Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wanting Shiny Things (Again)


Wanting Shiny Things
I wrote a few days ago about how I am not going to buy a new cell phone. Not yet. There is one I want and over which I keep getting excited. It's expensive and I have a perfectly workable phone in my possession, so it's not a necessary purchase, but still, it's fun to want it and think about how it would be to own it. As I said then, the wanting of it isn't difficult, it is actually enjoyable to consider.
My wife is not excited about such things. She couldn't care much less about cell phones, computers, or the like. Whatever works is fine with her. She doesn't buy these things in our family and never has. She is more than content to live with whatever we have in the house for her to use. We bought a new computer for her only when the one she was using was near death. She got an iPhone only because I bought it for her as a gift and she has since grown to enjoy it. Unlike me, she does not put herself to sleep with dreams of new operating systems, fast Internet connections, or the lure of a new cell phone.
It's not like I don't know this about her and it's not like she doesn't know these things about me. Still, it causes some friction. I tend to talk (a lot) about the thing that I'm dreaming of having. My wantings aren't very internal. I let most everyone know. I'm working to curb some of that, but there is a purpose to it beyond hounding people into getting it for me. The purpose is to feel excited. I'm a guy who often enough loses the energy of excitement. I've been known to fall into dark holes. Wanting a new phone (or whatever item I'm thinking about) is a shiny light that I hang on to.
On the other side of this is my wife who worries about money. She doesn't feel safe without money in the bank and she's not at all sure how much money will help her to feel safe. It may be that we are almost there or it may be that there is no amount that will ever set her mind at ease. She sees the price tag as a flashing red light, a warning sign. It has danger written all over it. When I show her a new cell phone and am all golly-gee over it, she is thinking, oh no, we can't afford this and it sends her into worry.
Thursday, with time on our hands without the children, we went over to the store and looked at the phone I have been thinking about. I was child-like (hopefully not childish) about it and wanted her to feel the same kinds of excitement that I was feeling. I should have known better. She was nervous and practical and hoping that I would see the reason of things. She should have known better.
We came away from the store separated. Me feeling denied. Her feeling put upon. This lasted through most of the evening. The funny thing about it is that now she probably wants to buy the phone to make up for not being excited and I don't want to buy the phone because I don't want to make her nervous. It's the damn Gift of the Maji in reverse.
There was a time not long ago when an episode like this would knock me out of my orbit. I translated the lack of connection into the notion that we were not in love. Now, I'm hoping that I've grown. What we went through yesterday is simply the friction of being in love of being together. She is not me, I am not her. There are things that I feel that she won't feel and vice versa.
The day after going to the store and looking at the phone I'm seeing it differently. I'm seeing myself and my wife differently as well. The phone is interesting and neat, but it isn't necessary and wanting it isn't necessary either. It has been fun to think about it, but there will be some other device next week (or sooner) that will likely be as interesting if not more. I can be interested in that when it comes around. More to the point, I can be excited about it and want to share that but not go into it expecting and demanding that others be excited about it with me. If I need someone else to be excited about it, then there is something wrong with what I'm doing for myself.
So no phone for me. Not today. I can wait. I can want but not have. At least I think I can. It's worth a try.
Write on.