Conversations

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From Jane’s World

Most people who are together over a period of time, married or not, have an anniversary date. Dane and I don’t. Figuring out and trying to agree on the date we met or got together is one of many silly conversations we’ve had. Here’s a sampling.

***

It was a gorgeous day and we were driving to Madison on Highway 14. I had my shoes off, feet up on the dash, and was reading a book, but started to doze. Dane was listening to NPR’s Saturday morning program on the radio.

Just about the time my eyes finally closed, Dane started to talk: “How do you feel about cannibalism?”

My eyes popped open and I pushed myself up in my seat, asking, “Why? Are you hungry?” 

Dane: They eat people in other countries.
Jane: Name one?
Dane: It’s for ritual.
Jane: I don’t think I’d like the tendons or ligaments.
Dane:  I really do think about it a lot.
Jane:  Now I don’t feel so good. If I’m the first to die, are you going to flat out start chewing on me?

***

Organic Valley had recently come out with a new energy drink called Fuel. They were kind enough to let me put one of the drinks in each gift bag for an event I was hosting. After the event about six bottles were left and I refrigerated them. The next day, Dane and I were getting ready to go hiking.

Jane: Do you want a Fuel?
Dane: I already had one.
Jane: Did you shake it?
Dane: 175 times.
Jane: OMG, you're like Rain Man! 

*** 

After finishing a rainy early-morning hike in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, we were walking out of the woods, hand in hand, to the car.

Jane: I didn't think I'd be this wet.
Dane: That’s a silly thing to say. Did you think it was going to be drier water than normal?
Jane: No, just not this wet.

***
In 2016, I was struggling to meet a deadline for a column, and I mentioned to Dane my favorite quote about being a weekly columnist: “You can’t hit a home run every week.” However, the ensuing conversation could be compared to a fly ball, or perhaps a foul ball.

Jane: I wrote a column this morning. Can you take a look at it?
Dane: You already wrote one this week.
Jane: I know, but it was crappy.
Dane: Yeah, I thought so too.
Jane: This one isn’t much better. We’ll need to decide which one is less crappy.
Dane: Oh boy, just like the presidential election.

***

I was on my way home from the hair salon after getting my annual summer haircut. I was feeling good, driving with the windows down, music blasting, and decided to call Dane.

“I just had my summer haircut and I look ad…an...adnious.”

“You look how?”

“I look adrxious!”

I kept driving, smiling at how ridiculously happy I felt about my haircut, and waiting for Dane to acknowledge my excitement.

Silence. “Are you there?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m trying to figure out what you’re telling me.”

“Oh.” Now my dander started to rise. I tried again to say the word I wanted but by then I’d gotten it so mixed up that my tongue was hardly functional. I spat out, “It makes me look anirxios.”

“Anxious?” Dane asked.

“No!” I tried again: “Anorexic.”

Again there was a long silence and my patience started to wear thin. “Dane, are you there?”

“Yes, babe, I just don’t think anorexic is a word anyone would ever use to describe you.”

Quickly I shot back, “I know that. That's not what I meant. I meant the word that means when you look like a boy and a girl.”
“Androgynous?”
“Yes! It’s really short.”

And on to another conversation we went, with me feeling thankful Dane had finally figured it out. 

***

We’re notorious for playing games during the colder months of the year. Lately Rummikub has been a favorite, but this time we were engaged in a heated bout of Catch Phrase. It’s a game where you give clues to try to make the other person guess a word or a phrase. Dane was up first but we didn’t get too far.

Dane: People who dance wear this on their feet.
Jane: Spandex!
Dane: Their feet, you fool.
Jane: If you can’t be nice I don’t want to play.

Dane: A type of fighting where they would use deadly substances.
Jane: A really, really mean fight?
Dane: Noooooo!

Dane: A high level of math.
Jane: Algebra!
Dane: Higher.
Jane: Chemistry!
Dane: Math!
Jane: I don’t want to play anymore.

***

This short conversation is a classic.

Dane: The last of my hormones just died.
Jane: (Staring. Mouth opened slightly.)
Dane: (Repeats himself.)
Jane: (Very slowly and clearly) Your last hormone died…?
Dane: No! The last of the original Ramones died.
Jane: Oh! 

***

The longest-running conversation we have is trying to come up with the year and date we started dating.

Jane: When did we start dating?
Dane: We’ve had this conversation before, Jane.
Jane: I know, but we never have come up with a year or date.
Dane: December.
Jane: December what?
Dane: It depends. You had all sorts of rules back then.
Jane: No I didn’t. Did I?
Dane: Yes. You said we weren't really dating. You said we were non-dating.
Jane: Well, we were!
Dane: You see what I mean?
Jane: But there has to be a year. We need to know the year at least.
Dane: Before or after we were non-dating?
Jane: Does it matter?

And on it goes. We may never hear the words “Happy Anniversary,” but hopefully and God willing we’ll hear the sweet sounds of each other’s laughter for years to come.

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Originally Published August 15th, 2019 in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout