Sunday, December 29, 2013

Simple is the most difficult

There are entire magazines dedicated to simplicity, and as far as I can tell, simplicity is incredibly complicated.  The magazine "Real Simple" usually shows laundry rooms worthy of entertaining in, with color coded baskets and a bouquet of flowers jauntily peering down from a shelf, and I don't know about you, but that makes me tired just thinking of it.  Who has time to make their laundry room look magazine worthy?  And if you had the time, why would you spend it doing that, when there are so many other great things to do?

On the flip side of the glossy magazines, there is an entire simplicity movement - one that I've read a great deal about, and the ideas still flit through my brain and I try to manage my life according to some of the ideals contained therein - where it's anti-consumerist, back to basics, prioritizing life over money (the most famous simplicity movement book is entitled "Your Money or Your Life"), and though it really is about getting back to the good stuff and the ideas are thoughtful and often quite beautiful, I believe they're anything but simple.  They're hard work, actually, and if you want to buck the consumerist tide then you'd better be pretty strong because it's a lot of work to be simple, to change your habits, to resist what your neighbors are doing, to manage your money in a whole new way, to manage your life in a whole new way.

Simplicity, as far as I can tell, is not a simple subject.  We might all desire beautiful spaces with clean lines and gorgeous organization; we might all desire to spend our money only on those things that speak to our core being; we might all desire to listen to the simple messages like "be kind" and "do unto others" but the truth is, it's really hard to do.

And I'm thinking about what I want romantically, and I think I want the simplest things, and they're the hardest. in my opinion, to find.

I think that sex is pretty easy to find if you drop your standards.

I think that grand romance is pretty easy to find, too, because there are guys on the internet who are ready to pledge undying devotion before the first meeting, and there are men at the first meeting who are anxious to introduce the children and practically move in together.

I think that it's easier to find a partner to sip wine with while on vacation in Tuscany - which, mind you, sounds very nice - than it is to find what I'm looking for in my partner.

I want the simplest things.

I want to sit on my porch swing sipping coffee during the sunrise, not speaking, but having a companionable silence.

In the middle of a busy week with kids and work and laundry and science projects, when I say, "oh, shoot, I forgot to go to the cleaners!" I want to hear "don't worry about it - I stopped there on the way home from the office because I knew you were busy."

Not only do I want to go to the theater, the movies, concerts, and museums (all fun activities, I agree), I want to fall asleep on his shoulder watching a movie on a Saturday night in my (ugly) basement, cozy and comfortable.

I want the conversation about "did you hear on NPR that..." and the "Did you read that review?  Want to go to that movie together?"

I want to catch eyes in the kitchen and smile.

The little stuff is the big stuff.  The big stuff - vacations, grand gestures, jewelry, parties, fancy restaurants - is great, and I'd like that, too.  Who wouldn't?  But lately I've been fantasizing about the simplest, smallest of moments.  Waking up next to someone and smelling their warm skin before you even open your eyes, that delicious male scent that must be made up of pure pheromones.  Driving somewhere, and he puts and hand on my knee and strokes it half absentmindedly, because he wanted the connection.  Someone who doesn't mind running for a broom while I shoo the pets away from a broken glass.  Someone to join me on my long runs who will point out a seal or an interesting cloud.

Someone who, at the end of the day, on a day like today, might slide into bed and hand me a glass of water, because he knows I like a glass of water at night.

I think that the kind of grand romance I want is nothing more than a long series of tiny events, of water glasses and errands and exchanged smiles and patience with the child's science project and discussion about the front page of the NYT, of the scent of skin and the touch of a knee.

Simple stuff.

So hard to find.

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