Saturday, 20 October 2012
One sided conversations
On my last night of a work trip in Auckland, I sat alone at a table in a restaurant. Beside me were a retired couple. Both Australians who had moved to New Zealand to be with one of their two daughters who had given them grandchildren. They'd spent several years of their retirement on the Sunshine Coast and finally gave in to the call of the grey babysitters.
Old couples are cute. They obviously know each other well and have stuck around for the long haul. I don't have flash forwards to my own life of aged coupledom or wish for that for myself. In fact, I am of the belief that I will always be young and beautiful... even at my current 36.
Those couples are comforting though. To know that people can persist through the good and bad and even the boring to come out the otherside together without one of them deserting is healing for me.
The wife was the one who told me their life story. The husband didn't make eye contact with me and spent most of his time staring out the window. This I understand. Not everyone is an extroverted puppy like me, who longs to connect with people... with anyone. She was though.
What irked me about the whole situation was that as the courses of their degustation dinner were served, she discussed each one in detail. She referred to how it should be done according to Master Chef or how you'd achieve a running creamy egg after baking it for two hours on 65 degrees Celsius.
He said nothing. He grunted once in a while during moments of scoffing food. He looked out the window a lot.
He did not share her passion. He didn't even humour her.
At that moment, I knew that I'd hate to sit in a restaurant savouring food and longing to discuss its nuances while my life long partner showed little to no interest.
Not saying he is a bad person or unloving or anything like that. For her to stay with him until death do they part, he must be something wonderful to her.
It was just that when the sum of your life is almost calculated and you are double checking numbers and reconciling the steps that get you there, I'd hope that the person across from you is at least in conscious attendance.
May I never share my passion and receive only a grunt.