As you might recall, primarily due to my wife’s intervention, our anniversary was going smoothly. I tried to spoil it via my usual method–being involved–but we had a good time frolicking in each other’s company nevertheless. Then evening settled in, our daughter went to bed, and we decided to engage in that most fundamental of married activities: checking our individual e-mail.
As befits such a romantic story, allow me to set the mood. Imagine a warm and welcoming room, where a dozen candles remain unlit because the overhead light is on instead. The floor is elegantly strewn with hundreds of toys, as though cupid himself had mischievously ransacked it. The air is rich with the delicate fragrance of a small girl’s last diaper for the evening. You can hear the faint sounds of children playing in the distance, followed by explosions and high-energy music. We’d forgotten to turn off our daughter’s cartoons.
Into that beautiful scene, insert two somewhat disheveled adults, one sitting at the desk in the corner while the other walks toward the couch and his laptop. He sees that it’s still plugged into the wall; he notices the glowing lights across the front of it. Will he be able to check his e-mail quickly? In the words of countless smooth and sultry voiced singers, “Oh yes, it’s on.”
Now, as this story involves me injuring myself, I’d like to say that something dramatic happened next. Perhaps I had to run outside to save a kindly nun from a mob of wallabees, or maybe I had to protect my wife’s garden from some sort of nuclear chipmunk, or possibly something not involving animals. Instead I tried to sit on the couch.
Yes, I tried, as in “I tried but failed.”
Halfway between upright and sitting, my back spasmed in a rather excruciating way. I couldn’t even fall over, because I didn’t want gravity to hurt me. I kept myself neither up nor down, and then called my wife in a hoarse (but very manly) whisper. Sadly, we have some experience with this.
The last time it happened, I had just started a new job. My employers didn’t actually have a place for me to work, so my “office” was at the end of a long barren corridor, in the basement of the adjacent building. (By “office” I mean a bare room with a medieval styled desk and a chair which had clearly been stored in a warehouse full of frustrated but relentless moths.) No nuns or gardens needed saving then either; I simply tried to put some files in my hideous desk. Awkwardly, I found myself stranded beneath it for fifteen minutes before I could reach a phone and call for help. It took two paramedics and a conscripted giant to finally lift me. (I’m neither light nor exaggerating.)
This time we had neither paramedics nor the power to conscript. We had my wife and a somewhat urgent problem: I suddenly needed a restroom.
I suppose, for anyone still wanting to view our evening as a date, we could say that the next part looked a bit like dancing. We clung to each other through a serious of choreographed steps as my unfortunate darling struggled to guide me back the hall. There was a bit more grunting than in a traditional ballroom though, and I’ve never heard a song with a rhythm slow enough to explain our pace. Also my wife kept warning me not to fall on her. (To be fair that might happen during actual dancing as well, and I would be equally helpless to prevent it in both situations.)
Would it be odd if I said we still enjoyed ourselves? I’ve mentioned before that a large part of my brain is determined to find every situation amusing; that’s a lot easier to do when my wife is around. We enjoy us. While moving back the hall like a lazy glacier, we kept laughing about how ridiculous our evening had become.
What we didn’t realize was that neither our evening nor our trouble was over.
To be continued again…