A few weekends ago, Marco and I went to the mall (Marco really, really loves the mall; he was raised in El Paso), and while we were promenading level two, I spied this pair of green-on-green sneakers at Payless Shoe Source. For years I have been looking for exactly this kind of sneaker. These shoes have it all. They’re two kinds of green, and they’re both really good greens, and the visible advertising is super low-key, which I like, and then the shape is really good, too, nice and low-tech. Also the official name of the shoe is “Rebel,” which is pleasantly insane. And all for just $25!
The only problem: the Payless at the mall didn’t have my size. So Marco drove me over to the Payless by our house, and they didn’t have my size, either! So the next morning, we looked up the addresses of all the drive-able Paylesses, and we hit the road. Luckily this modern-day Cinderella story ended at the second Payless we visited: the Payless on East 14th, it had my shoes! And they’re perfect. I wore them all over Seattle and they we comfortable and looked cute with many outfits, and I am just so happy with them.
But, more to the point, how awesome is Marco? To go so willingly on a Payless treasure hunt all over the East Bay? I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. He and I just celebrated the two-year anniversary of the day we met (it was September 11th, 2004, at Adam and Julia’s beautiful wedding), and we’ve been living together now for…wow, five months! And it all just seems so natural and comfortable, like we’ve never been not living together. It’s weird, after struggling so long trying to make things work with other people, to finally experience something that is just…easy. It’s almost eerie. (I’m trying not to let my jinx-o-phobia freak me out here…though, based on the complicated logic of my superstitions, the very fact that I’ve just acknowledged that I’m putting myself in jinx jeopardy acts as a kind of safeguard against something terrible happening, because in my world, self-awareness dilutes the potential for ironic comeupance. Of course now it occurs to me that nothing courts ironically twisted endings like posting something gushy in your online diary. Oh no!)
One of the very best things, though, about dating Marco is that I think he’s actually transformed me into a better person. For one thing, I just like the version of myself that comes out when I’m around him. There have, of course, been times when my bitchy side comes out for a visit. Like for instance last week, I was trying to tell him a story about a party which happened to transpire in “Marin County,” and he interrupted to ask, “You mean the hospital?” What? I rolled my eyes and huffed, instantly and completely exasperated at him for derailing my story, and then I launched into a long detour of bickery. (Apparently people who grew up in Marin County, as I did, have a habit of adding on that “County” whenever they refer to the area, while people from other counties don’t actually do that. Like if you’re from Alameda County, you just say, “I’m from Alameda.” This is why Marco was confused, why he thought I was actually talking about a hospital. A fictional hospital called “Marin County” that was the site of a big…party. Of course Alameda is also a town; it’s a town and a county. As is San Francisco. And Sonoma. Whereas Marin is geographical area, filled with entitled hippies trying to manipulate you into sharing their exact ideas on nonconformity. ANYWAY!) Generally speaking, though, I like the person I am when I’m around Marco. This Evany is excited to try new things and curious about my surroundings and I enjoy doing whatever it is that needs doing, even if it’s an unfavorable task, like the dishes or laundry.
Marco’s also a lot more industrious than I am, and his energy has this great momentum that carries me through projects that I’m not sure I would have been able to complete on my own. The over-the-bed photos for the Sleep book, for instance, which Amelia (the illustrator) used as a basis for all the illustrations. Marco was the one who figured out how to set up the camera, which wasn’t at all easy as it sounds. We spent a LOT of time fiddling around with duct tape (which we used to attached the camera to mic-stand, which we balanced on a ladder using luggage as counterbalance…an unfortunate setup that never quite stopped bobbing and weaving) before Marco hit on the solution: he made a mount for the camera out of wire and brackets and then drilled that directly into the ceiling, then used the camera’s remote shutter clicker to take the photos from down on the ground, or the bed, or wherever. That simple ingenuity paved the way for hundreds of pictures, and those many photos gave me what I needed to start writing, which led ultimately to this sweet little blue book that I love so very much. All because of that ceiling mount, created by Marco.
I also don’t feel crazy when I’m around him. Early on he made it clear that he wasn’t really phased by my desire to “talk about the feelings,” something that (with few exceptions) has universally bummed out every boy I’ve ever dated. And even the boys who were okay with the endless talk-talk-talking, they somehow never had the right things to say when I finally ran out of words, and then I always ended up feeling crazier than when I started. Which isn’t to knock all the boys I’ve ever dated — much of what didn’t work in the past was me, me being anxious, me not knowing my mind, not being sure about what it was I even wanted. But Marco just kind of goes along with it, smiles and says, “That sounds hard,” or whatever, and I feel better. And something about the very fact that it’s permissable for me to talk about my crazy thoughts and concerns, and that the act of talking about it doesn’t end up breaking everything, has caused my desire to talk about all that stuff to almost disappear. Weird…it’s like he’s some kind of EMOTIONAL SCIENTIST!
(I also love how he just called to say that he came up with another band mashup: “I can’t believe I never thought of the Kajagoogoo Dolls!” Other mashups he’s invented: The Beagles (which would play only Beatles and Eagles covers). And the English Beat Farmers. The Thirty-eight Specials. REM Speedwagon. And so on and on.)
But okay right, what I started out to say was how, ever since I started dating Marco, I’ve become a better person. Marco’s one of those people who gives little old ladies whom he’s never met a ride home. Or like…okay, this is a good Marco story. Sometime last year, he was waiting for his tires to get changed, and these two guys rolled by, and they were trying to push-start their car. So Marco ran out into the street and started helping them push. They tried once, and it didn’t catch, so they pushed it up to speed again, and it finally caught. And that’s when a guy came running out of an apartment building yelling, “Hey! That’s my car!” The two guys, the guys who Marco had just helped out, were stealing the car! The car thieves peeled out, and actually Marco took off running, too, so maybe that’s not the best story about helping out people in need. Here’s a better one: for awhile, a senile old man used to come knocking on Marco’s door and insist that he owned the building, and then he’d say stuff about…a flag? Or something? He didn’t really speak English, so it was all very confusing. Bu
t Marco would stand there and try to talk to the man as long as it took for the man’s daughter to come get him. Or another time! We were walking home from the coffee store when we came across an old man (different from the old man with the flag issues) who was standing on the corner, by himself, clearly confused. He was asking everyone that walked by if they knew the name of some street, and no one seemed to know what he was talking about. My instinct — and I’m not at all proud of this — was to sort of shrug and keep walking, because it seemed like this guy had a LOT going on, and I was just trying to enjoy my Sunday, enjoy my coffee. But Marco, who had seen the guy walking around the neighborhood before, stopped and figured out where he had to go, and then Marco offered to walk the guy to his house (it turned out to be a group home for the mentally ill). So slowwwwly, very slowwwwly, we walked this man, his name was John, home. It took us maybe fifteen minutes out of our way, no big deal. And it made me feel good!
So when an elderly woman came up to me when I was walking around NY on my own, and politely asked me if I could do her a favor, I actually stopped and asked her what I could do to help. This isn’t something I would have done in the past. And it turns out that this nice lady just wanted me to steady her as we crossed the street, she was a shaky walker and she didn’t trust herself to make it. She put her hand on my arm, I walked her across the street, and she was very appreciative and told me what a lovely girl I was. See? I’m a lovely girl! A very, very lucky lovely girl.More words on: marco