Six months ago, I decided to take the plunge, not realizing it would submerge me into so many identities that I would feel as if I didn't have any. From one day to the next I went from Provo's patron saint of single life (they were building a statue, I swear) to a father of three and a husband of well, you know, her.
So about that plunge and left hook. It isn't that I expected things to be perfect. I expected that things would change and change drastically. I just didn't expect me to seem less me.
So here's the scenario. I'm sitting with Dixie's family who(m) I finally (FINALLY!) feel comfortable with. I can laugh with them, I can listen--I've even performed a song or two. We're family. So I find it the strangest feeling when, that night, I don't have anything to say. I just sit there like a big doofus watching other people be funny and share and laugh. When I open my mouth, I hesitate. I'm like the guy that arrives late at a dinner party and doesn't know if the joke he opens his mouth to share was already told. I'm the guy who tries to break in with an "um," "well," "uh," but is just a step late, a step behind the flow of traffic. I'm the guy that thinks of something to say about one topic when the conversation is already two topics further down the line. It is then I realize that I don't recognize myself. I've never been that guy.
You see, as a single guy, I had all these conversations--ALL these stories. I was, and I hate how superficial this is going to make me sound, I was smooth.
(James Bond here pretty much represents my relative smoothness level at the time)
Oh yes, I could tell a story. Oh yes, I could be funny. Oh yes, I knew just how to relate to that group. I had read all the books they read and knew all the theories that they were learning in school. For Pete's sake, I was teaching at BYU and gave assignments in the stuff they wanted to talk about. So, as a result, I could command a crowd and lead a discussion. And all of this because I was so intimately acquainted with Provo single life. Wanna know something sad about me? While most Provo residents experience single college life for 2-4 years, I experienced it for twelve (I hang my head in shame).
But at least, at LEAST, I knew what the heck I was doing.
And now I'm here.
From one day to the next, I don't know what the heck I'm doing--although I will give myself some credit--I'm doing it all with gusto. I'm a repairman, a painter, a fort-maker, a grilled cheese flipper, a cockroach killer, a ward clerk (thanks a lot, Tony), a bedtime storyteller, and , of all things, a copier salesman. I mean, really, a copier salesman? Who wants to talk to me about copiers over dinner? "The Xerox 5225 comes with a 100-sheet duplexing automatic document feeder." Ugh. I bore myself.
And I'm constantly doing instead of thinking now. I'm picking up toys, running errands, taking Livy to school, packing lunches, making 50 phone calls a day to businessmen who don't want to speak with me. I haven't had a coherent thought in 6 months.
And why endure the shame of my uncoolness--my unsmoothness? Why in the world would I let myself get so punch drunk with left hooks?
Have I mentioned her?