Weeks (months?) ago, I deactivated my Facebook account, removing myself from the habit of reading posts about the lives and daily habits of close to a thousand people, a few I’ve known since early childhood and several hundred I got to know during my secondary school day over 30 years ago.
Before that, I had taken a few social media holidays, not checking Facebook/LinkedIn for weeks at a time, but found myself returning because of the temptation to click on an app icon or scroll through my list of favorite Web links for personal entertaining distractions.
I have missed some of my Facebook friends because I do not see them in my life except through social media contacts. Some of them said they have missed me, too.
This morning, while bemoaning the fact my wife was once again too tired last night to stay and dance at the nightclub after our West Coast Swing dance lesson, aching for someone to dance with but even our feline companions too wrapped up in their catnaps to play with me, I desire conversation with anyone, in any form, to feed my need for social contact.
What’s the point of planning a trip to Mars, with the major deadline 13421 days ahead, if I won’t assert myself when my needs clash with my wife’s?
She, like many other patrons at the nightclub, works in a day job.
She, like many others at the nightclub, have experienced tragedies in their lives that weigh heavily on their thought sets at the most inopportune times.
At a moment like this, I remember again the advice that Wilma in the Finance department of our local GE office gave me.
Wilma had called me to ask why I had exceeded the customary number of sick days for the previous quarter.
I explained to her that my wife had not been feeling well lately and wanted me to stay home with her on those days, in order to make her feel better.
Wilma told me it was a sign of weakness on both my wife’s and my part to facilitate the behaviour of a female spouse feeling sick and wanting her husband to care for her, taking both of them away from their social duties as active/useful employees of respectable companies.
Wilma, a spinster/bachelorette who liked going to nightclubs to see male strip shows, said that as an older woman, even if she’d never been married, she knew a thing or two about the way women will try to manipulate and control men.
She felt I was too easily giving in to my wife’s subtle control of the marriage.
That was in the late 1980s, early in my marriage.
Fast-forward nearly 25 years later and here I sit, remembering what one of the ladies with whom I danced briefly as our dance instructor had us rotate partners during the dance lesson said to me last night.
The beautiful brunette, wearing a dark-coloured dress that complemented her figure, looked me in the eye after we had struggled through a new dance move and said, before I started to say I must have messed up, “I can’t blame what just happened on you because a lady never blames a man for mistakes on the dance floor. I will say it was either my fault or neither of our faults.”
Talk about boosting my ego!
In return, I offered that we try the move again.
It was in stark contrast to the previous attempt, much smoother.
It was in stark contrast to what I have often heard my wife say, “You didn’t do this” or “You didn’t do that,” expecting me to be more like the dance instructor in his suave, nearly-perfect dance leadership.
However, my wife is getting better at not putting the struggles to complete a dance move solely at my feet, thanks in part to our instructors pointing out that my wife has equal responsibility to dance her steps correctly so that I don’t have to overcompensate when I sense she is not following my lead.
I have much to learn in my pedestrian life apart from the thoughts of Martian exploration, technology experimentation and searching the world for someone with whom I can carry on a meaningful conversation.
Or maybe, as my parents told me when I was a kid, I just think too much.