Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Heightened awareness of patterns. That's what I'm in the midst of right now. Some patterns, I'm always aware of. [I know, you're thinking to yourself, or perhaps even saying aloud, "What the hell is she rambling on about now?]

When I'm screwing around with my checkbook, I always pay attention when the cents is divisible by 10. "Oh, look, it's 90 cents." "Hey, there's a 00 cents. Isn't that cool how the two numbers made a double-ought?" [Okay, yeah, I almost never use the term "double-ought" in any conversation, with myself or with others.]

Since college, I've been fascinated by how frequently I see the number 42. Whenever I happen upon it -- on a jersey, in my checkbook, on a bill, in the kids' homework, etc. -- I think to myself, "42!" I even have a funky way of pronouncing it, aloud or in my head, emphasizing the "2" as if it's in boldface. 4-2!

I can't be the only one who notices these things. You know the saying about things happening in threes? Deaths. Crashes. Children. [Okay, not so much the last one.]

Time out, folks. I'm being frivolous here. This is not about frivolity. This is about sadness, really. I guess I'm masking it with humor.

I was outside preparing boatloads of donated printer cartridges to be sent off to the Cartridges for Kids program I've started at the younger kids' school. My next door neighbor arrived, and we greeted each other. Then he climbed the little hill between our two homes and we exchanged further meaningless exchanges of information.

"I'm sure you've spoken to H.," he said. "H." is his wife.

"Oh, I saw her for the first time in ages just the other day. I told her I never see her."

"We're getting a divorce," he said.




Two boys, they have. One is 13 and one is 15. They are good boys. Their parents are unbelievably hard workers. She's a house cleaner. He's a handyman. They work non-stop. And when they're not working, they're taking the older boy to his soccer games or practices or they're doing something else with the younger one.

They are not natives. He's from El Salvador. She's from Mexico, of German and Mexican heritage. They've lived in the U.S. for a very long time. He came up in '84. She emigrated here just a couple of years later. They both put family first. It means a lot to them. And I guess his need to care for his siblings has been one of the big bones of contention.

I told A. that I was really sorry, really sad. I told him that, regardless if they both want it, regardless if they both need it, regardless if it's inevitable, it still must be very hard for them. And very hard for the boys. He talked a tough game, but his dampening eyes said he already knows all this.

None of us knows what really goes on behind closed doors, unless we're behind said doors. Outward appearances are really just that: appearances. That said, they've always seemed to be a foursome with such cohesiveness, with such single-mindedness to work hard together.

Another family ripped apart. Another divorce. An awful pattern I'm seeing nowadays.


Kelly O said...

Aw, that's really sad. But it's awesome that you were able to be supportive and say something so perfectly nonjudgmental and sympathetic. I always fumble at that.

the pawnbroker said...

well, if it's any consolation, as the x/o divorce rate continues to climb, the bright side is x/x and o/o marriages there in sf have reversed the overall rate for ca...if you can call that a bright side; not that there's anything wrong with that...

Sian said...

Weird about the 42. I am exactly the same. But then, it is the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything...

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

The timing of this is uncanny. I have a post in draft about the same thing. 2 of our good friends (WHOM ARE EVEN RETIRED) are divorcing.

At least you DID have something of comfort to say. I was left speechless and shocked.

And for the record, I would never ask "What the hell is she rambling on about now?". If you call this rambling, I'm in deep.

Maria said...

I'm always stunned by how often it is the couples who seem (on the outside) to have the most stable marriages who go and get divorced. It sort of shakes up the system for a while, yes?

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D... said...

Ah, the boys. It's going to be so hard for them. I am sad too.


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