Barry Smith: My amazing wife
I have an amazing wife who, at least before today, doesn’t mind that I write about our relationship. This, along with the fact that she is basically a Mountain of Cute, makes me the luckiest columnist alive. Here are some poignant relationship moments for your voyeuristic enjoyment.-I was telling my wife, Christina, the story of when I first moved to Colorado and got a job shoveling snow. I was about a minute into it when she tells me that I’ve told her this story before.She may have been right, but I suspected it was quite a while ago that I did so, meaning that it was actually due for a retelling, as some of the key moments had probably faded with time. However, I thought a simple test would be appropriate and fair before proceeding.”Oh yeah, well … what happened?” I asked, feeling much less defensive than I sounded.She said: “You had an epiphany of some sort.”Damnit. She knew that there were only two possibilities in any story that I would tell: “You had an epiphany of some sort,” or “Something slapsticky happened.” She gambled and won. Now I have to wait at least another year before trying to tell that story again.Christina to Barry: “Life is so dense and amazing it makes me nauseous.”Our friends Skip and Patty are over for a visit one night. We’re all sitting around the kitchen table talking when Christina decides that the lighting is all wrong. She flicks on the overhead lights. They are very bright, and the room was very dim, so the sudden change was a little hard on the eyes. Christina and I both raised our hands to our eyes, diverted our gaze dramatically from the bulbs and, in unison, let fly with a mock-horror “AHHHHHH!” The act was instinctive. Not a pivotal aspect of our relationship or anything, just one of those silly little things we do when we are alone – we pretend to be scared of light bulbs. All couples have those things, don’t they?I was in mid-“AHHH …” when I realized that we were the only ones going “AHHHHHH!” Skip and Patty chose instead to react to the bright light by merely squinting for a few seconds, whereas Christina and I were like a cross between the Wicked Witch in a flash flood and Quasimodo during a fire drill.”AHHHHH!” we said, until our pupils adjusted accordingly.Funny, it always seems like a normal thing to do when we’re alone.Christina to Barry: “I was making you some eggs, but I got a phone call so our last tortilla got a little hard.”And speaking of weird little things: I have no idea why, but occasionally one of us will say, in a call-to-arms manner, “KARMINI!”When one does so, we both then do some little arm gesture and go “Hunh! Hunh!” as if we are an acrobatic duo having just finished a series of back flips.Like, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Flying Karmini Brothers” and we jump on stage and say, “KARMINI! HUNH! HUNH!”Yeah, that’s probably weird enough, especially since we can’t do any real acrobatic tricks. But there’s more.One afternoon, Christina is sitting in the kitchen reading the paper. I’m leaning against the sink watching her when I decide, based on whatever bizarre criteria one uses to decide such things, that it’s time for a “Karmini!”So I say, “KARMINI!”What happened next was this: She looked up from the paper, a bit annoyed by the distraction, paused for a second before giving a very half-hearted “Hunh, hunh,” and then returned her attention to the news.But it was in that pre-hunh pause where something strange happened, for in that single second I could read her mind as if it were being broadcast over a loudspeaker. Her entire thought process was crystal clear to me, and it was a little bit eerie.She thought: “OK, Barry’s bored and he sees that I’m focused on something, so he needs to start bugging me in order to feel better about himself. If I do what I really want to do, which is ignore him and continue to read, he will only be inspired to bug me further. “If I tell him that I’m not in the mood to play the Karmini game right now, he will want an explanation as to why I have stopped loving him, a discussion will follow and it’ll take an hour at the least. All I want to do is read the goddamn paper for a few minutes, but I have to take care of this situation first. “Of all my options, the one that will get me back to the paper the quickest is to just play along with the Karmini thing and hope that afterwards he gets distracted by a fly or something and leaves me alone. I don’t like the fact that this is what my adult life has come to, but that really is my most efficient course of action at the moment. “So, here goes …”Christina to Barry: “Our love is more eternal than the date of your birth coming and going in this lifetime, just one of our many lifetimes together.” This is a touching thing to say, especially when you realize that it was in response to her inability to correctly answer my question to her: “You don’t even know when my birthday is, do you?”
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Aspen City Hall reporter Carolyn Sackariason reflects on the same old story, different year, different decade.