WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
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Dating

By Erma P. Sanders · July 12th, 2001 · Diva
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Many moons ago my boyfriend, Ed, and I went to Disney World in Orlando. It was my first visit, and I was so excited. If I recall correctly it was at his insistence that we take his camera. Of course, I was in charge of actually taking all of the photographs. I used up a roll of 48 exposures. The next day he asked me to take the film to be developed. Being that I have an almost Amish-like fear of technology, I exposed the film in my attempt to rewind it. Long story short, the only photo not ruined was one of a kangaroo in the parking lot.

Ed was beyond pissed. Somehow, the fact that I didn't record these moments for posterity ruined our trip in his mind. I had plenty mementos of the trip -- a necklace he bought me, a deflated Mickey Mouse balloon -- and all the memories in the best camera of all, my mind. His attitude was a glaring example of what irritates me in relationships: When recording the relationship becomes more important than the relationship itself.

I'm all for saving souvenirs. At a whim. I've taken menus, made sure to shove tickets in the bottom of my purse so I won't lose them and jumped into a photo kiosk at the movie theater.

They are afterthoughts. For every date I've been on, I certainly didn't save something. Indeed, my most favorite date of all time, when Mafia John took me to dinner in Michigan, bears no physical evidence it took place. I had no camera. There's no menu. There's nothing except the exquisitely detailed memory in my head.

The only reason I was even thinking about this topic is my current man asked me if I remembered what we had for an appetizer on our first date. I remember a lot of things about that evening. I remember what he was wearing, but not what I had on. I remember where we ate, but not what. I was too busy enjoying myself to be taking notes, because I sure as hell didn't know I was going to be quizzed five years after the fact.

You and your mate probably won't realize the special moments in your relationship are special until the occasion is over. I think dates and even vacations are ruined by carrying a camera, because you're so busy trying to record the joy that you forget to actually experience it.

It's sure a lot more special to find a token of an experience than to make an effort beforehand. My scrapbook has a candy wrapper and a crumpled napkin from the Bahi Hut where a college beau, Jon T., took me for my first legal drink. These were items I just happened to shove in my pocket and discover later before they were laundered. A crumpled napkin that actually invokes the memory of that delicious Mai Tai and Jon T.'s dimpled smile is a lot more meaningful than a conscious effort to have neatly folded the same cocktail napkin.

I do have a little romance in my heart. I won't think less of you if you carry around a pair of scissors or a disposable camera just in case something irresistible happens that you must savor. Just don't let it get in the way of enjoying your relationship. And a token might make you remember something you'd rather forget. But that kangaroo photograph doesn't make me remember my Disney World trip -- it makes me think of what an angry, irrational asshole Ed was.

 
 
 
 

 

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