17 December 2009


I was going to write this post about some news I got about Irishboyfriend earlier this week, and I still will, but first I want to write a tiny bit about what I've been doing, and what it's made me think, yesterday and today.

So I've been revising my book again since Tuesday, as I mentioned in my last post. Yesterday I finished cutting and pasting chapter 2, then typed it up and went to bed. Today I read chapter 1, revised it a little, then printed it out. I don't know why this took a whole day, because I scarcely did anything to it, but it did.

When I got told I needed to do more revisions to the book, I was told that I needed to integrate the philosophers' ideas more thoroughly with what Byron was doing. I was in
despair, because I had no idea how to do that: I just didn't. So I wrote to a very wise friend of mine, older than I and very successful in my area, and asked him to read parts of the book and make some suggestions. Which he did, with great care. I've tried to take the questions he suggested for the parts of the book that he did read and apply them to all my revisions, most notably, "Can you find a way of making the philosophy do more to expand the notion of instability?" With chapter 2 I could juuuuust about do that, but with chapter 1 it's a real struggle. I have no idea how to do that.

Anyway, when I printed out chapter 1 today and was walking home, I thought to myself of how I was going to go back to my room and sort out how to do this on my own. This is never what I would do, but I thought of sitting down on my bed with my manuscript bits, reading them, and trying to figure out where and what to fix. And then I thought, not in a resentful way but just in a factual one, that this is why people come in twos. If I had a partner I would still have to do all this work on my own, but I would know that in the background there there was someone who would give me a pat, or who would be waiting to go out to the pub with me when it was done. Not someone to help, but someone to be there if I needed help and they could give it. I thought the same when I gave my big dinner party a few weeks ago: I didn't really want someone to help me do stuff, but I wanted someone to watch out of the corner of their eye to see that I still didn't want someone to help me - or to notice that I did.

Anyway, to the real post! Earlier this week I discovered that Irishboyfriend's wife is going to have a baby! You will perhaps wonder if I was jealous, and I wondered that myself. I certainly did feel some sort of jealousy at the news, but without very much analysis I noticed that this jealousy was of the fact that Irishboyfriend had a wife (which is to say, I felt a particular manifestation of a general jealousy), not of the fact that she was having a baby. In fact, I had a chance to test this hypothesis later, because two nights ago my cousin wrote to tell me that his wife was having a baby! And I was pleased! (well, as pleased as I can be, as I believe that my cousin and his wife will someday get divorced [and not some day in the very far distant future], and I'm sorry that a kid will have to go through having its parents get divorced. But maybe not...I mean, if I had to peg one of my cousins certainly to get divorced, it would be this guy's sister, 'cause her husband for sure is gay and has already cheated on her [with a woman, though]. So maybe my cousin and his wife will not be the ones for the chop...) I like babies, although I've never particularly wanted one myself, and I'm pleased other women keep producing ones for whom I can buy cute clothes and charming books.

BueNO. I did not find out about Irishboyfriend's (well, I guess I should call him FormerIrishboyfriend's) baby via an e-mail or a letter, but rather via a facebook update, which told me he'd reactivated his running blog, and when I went to his blog he had written that he was reactivating it because his wife would be having a baby about the time of next year's Boston Marathon, so he thought he'd write the blog about his training and her pregnancy in tandem. He felt that this gave the blog nice narrative tension: "Will I be able to make the marathon, or will the baby decide to show up on the very day of the Marathon?" (I paraphrase).

Uh-huh. Well, I'm not making any remarks about that narrative tension, or the question, or what it might reveal about FormerIrishboyfriend. Instead, I thought I would honour him and indicate what a successful father I think he'll be by telling The Soup Story. The Soup Story is one of my most famous stories about FormerIrishboyfriend; it is perhaps equalled only by The Kettle Story, but I think The Soup Story is more appropriate here.

Many years ago, when I was still involved with FormerIrishboyfriend, I got sick. Now, for me "sick" has a specific meaning. It's not like, a cold, or the sniffles: "sick" means I am confined to bed, genuinely too ill to work or otherwise to function without great effort (I don't often get sick). So there I was on my bed of pain, and ThenIrishboyfriend came to check on me. "Can I get you anything?" he asked. "Well," I said. "What I'd really like is a bowl of soup. Could you make me a bowl of soup?" "Okay," he said. Then he teased, "But I only do this once." And he made me a lovely bowl of cream of mushroom soup.

The next day I was still sick, and still in bed, and he came over to check on me again. "Do you need anything?" he asked. "Well," I said, "I'd love it if you'd make another bowl of soup." And he said, "I told you I only do that once." And he did not make me a bowl of soup.

The worst thing about this story is that I stayed with him for at least another year after that, and in the end he broke up with me.

He's said he's had a lot of therapy since we broke up.

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