My husband is a card-carrying member of the increasingly-expanding club of air commuters – men and women who get up at the crack of dawn to catch the first flight up, down or sideways to wherever their offices are situated, forsaking health and sanity and missing literally hundreds of water polo matches, parent teacher conferences, football games, cigar nights, high fevers and broken limbs, to provide for their families. It is a noble club, a driven club, and a club with which, no doubt, members want to frequently beat themselves senseless.
As the appreciative wife, my job is to make my husband’s bacon-making experience as positive as possible. I have therefore, modeled myself on a hybrid of two sassy cinematic icons – Samantha Stephens of Bewitched and Miss Moneypenny of Bond fame. Like Samantha, I’ve got a cocktail in hand for my beleaguered Darrin as he trudges in from a long day (well, commute) at the office. Like Moneypenny, I anticipate James’ needs with professionalism, determination and suggestive innuendo (and a tweed pencil skirt when needed – my husband is British, after all).
My husband commutes from LA to San Francisco two nights each week, a little arrangement we call The San Francisco Shuffle. Tuesday mornings he’s up and out at an hour that should only be experienced by coyotes or 20-somethings on their way home from a debauched evening out. He drives to the airport, catches the first flight to Oakland, jumps on a bus, transfers to the BART and walks the last couple of blocks to arrive at the office generally by 9:30 AM. He leaves the office around 6:30 that evening and walks the two miles to his hotel, where he’ll grab a sandwich on the fly, check into his room, pull out his computer and work some more before he passes out from the sheer physical momentum of his day. He’s up Wednesday morning by 5:00 to get in a quick run before heading back into the office at 7:00 AM. Refer to Tuesday for the rest of the day’s activities. Ditto Thursday with the exception that after work, he does the commute in reverse, landing on our doorstep about 9:00 PM and looking as listless as a drag queen’s boa the morning after Mardi Gras.
In my role as Samantha, I let him know I appreciate his efforts, make sure he always comes home to a clean house and a stiff drink, and try to get myself into all sort of zany hijinks to keep him amused – certainly never bored – God forbid. As Moneypenny, I schedule his appointments, organize his travel, and generally make sure he has what he needs when he’s away. I make sure his mileage account is up to date and his hotel check-in process accomplished in the time it takes for him to reach out his hand for his room key. If he has to so much as break his stride while passing the registration desk, I feel I have not done my job.
Welcome to the modern spin on relationships. As if they aren’t difficult enough, we now have to combat the logistical challenges of dueling domiciles – of bi-metropolitan marriages. Not for the faint of heart in any sense, least of all, love, for your partner. We are going on year six of this lifestyle, or should I say, workstyle. I joke and attribute our happy marriage to regular bouts of personal space, off-set with frequent decompression holidays in which lifting a glass of wine while sitting on a beach in St Barts borders on expending too much effort. We are very lucky that his job is good and his brilliance is recognized and valued by more people than just his mum and me. For my part, as long as I can help diminish the pain of his commute – in a gentle, morphine drip sort of a way – with a twitch of my nose and a hint of suggestive efficiency, he can continue going about his business of comfortably setting the world on fire and I can bask in the embers’ glow.