Some years back, my paper ran an interview with the author of a new book. I forget the title, but it was a guide for younger women who marry older men, which the author had done. How this happened was glossed over in a sentence:
“Bob was married when he met Tiffany, but he soon separated from his wife, and they began their relationship.”
I believe Bob was a dentist, and Tiffany was a hygienist in his office. Oh.
A friend clipped the story, and scrawled in the margin: She broke up a family, and now we’re doing an approving story about her.
For once, we were ahead of the curve. For the first time in maybe ever, this NYT story from the Vows pages was on both memeorandum, the political blog aggregator, and wesmirch, the gossip blog aggregator. You can see why:
Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla met in 2006 in a pre-kindergarten classroom. They both had children attending the same Upper West Side school. They also both had spouses.
Blah blah blah about how well they got along and what fast friends they became, and:
They got each other’s jokes and finished each other’s sentences. They shared a similar rhythm in the way they talked and moved. The very things one hopes to find in another person, but not when you’re married to someone else.
Ms. Riddell said she remembered crying in the shower, asking: “Why am I being punished? Why did someone throw him in my path when I can’t have him?”
In May 2008, Mr. Partilla invited her for a drink at O’Connell’s, a neighborhood bar. She said she knew something was up, because they had never met on their own before.
“I’ve fallen in love with you,” he recalled saying to her. She jumped up, knocking a glass of beer into his lap, and rushed out of the bar. Five minutes later, he said, she returned and told him, “I feel exactly the same way.” Then she left again.
Well, you can see how this would be a talker across the spectrum. The National Review sent its designated old maid to tut-tut. Even Gawker and the Village Voice joined the fun of beating up on John and Carol Anne.
I’ve known a couple or two who got their start like this. It’s unfortunate, but it’s really not the worst behavior I’ve seen in 53 years of life on the planet. I believe following your feelings should end when you start following a stroller, but everybody’s different, and besides, without couples like John and Carol Anne, who would we beat up on? My puzzlement is best summed up by the Voice writer, who wondered, “Why would you sign up for this? Why would you apply to air your family business? WHY ARE YOU SO DAMN PROUD OF YOURSELVES?” Well, yeah.
There is one blanket exception to the rule I would make in all cases, and that’s when one spouse decides he or she wants to leave for a same-sex partner. In those situations, the most decent thing you can do as an onlooker is button your lip, avert your eyes and silently Be There. I’m still waiting for the Times to Go There. Maybe next year.
Not much going on here today. We’re into the holiday slide, methinks. School is out, but work carries on. We had the Nall Family Christmas Saturday, which went very well, although my brother overbought, as usual. He could head these situations off at the pass if he did a little advance planning, but as usual, the last couple of days were punctuated by phone calls from the mall. The most famous of these came one year, 60 minutes before dinner was to start, and went like this: “Does Nancy need a vacuum cleaner?”
I didn’t. But this year I got a soap dispenser with an electronic sensor, which cracks me up. Did I activate the optional blinking-light timer, which runs for 20 seconds, so that your hands get good and washed? You need to ask?
So let’s skip to the bloggage:
I know the Irish drink, but I had no idea the Brits were this bad:
The foul smell is ominous. Downstairs in a central London pub, a woman has passed out on the floor of the ladies toilets, lying on the cold tiles with her dress pulled above her waist and knickers at her feet.
Intoxicated and at risk of choking on her own vomit, this is no teenage tearaway but a respected economist and middle-aged chief executive of an international company. It is Christmas party season in the City.
The City being, of course, the financial districts of one of the world’s most important cities. A great rewrite of “Silver Bells” is just waiting to happen.
This guy hangs out at a corner I sometimes pass en route to the freeway. Sometimes I wave. I used to think he was homeless and crazy, but I can see the iPod wires in this clip, and he’s obviously oriented enough to know what season it is:
Off to work. Happy Monday, all.