Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meeting New Friends

We are spending Thanksgiving weekend with some old friends of DB a few states away from home. These are families that formed around when DB was first married and have had many years to grow bonds between each other. The wives and the children have spend many holidays together. This is the first time they met me and J. We received a warm welcome, everyone did their best to make us feel at home. 

J found a bunch of kids to roughhouse with and is happy as a clam. DB is enjoying the time with old friends - their interaction opens windows into his past that I was aware of but had not experienced until now. The ladies have to pause their conversations mid-stream to include me. The men not as much, they are able to find things to chat about that don't require them to have had previous acquaintance with me. 

The first evening goes very well. The next morning. I am beginning to grow a little trying to fit comfortably without encroaching upon people I have known less than ten hours. I have nothing in common with the ladies, I'd love to help in the kitchen but they have things well under control. The kids have more supervision than they require - I am beginning to feel quite redundant. They all speak a language I do not understand so in the middle of a telling something funny, one person needs to step in and translate for my benefit. If anything I am in the way of everyone having a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. 

I retire to our room upstairs, listen to some music, check my email,  read the November issue of Time magazine. All the time, I am wondering at point I would have crossed the line and gone to being impolite. I do have to return downstairs where everyone is and insinuate myself ever so gently so I don't upset the natural equilibrium of things. Marrying for the second time has many challenges  - catching up with friends who have traveled an entirely different path than ourselves is but one of them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Behind The Veneer

I used to be the girl that scoffed at Mills & Boon romances, enjoyed the modern twist on fairy tales - in which Snow White pursues an aggressive feminist agenda among other things egregious. I used to also believe that a woman's sense of self is worth a lot more than anything a man can give her - and to that end it was worth fighting for to the bitter end.
In my first marriage, I found myself turning dangerously enamored of the myth of the "perfect" union. We had to read each others' minds and anticipate needs that were unspoken. That union was the fatal mix of unrelentingly perfect and dangerously flawed. My sense of self took a beating that required the better part of a decade to recover. 
At the time of meeting DB, the facade had come together quite nicely. I looked (and even felt) together and confident - qualities that DB found very attractive. I had no reason to know that the facade was merely a veneer. Nothing and nobody had quite tested its resilience. 
That was the petri dish of romance and then there is the cauldron of marriage. Inside it the facade is peeling, crumbling, falling apart so uncontrollably that I sometimes have to wonder how it came to be that I changed this much in less than a year. It is easy to blame what is new in the mix of things - marriage and DB. To say that he is confused would be understating it.
The wounds underneath are raw and tender - it takes very little provocation to make them hurt hellishly - together, poised and confident are not words one would associate with that frame of mind. I am coming to realize that I had spent my life in denial of my true inclinations - maybe I am sucker for the saccharine romance after all. I am looking for the man in my life to be the answer to everything. DB is placed in the position where he is required to do everything and more and still find that it is not quite enough. 
Then there is the business of "sense of self" - that thing that was worth waging war over. That has not changed too much. I am over-sensitive to the point of being paranoid. There is nothing that DB can say to me without me wondering if this would be the beginning of a covert campaign to hijack who I am and replace that with who he would like me to be. I bristle at the very idea, kick scream and protest with so much passion that he cannot correlate cause and effect. 
If there is light at the end of this tunnel, it is hard to see it from where I am now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Data Trove

Having mucked around in data for the longest time in my career, I am sucker for trends - the quirkier is the better. It's fun to tease out odd correlations between data sets even it has no practical value. For exactly that reason Christian Rudder's OkTrends makes for fascinating reading. Anyone who has sought a match online, is quite quickly able to identify some basic "types". Over time, they are able to tag a profile to a type with reasonable accuracy. Rudder with his access to the mother lode of online dating data is able a whole lot more than tag and classify people based on their profiles."We've compiled our observations and statistics from hundreds of millions of OkCupid user interactions, all to explore the data side of the online dating world." The The "data side of the dating world - is fascinating to say the least.