I think I’ve written here before about my obsession with series of things. This is down to some minor obsessive compulsive behaviour – among other things, I am compelled to count similarly-shaped objects, as long as they all follow the same orientation, meaning that shelves of books or videos represent a particular danger to me.
If I find a series of something that I like, books, films, TV or cartoons, I am compelled to read or watch as much of it as I can. And it doesn’t stop there – there’s a good reason that I have all of Johnny Cash’s American series.
This can be rather frustrating. For a start, catching up on a series if I come to it late can be an enormous investment of time (The Order of the Stick and XKCD are a case in point), and keeping up with it thereafter can be a hassle.
Another reason for my frustration is with TV. We have Virgin for our TV, broadband and phone. They operate a service called “On Demand”, which allows you to watch programmes broadcast in the past week, as well as films, and TV series from channels such as HBO, Warner, Paramount Comedy and so on. This has enabled me to watch far too much Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as catching up on some old favourites like Red Dwarf. Unfortunately, new instalments of various series seem to come rather randomly; I watched the first four episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles back to back a couple of weeks ago, and to my annoyance, no new ones have been forthcoming since then.
One of the series I’ve been watching recently has been The Mind of the Married Man, which originally aired on HBO in 2006. It basically focuses on Micky Barnes (played by Mike Binder) and his relationship with his wife, which is notably rocky, and his relationships with his friends, which are easy-going and trouble-free. Up to now, I’ve seen five episodes, and am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series.
Micky seems to always be getting in trouble with his wife, Donna (Sonya Walger); neither one of them seems to make much effort or be too content in their marriage, and he feels dissatisfied and sexually-frustrated. Out of a warped sense of fidelity and honour, Micky doesn’t sleep around, unlike his friend Jake, despite being near-obsessively drawn his assistant, Missy (Ivana Milicevic).
A large part of the series focuses on Micky and Donna’s problems, many of them involving sex, their mutual inability to understand each other and the fact that they increasingly seem to have less and less in common.
One of earlier episodes, Time on the Lake, sees Micky and Donna feeling restless after their married friends all reveal that they have joint hobbies which involve spending time together followed by great sex; Doug and Carol go deer hunting, Jake and Bianca go antiquing together, but Micky and Donna don’t seem to do anything together.
After several abortive attempts to get some kind of hobby going, including buying guns and going antiquing, they realise that they originally started going out because they liked to hang out together, and that they both love to just lie around in bed and read.
This is kind of what I’m getting at with this post. My wife and I are homebodies. We don’t go out dancing or go bar hopping. In the limited time we’ve been able to spend with each other over the years, our best times have been spent just laying around reading. We stay in bed, and cuddle, and absent-mindedly kiss in between pages. It’s one of the things I miss when we’re apart, and one of the things I like most when we’re together.
When we’re not able to be together, one of the things we seem to enjoy most is getting into discussions about… well, more or less anything, and talking and analysing and discussing that subject for hours.
What I also want to say is that even if you argue, even if you have problems, you can get past it. If you love each other, and can spend a little time doing what you enjoy together, no problem is completely insurmountable. And yes, I know that’s of a simplistic viewpoint, that most marriages and relationships are more complex than that, and that many problems are insurmountable… But not in my marriage.
My wife and I love each other, and we enjoy spending time together quietly. Everything else is window-dressing to that; those two things are sufficient and enough.
I’m struggling here because I don’t know how to get it out properly; all I can say is that I fell in love with someone who turned out to be the best friend I ever had, and she’s all that I could ever need in a companion and lover.
Dedicated to my wife, for ever and always.