Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life As a Personal Aide: Transitions

Just when I think yet another stupid comment could not possibly come our way, yet another one does. Over the past 6+ years, Ruth and I have made lots of lemonade out of these lemons. We've worked up a number of dark comedy routines about how people view our relationship. One of my favorites involves me whimpering:

"Why can't I be the inspiration and you be the saint?"

I feel compelled to mention this because my impending move to Baltimore seems to be generating an inordinate number of insensitive remarks, although it would be difficult for me to quantify an "inordinate number" given how many routinely come our way.

Coming my way are comments like, "What are you going to do about Ruth?" ─ as if Ruth wasn't a smart, resourceful, independent woman despite her physical inability to make cut up food, scoop kitty litter, and turn pages.

Coming Ruth's way are comments like, "What are you going to do without Meredith?" ─ as if I wasn't entitled to have a separate life despite my tendency to become fiercely loyal to friends. Tonight I found out someone actually lobbed this at Ruth, "Did you finally wear Meredith out?"

No, Ruth didn't finally wear me out. If anything, it would be the other way around because over the years, Ruth has become one of my most dear and trusted friends. I've come to rely on her compassion, faith, wisdom and good humor as much, if not more than she relies on my mobility and dexterity.

What wears me out is the failure of others to recognize: 1) how our relationship has become more nuanced over time; and 2) how challenging this transition might be for both of us. Fortunately, I was able to use this latest inanity to launch into another one of my favorite riffs, resulting in this back channel exchange with Ruth via Twitter:

"Have I mentioned lately how much I hate everyone...except you?"

"Actually...not for about ten days."