The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. – Martin Luther King, Jr
It was very good of God to let Carlyle and Mrs Carlyle marry one another, and so make only two people miserable and not four. – Samuel Butler, on the union of Thomas Carlyle and Jane Welsh, 1826
This cool, false fall morning, I made my usual rounds through the blog neighborhood: Welder to Breadtruck to Weaverfin to facebook, staking claim along the way with comments like a dog marking territory. I read other blogs, but this is the core group that got me started, and I like to keep a ghostly presence haunting each with support or sarcasm or not-so-smart funnybombs.
I toasted two pieces of anadama bread, then sliced cold butter on top before returning them to the toaster oven for a secondary crisping/melt. Then I used up the last of the strawberry jelly we bought at the market where the russian accented lady is forever reminding, “Kale in cooler!” On the second piece of toast I applied the blueberry preserve gifted to us in hobbit fashion by the intriguing Mz. Shapz.
Ample toast in one hand, coffee in the other, I climbed the stairs to contribute breakfast to the traditional Saturday morning layabout time. Morning LT is precious and Hot Sauce tends to get grouchy if I neglect it in favor of its dreaded rival, solitary laptop time.
As I walked into the room I could tell Sauce was only pretending to still be sleeping. Her mouth was shaped in the same little “o” I’d seen when she was truly sleeping earlier, as if she was dreaming sweet dreams of yuletide caroling. The giveaway was the glasses and the book on her chest. She could only hold the act a few seconds before arching one eye open and tightening the “o” into a grin.
Sauce has been known to sleep in her glasses, but she typically casts them casually out into the darkness before shutting off the lamp. Where they land is always a mystery, but I think she enjoys the peril of waking up in a place where one false groggy step could cost us $400.
Sauce was pleased with the toast and my return to bed, but her satisfaction was diminished when she realized I’d polished off the blueberry and was halfway through the strawberry before remembering it was a shared breakfast.
“Want another bite? Ummm… you can finish the rest!” I tried to sound upbeat as I handed her my leftovers.
“Hey, it hurts my feelings when you don’t share,” she whined in her best sad kid voice.
Really, I was as surprised as she was. I’d just wanted to try both of the delicious jellies, but I’d been on auto-feed and the power of my vacuum was stronger that I realized.
Ada in her deeper, semi-kidding conspirator voice, “Don’t you know equality is the shaky foundation we’ve built our marriage on?”
Sure, I responded. But you have to take a look at the bigger picture. You can’t zoom in on each transaction atop and orbiting around the marriage bed. I may have eaten 3/4 or our breakfast and sipped 7/8th of this shared coffee, but who’s wearing the $40 Walmart spectacles and who’s constantly endangering her fantastically expensive frames designed in France and hand assembled by nimble euro-elves fed an exclusive diet of organic duck liver and carbon-neutral champaign?
It all balances out in the full arc of a marriage built on love and respect, right?
Sure, she responded. But you have to narrow down the picture a little bit. Nothing gets resolved when you’re always panning out to this full arc nonsense. Focus just a little bit, Man! You ate all the toast!
That’s the problem with relationships, and politics or science or media. It’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to get a clear perspective on our longer arc through the universe. As a guarded optimist, I tend to agree with MLK, who paraphrased Theodore Parker’s sermon from a century before, in a hopeful view of our trajectory. Obama took up the thread in his inauguration speech and spoke of the aerobics of compassion we each need to perform to bow that curve a little faster.
There was only one solution to this morning’s inequities. I activated the Peacemaker and blended up an offerring of almond milk, frozen banana, and cashew butter for deposit into the great marital ledger.
I’m contractually obligated through unspoken vows to maintain and operate the peacemaker. Ada is allowed to critique the blended outcome mercilessly without ever toggling the on/off or high/low switches herself.
In exchange, she manages all swiffing technologies.
And the great arc bends onward, the two of us hanging together from it, tugging away.