I’m not going to start the day getting down on myself. But I am inspired to do better.
This is what happens, living with the Bohemian. I just watch his modus operandi and simply wish I could conjure such relaxed grace.
Take yesterday, for instance. He was on his bike and riding to the trees before 7am. Where, upon arriving in the grove of beauties, all stretching limbs beyond 20 feet, he spent eight hours pruning them down to less than half that size.
At the end of the day, for the first time in a month, he’s home before dark. As usual, he’s sun-baked, sweaty and smiling. With this extra daylight, he’s ready to venture with Jeb and I on an hour-long drive into town. The mission: I’m purchasing ribbon for our wedding invitations. Jeb’s hopeful for a new pair of shoes I don’t want to buy. And we have some food supplies to pick up at the big box store I hate to love; Costco.
Without skipping a beat, the Bohemian showers, gets dressed and asks “When are we going?”
I’m guessing he’s inspired to check out a new pair of loppers at Sears.
The reality is, he comes to town, but never looks at landscaping tools. Though he does spend twenty minutes in the ribbon aisle choosing the color and texture of the three-inch tie that will adorn our invites. When I’m stuck between two colors he suggests, “Jess, just get both.”
Jeb tries to be patient but is wiggley with anticipation in the potential of new shoes. We still have a grocery shop and the Bohemian wonders how late “Famous Footwear” will be open. He offers to take Jeb on the shoe mission while I get food.
All chores complete, by the time we’re driving home it’s eight o’clock on a school night and we’ve passed Jeb’s bedtime. He’s hoping he can wear his new shoes in the house and he’d probably wear them to bed if I let him.
I’m edgy from a long day and we still have groceries to put away. Jeb’s bouncing around the house, juiced up on his new shoes. I’m the task master in the kitchen, ushering Jeb into the shower, consolidating oatmeal into jars and making space in the cupboards.
I feel the tension in my body. The race with the post-bedtime clock, pressuring me to get my child to bed. I try to remind myself to be grateful for all of the food I’m putting away, rather than making it a chore that’s tiring me.
But I feel my grumpiness. I am even annoying my own self. And the Bohemian? He’s just drying dishes, unloading groceries, whistling some tune – like a Christmas carol, or “When the Saints Go Marching In” or humming some Czech tune with the only word I recognize being “krásný”, meaning “beautiful.”
In the shadow of this man so full of ease, I feel like a fool. It’s not his judgement, it’s my own. I can see him looking sideways at me, dish towel in his hand. He’s smirking just a bit and giving me those eyes. Those reminders, gentle and loving, watching me in my little tension bubble.
Ugh! God, I love him for this. And the reflection is all too painful. I just feel stuck in my funk. He wants me to laugh – it’s all absurdly silly. But I get caught, searching for my humor.
I am ridiculous in my version of “tired”, knowing the Bohemian pruned 20 foot trees in the tropical heat all day, then embarked on a shopping trip for moss-green ribbon and skate shoes. By 9:30pm, he’ll still be going, sitting down with me, fully present, sampling color schemes for our wedding invitations.
Eventually we’ll both be in bed, putting our heads on the pillow and sighing a few big sighs in the low light.
I am being pruned. Humbled. Cut down to size.
I’ll say I’m sorry. That I’m doing my best. That I want to do better.
And he’ll say, “You’re doing a lot, Jess.”
And there we are. Two people, in love, in life, in the twenty-first century.
Two freedom-lovers who have both lived on the fringe at times, owning virtually nothing, exploring the world in earnest. And now, here we are on the householder’s path seeking the way to enjoy while upholding all of our obligations.
It seems like the key to life. Enjoying, no matter what it is you’re doing. I want this. I am learning.
You could say I’m being self-depreciating. Or that maybe all this Bohemian admiration is simply because I’m smitten. Draw your own conclusions. But from my point of view it’s pretty simple.
I want to be cool. Like the Bohemian.