Observation 1

Well, they say that with age comes wisdom. So far all I’ve noticed is that it comes with ear hair. But in these weekly comments on nothing of particular significance, I will try to convey what I have observed by being alive.

How many couples have you met in life where you can honestly say I really like both the husband and wife. Not one or the other. But both. I don’t mean what you say to be polite or sociable. I mean what you think to yourself. I’ll go first. Five. One hand’s worth. You will swear that your own answer is hundreds. Don’t swear too loudly.

The pity, of course, is that you immensely like one or another of those couples. You grew up with him or her. You went to school together. You shared experiences and points of view. So why the hell did the one your so close to marry that bitch. Since I never learned social graces, I tend to ask. One of my very best friends since high school told me that he knew her defects all too well but she was very good in bed. I offered to hire for him two prostitutes of his choice. Didn’t sway him. Maybe at our age “good in bed” means making the bed nicely the following morning so I was going to throw in an offer of a housekeeper.

You are right. Asking improper questions is one of the ten thousand reasons I’m not a U.S. Senator. So on a taxi ride in Costa Rica sitting in the back seat with my favorite Costa Rican lawyer who spoke little English while I spoke little Spanish, I was able to convey the question “who was more important to her, her children or her spouse.” Me first. My son by a factor of about a million.

Next stupid question. “Who is the real boss in your house; you or your spouse?”

At which point my normal daughter in law sitting in the front seat told the taxi driver to stop the car after which she got out, opened the rear door and told me to sit In the front with the taxi driver. Since she is the co-owner of sorts of the two most wonderful people in my life I instantly obeyed.

Actually, complaining about your daughter or son in law is one of the greatest privileges of being a grandparent but I know darn well she is a wonderful mother and, I suspect, a wonderful wife as well though I would never ask.

But I never got to ask my next stupid question. “What would you do if you found out your husband was having an affair? “ So I had to wait for another opportunity to convey that question actually at a gathering where there were three women and some other men (unfortunately it was not an orgy) sitting around a barbeque. First victim of my unseemly and surely improper probes. “He is a wonderful father, a very good provider, and a good human being who I think loves me in his own imperfect but real way after these many years. Of course, I want it to stop but I don’t want to lose him so I make believe I am unaware.” Smarter and more thoughtful victim number two. “It depends. Is your question about a past affair or one that is continuing. Does it seem to be purely sexual or emotional as well.” Last victim for that day. “I would divorce him.” I have to remind myself once in a while that people are allowed to have opinions, intelligent and genuine, different from mine. Besides, one of the men who knew that last victim well swore to me that she was in the midst of her own affair.

So next week’s Observations will probe the one crime worse than murder. That is “cheating” of course.

Yours very truly