Thank you for being you

This morning, Jason walked with me to the door as I slung my backpack and my purse over my shoulder in a haphazard dash to get to Writer’s Group on time. As I yanked out my keys, an avalanche of scribbled-on receipts, tangled necklaces, and business cards threatened to spill forth, but the only thing to actually fall out was the little velcro thinger that keeps my phone charging cable tangle free. 

Jason stooped down to retrieve it. He was the one to put it into my purse after I found it clinging to the red wool wrap I wore to the most romantic restaurant in Austin for our anniversary dinner. Then, in true, patient, thoughtful Jason fashion, he snaked out the charging cable and attempted to reaffix the thinger to it. We realized then that the velcro had worn out, but not enough to keep it from attaching to my elegant wool wrap, so he said, “We’ll have to get you a new one.”

And I was like, “Well, I don’t have time for that now.”

Here he was, trying to help me keep my charging cable tangle-free, thereby saving me from the quagmire of necklaces, paper scraps, and my keys while placing my order at the coffee shop, and my response was, “Not now, too busy.”

I fret over this exchange all the way to the coffee shop, desperately trying to construct an apology via messenger at every red light without actually succeeding to type the full sentence. In the parking lot, I typed, “Love I’m sorry I was so rude heading out! You were trying to help me and I was like, I don’t have time😢😭”

He immediately wrote back, “Lol I love you. It was true. You were in a hurry. You are just fine, sweety. Regardless, thank you for being self aware. Also, the “it was true” is about being in a hurry, not being rude.”

See how quickly he moved to comfort and reassure me, even though I was the Rudeness Instigator? I know lots of people – myself included – who would have responded with prickly pride and surly indignation. Instead, he soothed me. 

Then our conversation digressed as I explained that all my bustliness was for naught, because I showed up to Writer’s Group before anyone else had arrived. Then I snagged the biggest table in the place, which made me look like a total space hog. This led me to describe myself as a space hog,  so I sent this meme:

He responded with, “I tried to find a Gamorrean guard, but there were none,” and I melted into a puddle on the floor because he gets me.

It’s days like this when I have to sit back and just be grateful. Because I have managed to snag the most thoughtful, most dynamic, most practical ADULT human as a partner, but who also just happens to be the cleverest, sexiest most awesome dork on the planet, too. 

I think of myself as an elite-class dork. In many ways, I have steadfastly resisted growing up. My last purchases include unicorn leggings (which I’m currently wearing in public), a membership to a Korean band’s fan club, and a Sorsha figurine from the 80s movie Willow. My computer has a sticker of Skateboarding Jesus and a cartoon whale named Kore. On my desk at work I have two Lego hot dog grills – one normal speed, one turbo – and hanging above my bedside table is an ornament of Nani, Lilo, and Stitch.

Jason’s more of a grownup, but in the very best possible way. In the way that he is patient. He is thorough. He’s detail-oriented. Whereas I’m harried and slapdash. I call myself a big-picture person, but more honestly, I kinda… drift. Like a moth in a shopping mall parking lot. 

Here are a few examples of how Jason dominates at Adulting:

When Jason fills out insurance forms, he reads all the stuff. Like, all of it. Too many times, I’ll attempt to fill out an online application (for a KPOP band’s fan club, per example) only to become frustrated because I couldn’t intuit my way through it. Basically, that means I click random buttons and select autofill until a screen pops up proclaiming, “Congratulations, you’re done!” This might mean I’ve signed away my neighbor’s niece’s firstborn, but to be fair, I’ve never actually seen my neighbor or his niece, so… it’s probably fine.

But Jason, he reads the options and clicks the appropriate responses, thereby sparing the universe any unpleasant international custody proceedings. (Apologies to my neighbor; I love how you play the cello.)

Here’s another thing: Jason scrubs the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, and he’s never once fussed at me when he has to clean the filter because I don’t scrub the dishes first because I’m not about to do that machine’s job for it… Take that, Skynet.

Also, Jason has a stack of math degrees. Math! In his spare time, he plays the guitar, and he’s REALLY good at it, so it’s awesome to know that if he failed doing math, his fallback job could be Rockin Guitarist. But he doesn’t want to be a rockin guitarist. He plays for the love of playing, which means I get to enjoy it without having to share it with anyone else. 

Which, now that I’m typing it, seems pretty selfish. But whatever. It’s hard to care about that when you’re the VIP of a badass private rock show in the comfort of your own home. 

Here’s another thing. Jason researches items he intends to buy. Whether it’s furniture or headphones, he does useful, practical things like reading user reviews and checking the seller’s history. I’m more like ‘ohh, it comes in glitter purple? Adds to cart.’ When I do research, it usually entails watching YouTube videos analyzing the relationships between KPOP stars. I write Korean LGBT romance, so it’s legit research, and he has never once teased me about that.

Likewise, he’s never once ridiculed me for the literal hours I play on Puzzlestar. As a man with a gamer score of 192,648, Jason understands the importance of goals. 

Also, he understands the importance of hydration. Every time my water bottle is empty, he refills it because he knows I’ll forget to drink water, just like he knows that I’ll forget to refill my water bottle, and that I’ll also forget my water bottle, which is why he puts it in a place where he knows I’ll find it, which is right in front of my coffee maker, because he knows I’ll never forget to make coffee. 

See? Thoughtful AND detail-oriented. 

Plus, despite everything you might think about him being a math guy, Jason is an incredible listener and an even better question-asker. When we go out (which is often, because I’m spoiled) he talks to people. And because he’s genuinely interested in what they have to say, they talk to him. As a cringingly shy person, this boggles my mind. I’m more of a shouts-an-awkward-observation-about-an-article-of-clothing-I-like type of person, followed immediately by becoming a run-and-hide-in-a-bathroom-stall-to-rethink-my-life-choices type of person. What I love most about this trait of Jason’s is that I also want to know the answers to the Important Life Questions posed to random strangers, but often, my social awkwardness prevents me from words. 

Which is why I write. In writing, I can better say what it is I need to say. I can endlessly revise and rearrange, usually without skipping words or fumbling my sentences. Usually. Funny thing is, Jason is my beta reader. He’s exceptionally thorough, catching all my omitted words, typos, and the inevitable inconsistencies in en and em dash usage. Therefore, while typing this, I imagined him proofreading it, highlighting various sentences to question whether or not I intended the run-on hyphenation used above, when a simpler, far less confusing adjective might suffice.  

But then he would suggest something really sweet like “beautiful-butterfly type” or he would say, “You spelled awesome wrong.” He might highlight the word bustliness and comment on it, but he would never drag me for making up words because he gets me and he enjoys language. He has never once called my writing a ‘hobby’ and he’s never once pointed out that one short story I published has made more money than all my novels combined.

#writerlife

He totally could. Others totally have. But Jason is not like others. He doesn’t begrudge the whole mess of a person that I am. Instead, he enjoys the slapdashness of me. In fact, I think he’s kinda into it. I mean, he replied to my Pigs In Space meme with a Star Wars reference. Who else could be more perfect?

So… Happy Four Year Anniversary, Jason Cook. Thank you for being you, and we’ll be together from now on.

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