Friday, August 22, 2008

Finding a new spouse

I used to be friends with a certain person we will call Mr. Cigarette. Mr. Cigarette was married, and they had a little girl J. When a bunch of us would go somewhere, J would usually go with us, but not Mrs. Cigarette. I really didn't get to know Mrs. Cigarette. She just wasn't around us except maybe once or twice. I don't think she was unfriendly, just that she didn't have the energy to go out much, and when she did she probably had better things to do. She had some illness and was on dialysis. Even we she felt good she couldn't take any long trips or anything, cause she had to be near home in time for the dialysis.

Mrs. Cigarette died. I didn't know that things had gotten that bad for her, but eventually she needed a transplant and didn't get one. It was a bit of a surprise for me, but not for her family. I didn't see Mr. Cigarette for a couple of weeks, but after that he seemed mostly himself and not that upset. J didn't even seem that upset when I saw her later. I think that they must have lived a long time with the idea that Mrs. Cigarette was going to die and gotten past most of their grieving before it actually happened.

I was out of town and missed the funeral. A bit after that Mr. Cigarette got some insurance money and bought a new car and some other stuff. He went through his wife's things and got rid of a lot of it, and he boxed up a lot of his own stuff because he thought he might move soon.

I never really know what to say to people after there's been a death in the family. But I wanted to say something. He kept insisting that he was okay.

At some point he said that everything was fine, and that Christmas was coming and that he and J would be okay, but he was really not looking forward to the months after that. I didn't know what he meant.

Apparently he expected everyone he knew to start trying to find dates for him, and he wasn't really looking forward to dating.

So just tell them no thank you, you're not ready or whatever.

But he didn't want to do that. He wanted to get on with it. He had been single before, and he did not like it. He said that he wanted to meet someone else and get married again soon. He hoped to have met the next Mrs. Cigarette and be in a serious relationship before next year's Christmas cards were sent out.

I was shocked. I couldn't believe he was serious.

He started dating again. Once in a while we would meet someone that he was dating. The women looked attractive enough, but I didn't like most of the ones I met. I thought that one of them looked at me funny, like--this is my man, go away. First of all, at the time I thought I had happily married stamped on my forehead, and was not doing anything that would make anyone think that I was after Mr. Cigarette. Second, Mr. Cigarette had made it plain enough that he liked me and found me attractive, so I'm sure that if I was not married or had given him any hope of thinking I'd ever me interested in him that way, it would not have been much of a contest. And for another thing, since I didn't find Mr. Cigarette attractive that way, I wondered why any attractive woman would be all over him like that. It made me wonder what was wrong with her, if she was a pretty package that contained nothing.

An attractive bitch is still a bitch.

I found the whole thing a bit creepy. J had just lost her mother, and her dad was in a hurry to marry someone else who was a complete stranger and possibly quite full of herself and clueless about being a parent or even a wife. One of these women was supposed to be J's step-mom?

When Mr. Cigarette was not with a date, he would complain to me about how tired he was from all the dating. He said that he wasn't having a lot of fun most of the time. He didn't have time to do the stuff that he wanted to do. While I would not like for my husband to die, I had given the matter some thought and was pretty sure what I would do if that happened. If I ever was again in a situation where I would be dating again, I would think that it would have to be romantic or at least a lot of fun or I wouldn't be doing it.

So stop dating.

Only he couldn't do that, cause he had to find the woman he was going to marry. Dating was a necessary evil one must go through as part of finding that person.

I saw less and less of J and Mr. Cigarette. All that dating left him little time for the things that we used to do. I didn't know who he was dating or if it was going well or what.

And then he said he was going to miss something, because he was going out of state for his honeymoon.

Okay. See you when you get back.

And then a month or two later, I met the new Mrs. Cigarette. She did not always speak pleasantly, though she was pleasant enough when talking to me. She was short and round, and didn't resemble anything that I would call pretty. She constantly seemed to be on Mr. Cigarette's back about stuff, reminding that he had to do this and that, and that if they didn't get such and such done that they would be late for something else, and don't forget to go to the store, etc....

She was perfect.

Or, at least, she was perfect for Mr Cigarette and J. New Mrs. Cigarette looked very tough, but she must have been really easy to get along with. She is not into the whole fandom thing, but for their honeymoon she went with Mr. Cigarette to a convention. She also smoked, though probably not as much as Mr. Cigarette. I really disapprove of smoking (though not as much as I disapprove of alcohol), but if you're going to smoke you should at least marry someone else who smokes so that you don't have arguments about it.

New Mrs. Cigarette also had a daughter, who was a couple of years older than J. But J was a bit tall for her age, and the other little girl was a bit small for her age, so that they ended up being about the same size and were able to share clothes. The two girls appeared to be best buddies.

They all seemed to mesh together quite well. They were a smaller version of the Brady Bunch, only with cigarettes and without a maid.

A bit after this, I had to go out of town a lot and did not see as much of them as I would have liked. Our little group was drifting apart anyway. I joined a different group, and he joined the same group, but after a while he declined to do anything with us. Instead of just doing what he wanted to do, he was trying to spend an equal amount of time doing what she wanted to do. And the stuff that you have to do when you have a child like go shopping for clothes, and arranging for piano lessons, and going to soccer games, and helping out with homework had now doubled now that he had a stepdaughter. That left him less than half the free time that he used to have.

I hung out with the new group as often as I could, but Mr. Cigarette seemed to drift away from that group too. I didn't see him anymore, except for the occasional party those first couple of years. After that I didn't see him at all except at someone's funeral.

I wonder if they all stayed as happy as they seemed when I knew them.

In any case, I think that I was too judgmental of his desire to get right back into dating after his wife's death. His family was incomplete, and he needed to go out and find the missing piece, or in this case, the missing pieces. And I do very much see that if I should be in a situation where I would be dating again, that dating might seem like a necessary evil one most go through in order to find a new spouse. If finding that special someone is a priority, then you might have to put some actual work into it, and not just date once in a while when it is fun.


dmarks said...

"They all seemed to mesh together quite well. They were a smaller version of the Brady Bunch, only with cigarettes and without a maid."

After all, who wouldn't rather have a pack of smokes than Alice?

I disapprove of smoking more than light alcohol use at least on this level: if I am sitting next to a someone smoking, the drifting smoke means I am smoking along with them. If I am sitting next to someone drinking a beer, them drinking the beer does not automatically make me drink it too.

laughingattheslut said...

There certainly is that, except that where I live I hardly have to deal with any smokers. For example, they are not allowed to smoke in any restaurant in Arlington unless the restaurant has installed an expensive filtration system. Most places I go are either totally non-smoking or you have to go to a small smoking area. It is the other way around when I go to smallville, and the non-smoking area is a closet or hallway, and the rest of the restaurant is filled with smokers. The last time I had a serious problem with smokers was when I worked at Kmarts, and they didn't have separate breakrooms. Walking into a building can be a problem, because everyone who smokes has to go outside, and they cannot be bothered to move a reasonable space from the door.

People who drink cause more problems. There are many drunk drivers who kill people and run over pets and cause other serious personal injuries and property damage. I don't here that much about smokers, though I would think that one occasionally causes a wreck after dropping a cigarette. Drunk guys also go out and rape people and beat up people and so forth. Alcohol seems to lead to all kinds of bad things, while the smokers don't seem to do anything bad other than the actual smoking, and maybe they will go smoke someplace else if you ask.

I guess my main problem is that most of the people I know who smoke, mostly smoke at home, but that's going to force their kids to smoke.

And of course in the case of Mr. Cigarette, J already lost her mother, so he should give up smoking so that he doesn't get lung cancer and die and leave her an orphan.