier. An exasperated employee wrote back: They haven’t shipped yet because I’ve been working here alone and I can’t lift fifty pounds!
I felt bad, ordering enough beans to put someone in danger of back injury. I wondered how our poor UPS driver was going to feel about dropping off this 50-pound bag. Still, it’s nice knowing Peter is looking out for us. I lived alone for quite a while before I met Peter and there hasn’t been an accommodation I haven’t been happy to make.
One day, Peter looked at me seriously.
“I sometimes think about how sad I’d be if you were gone,” he told me.
“I’m not going anywhere!”
“I know, but I think how sad I’d be,” he said.
“That’s gloomy!”
“No, it’s not,” he insisted.
“It is!”
“You want me to think, ‘Yay! She’s gone!?’”
“No, I don’t want you to think that!”
“Well then!” Peter said, feeling he’d proven his point.
“I only get two choices?”
The truth is, I get a lot of choices—especially now, at what I will continue to call (for the foreseeable future) “middle-age.” I’m happy with my choices. I’m happy my life is different because it is attached to another person’s life. And, to be completely truthful, it’s kind of a nice feeling knowing I have plenty of beans.
Till next time,
Carrie

Carrie Classon is a freelance writer and author and lives in New Mexico. Her columns appear each Wednesday.