Training the beast

September 7, 2020

According to my Kindle reader, I’ve read from my Kindle library for 207 consecutive days. I checked. 208 days ago, Carol and I married; therefore, that was the last day I didn’t read my from ebooks. Funny, because that was the very day Carol started reading War and Peace.

Just kidding. But it is reassuring to know that should I ever be in danger of forgetting our anniversary, I’ll have Kindle as my backup. After all, you wouldn’t want your spouse seeing your phone buzz with a calendar reminder on that of all days. Instead, I’ll hear, “Reid, how sweet of you to remember our anniversary, while you’re reading your book!” Sweet, indeed.)

It’s also significant that Carol has spent all but 30 of those 208 days in pandemic lockdown. In a mobile home. Married to me. Either I’m not as “objectionable and difficult” (my mother’s phrase), as I grew up believing, or Carol is Ghandi and Mother Teresa wrapped inside a resilient, thick New York skin.

Actually, we make a very compatible pair. Carol is very good at overlooking and forgiving faults, and I am very good at generating them. The lockdown has provided both of us ample opportunities to hone our craft in this particular area. As hard an effort as I’m making to cut down on my faults, Carol is also working diligently to accept that no fix of hers should be considered permanent. She calls it (generously)  “training the beast.”

“Actually, we make a very compatible pair. Carol is very good at overlooking and forgiving faults, and I am very good at generating them.”

One of the toughest things for Carol during this pandemic is having to isolate herself from her four grandchildren. They all live close by as well, which makes it even harder for her. Now I’m capable of behaving like a four-year-old, a seven-year-old, a twelve-year-old boy and even a fourteen-year-old girl, sometimes within the same day. While Carol appreciates the effort, she admits it’s not the same.

I thought that her recent coaxing to try to get me back out on a golf course was just to give herself a break. But she wants to ride along. I’m guessing it’s because she wants to see what I look like when I’m moving kinetically in an outdoor setting.

The big test will be upon us starting tomorrow, when we both undertake to do something about the weight gain the pandemic has caused. (Yes, I’m blaming the pandemic, and not my natural physical inertia.) It’s a diet plan Carol has adopted successfully over the years, and one I’ve steadfastly resisted since I’ve known her, believing weight gain is simply a question of mind over matter. I’ve had to capitulate, though, since it’s clear now that the matter is paying me no mind. It’s either a diet or clown pants with big red suspenders.

From what I can discern, the diet is based on the caloric intake of a German concentration camp inmate. Apparently, the good news is that you can eat as much as you want, whenever you’re hungry.  The bad news is that most of it is cabbage soup with some carrots thrown in for color and variety.

Normally, something as draconian as this, when it comes to food and drink, would have no chance of success. But it’s when I tell myself I absolutely can’t do something and will fail miserably at it that I generally find a way to do it.

It’s how I began writing.

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