Never marry yourself. At least that’s what a man in a wheelchair told me as I was leaving the green screen studio on Ben Tzvi street back in 2009. I thought he was homeless and looking for a handout. Turns out he was a proud Neche Tzahal, a wounded veteran. He nearly got out of the chair and kicked me in the teeth when I offered him a few shekels. What the hell did it mean? As far as I could tell it meant that you shouldn’t marry someone who is like yourself, meaning you should marry an opposite. Or did it mean you shouldn’t be so self centered that you don’t marry at all, because you are in love with yourself? Who knew.
M. and I are almost complete opposites in every way. She is more of a Pretty Little Liars to my Mad Men. More of a reading a novel about some 18th century geisha in Japan to my illiteracy. She is the eldest of three girls. I am the younger of two sons. Her parents got divorced when she was young. Mine have been married for 44 years and counting. She is down to earth. Grounded. Realistic. I have delusions of grandeur. Megalomaniacal. After all I share a birthday with former Korean despot Kim Jung Il. She is direct. She raises her voice. She is Moroccan. I am more passive-aggressive and manipulative. I am. I’m not proud of it.
We love each other very much. We do. However, from time to time we argue, which is natural. We argue about the dishes. I like to clean the dishes immediately after eating. I’m so obnoxious and impatient that I sometimes start washing them before everyone’s done eating. M. on the other hand not so much. Not after we’re done eating. Not the following morning. Sometimes not even for days. They just stack up in the sink like grimy union workers on strike. We also don’t agree on the actual method of washing the dishes. We don’t own a dishwasher. We never have. It’s one of those luxuries we could never afford or, since we always rent, never had enough room in the kitchen for. So we wash dishes the old fashioned way. I do each dish individually. She stacks them and does the assembly line method. All roads lead to Cleveland I guess.
Another bone of contention is the cleaning of the house. I am kind of anal and obsessive about cleanliness. I’m always sweeping, wiping down, picking up. After all we have a Tasmanian devil (D. is almost three) and a cat that is more of a hairball machine. I clean up all the time. M. on the other hand is more of a once a month but thoroughly. She’ll spend five hours cleaning inside the dressers and behind the fridge. Nobody sees that it is clean so it’s like the fucking tree in the forest babe. We should get a cleaning lady, an ozeret, like all the petite bourgeois and upper class in this country, but I hate the idea of someone cleaning up my mess. I’m no big zion (ist) but I appreciate the fact that our founders believed in working hard.
Yet another issue is the laundry. I do it. M. reserves the right to inspect and often criticize my work. That shouldn’t have gone in with the colors. That should have been done on delicate. You shrunk that. You ruined that! It’s a great system. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Nothing is more polarizing in our relationship than mysticism. Here’s an example. I, like the Nihilists in The Big Lebowski, believe in nothing. Nothing. Which is kind of sad and led my ex-girlfriend/psychologist to pronounce me as “dead inside”. Whatever. She was cray cray. M. on the other hand believes in something. She puts a prayer card with the Angel Raziel underneath D.’s bed to prevent nightmares. Sheeesh. She has an assortment of Gems and Rocks that absorb negative energies. She has this one thing, this power of positive thinking, this quasi Jedi mind shit that she attempts to use every time we get home past 8 pm and there is nowhere to park. She says: “I am inviting the universe to provide us with parking”. Sometimes the universe complies. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a finicky, often whimsical universe.
M. has recently taken a keen interest in incense. I’m not talking the stick shit that I used to burn in my college dorm room while listening to Bob Marley to hide the scent of that California buds. I’m talking weird crystals and rocks from Qatar and Saudi Arabia with esoteric Arabic names like B’chur and Sh’aam. This one is against the evil eye. This one is for professional success. This one is for love. She goes around the house with those tin incense burners and soon our entire apartment – building – becomes a Franciscan church. I start chanting. She doesn’t laugh. I ask her if she might consider a vow of silence. She doesn’t think it’s funny.
Today is Tu B’av, the Jewish Valentine’s day and I can’t help but think of the two pieces of advice my parents gave me on their 40th anniversary. The first was kind of strange and had to do with that old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder. My dad tries to spend at least two months out of the year (preferably not consecutive) away from my mom. That helps. We all need our space. The second is more concrete. Compromise. Life in general and marriage in particular is all about learning to compromise and picking your battles.
So on that note, I plan on burning up some B’chur this evening and maybe sending my one and only love, my lula, some positive vibrations. I call on the Universe to not only provide me with a coveted parking spot but continued love and adoration of my wife for many, many more years. I’m also sending out those positive vibrations to you, my readers, so that you too may find love, regardless of how different you are in your outlook and perception. More importantly I’m sending out those good vibrations so that you keep that love alive for the rest of your life.