Sunday, November 13, 2005

"Who stole my jalapa?"

The other day, on this blog, when I was writing about reading Edward Albee in the cafeteria of my freshman dorm, it reminded me of a conversation I had with my then-roommate's boyfriend, Brian. I was eighteen, he was a few years older, and he told me, with no provocation, that he "could really see me hitting my physical peak around twenty-three, twenty-four."
At the time, I thought, "Yeah, okay, that's years away."
And I think about it now, at 25, and I'm like, "Oh lord, what if I've already...peaked?"
It's never more clear to me than in those self-obsessed moments that I need to be doing volunteer work. After all of last month's fallout with Robert, I called him and said, "We need to get out of our own heads. Let's go to Mexico and help build a well."
He said, "That sounds great." And then he paused. "Is this a trick?"
"What?" I asked.
"I mean," he said, "are you planning to go, too? Because I can just imagine showing up someplace in the desert and being told that you couldn't make it, you're on vacation with your new boyfriend, but here's a shovel, start digging."

He called me this afternoon in a panic to find, of all things, a silk man's dress from Morocco that we bought for him last summer (knowing, even as he tried it on, that there's nowhere in London he would ever wear it).
"Hi, baby," I said when I anwered the phone.
"Where is my jalapa?" he said. "I can't find it."
"I don't know," I told him. "Are you having a fashion show?"
"I've looked everywhere," he said. "I just want to know where it is."
"I'm sure Maria (his blessed and most patient housecleaner) knows where it is; I don't think you're going to find it unless you work cooperatively with her...Although I don't think it would be helpful to leave a note saying, 'Maria, where is my jalapa?'"
Rustling noises. "I found it!"
"So," I said, "how was your weekend?"
"I've been working."
"You work all the time," I said. "Are you sure it's a good idea to leave town for Thanksgiving?"
"I don't know," he said. "I don't know."
"You either need a catheter and feeding tube at your desk, or a vacation," I joked.
And he was not amused. "It's not helpful of you to remind me that I work so much."
I told him he was being overly sensitive.
We got off the phone with a "See you."

Honestly, I want to say I don't know what Robert got so irritated about but the truth is that I do know: He fears that that while he works so much, life is passing him by. I have the same sort of fear for totally different reasons -- I worry that while I dick around eating apples and reading paperback mysteries and writing a blog about it, life might pass me by.

Twenty-three, somehow, it just didn't feel like the peak.


Anonymous camille said...

I think he should walk into work with the djellaba on. Maybe they'd insist that he take some time off.

Unless he is feverishly searching for the cure for AIDS or cancer, I don't think that amount of work is justifiable.

He needs to go home to his sweet woman. :)

9:57 PM  

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