out of the house as a couple
Wednesday, October 10 2012
Gretchen and I hadn't gone out together as a couple since Sally died, so tonight we went to La Florentina, our favorite local Italian restaurant (which lives in an ugly strip mall along Albany Avenue near the most craptastic part of Kingston). We went a little on the late side and had our usual dishes: a salad, a pasta, and a special red cabbage calzone called the "Sformato Di Sotai." That last one usually comes with the tahini already poured onto its beating red heart of cabbage, but today for some reason the tahini came as a side. Gretchen found the pasta disappointing, but this was partly because it was built around penne (her least-favorite shape, though she had to pick it because all the others turned out to be non-vegan). It was also an eggplant pasta, and because of her aversion to that plant, she picked out all those cubes of deliciousness (which were what made it for me). We also shared a half-litre of the house Montepulciano wine; we might have split a whole litre were it not for the scare from Ray's recent DUI problems (coupled with the fact that I actually was pulled over by a state trooper the other night).
Over dinner we found ourselves discussing a number of things, including what to make of Liza, our houseguest. Soon after making the delightful discovery that this person Liza had become a vegan, Gretchen had offered her one of our guest rooms as a place to stay (to make it easier for her to get to classes at Marist College during the week; she lives in Sullivan County). But since this arrangement began, we've been underwhelmed by how few and modest Liza's spontaneous contributions to our household have been. While she freely raids our refrigerator and freezer (as Gretchen told her she could), she rarely does things for us (such as washing the dishes or preparing a meal). Gretchen is stuck in a peculiar socio-emotional place on this one: she likes to be generous while disliking the feeling of being exploited. I said that it wasn't likely that Liza's behavior would change; people's generosity or compulsion to contribute are pretty much fixed. You can guilt-trip them into giving beyond this, of course, but then they will feel resentful. And over time they will gradually drift back to the modest contributory levels dictated by their innate set points. Perhaps, I suggested, we should find an excuse for why Liza can't stay with us next semester.
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