Monday, January 07, 2008

old flames, and love in the kitchen

I've been away. Quite possibly this fact has gone unnoticed by all, but nevertheless - I've been away!

While away I spoke on the phone to my friend C. W. Woo. He had news of a fellow I dated for a few years. This Fellow I Dated (who from now on shall be referred to as 'FID') and I were only young at the time, but we were quite serious for awhile there. FID and I were youthfully, naively certain we were in love. In truth I think we were mostly in love with the concept of having a steady girlfriend/boyfriend. In any case, that was a long time ago (17 years, to be precise). We grew apart, we broke up, and although I have some fond memories, I also have plenty of memories to remind me how unsuited FID and I were to each other.

FID is now a politician. He is a member of parliament in another state. He is, in fact, a Minister for Rhubarb and Codswallop (can't get too specific here, for fear he, or someone he knows, discovers this blog!). He is married, with children. I have spoken to him a handful of times since we split up - always on friendly terms, but never with much sense of connection. We have taken different pathways in life; we have differing priorities.

Not so long ago, FID telephoned me at work, wanting to meet for coffee. He was in my city for an important meeting. He sounded lonely and wistful. He wanted to meet that day, despite the fact that I was at work. He seemed strangely unable to grasp the fact that I couldn't simply drop everything and come to see him. "Don't you have have any spare appointment times?", he queried persistently. "I'm meeting Neil & Ruth for dinner, then I have to fly home tomorrow".

I politely explained that I was fully booked, and had appointments scheduled all day. I suggested that maybe next time he was going to be in town, he could let me know in advance!

"Oh, right", he sighed. He seemed to grasp about listlessly for conversation. "So, you're working as a GP then?".

"Yes. I work two days a week", I explained. "It's good. I really enjoy it".

"So...... are you going to specialise?", FID asked.

I felt a rising irritation. Why do so many people assume that GPs are failed specialists? It's insulting, especially to those of us who thought long and hard before choosing general practice as our life's vocation, and to those of us who have done the post-graduate degree in general practice.

I took a deep breath. "No, " I replied patiently. "I like working as a GP. I don't want to look at eyes all day, or hearts, or skin. I like seeing whole families; I like trying to figure out what is wrong with patients of all ages, from all walks of life." Inwardly, I wondered if the question he'd asked was entirely innocent. After all, I have been working as a GP for more than ten years. If I was planning on specialising, surely I would have done so by now. Perhaps FID felt I should have done something more spectacular with my life, like, say, become a renowned brain surgeon, or maybe a Nobel-prize-winning physicist, or ...... a Minister for Something Important?

"Oh, right", FID murmured, disinterested. We talked a few more minutes, and then I had to excuse myself to call my next patient.

That night I told my husband Fatty of the conversation. We marvelled at the social ineptitude of this 'politician', this 'man of the people'. Because although I believe FID to be a good man, with honourable intentions and strong principles, I don't think he is man who truly likes people in a general sense. I think he likes some select people, but I don't get a sense of him caring about we Australians, all us 'great unwashed'. It seems he respects high achievers more than people in general. And if his words to me that day were any indication, he doesn't always stop to consider how his comments may affect others.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I'm not really annoyed with FID anymore. The more I think about it the more I feel a bit sorry for him. Our mutual friend tells me FID has no friends to speak of. He hinted that all was not well in FID's marriage. And all FID talks about is his next step up the political ladder.

Once FID told me that the worst thing about being a polititian was having to listen to his constituents talk, whilst pretending to be interested in them. If only he knew how that remark made me cringe. I pictured all those men and women, earnestly expressing their hopes and fears, with FID nodding seriously, as he inwardly wondered whether to have a pie or a smoked salmon bagel for lunch.

My husband doesn't address auditoriums full of people, he doesn't wear snazzy suits, he barely manages to get a haircut 4 times a year. He does not grace the pages of the newspaper and he's uncomfortable at parties. Yet he's kind and respectful to all, and never hints that I am anything less than what he's always dreamed of. He is the kind of man I imagined loving. And, here he is, right now, in our kitchen, loading the dishwasher. I need to go kiss him this minute.....


mackeydoodle said...

I loved the ending to that!

I run into my ex every now & again....let me just say I spoil me hubby extra on those days;)

Susan said...

Well it certainly seems like you made the right choice! Have a great day!

Texas2Tennessee said...

What a warm affirmation that we can love the one we're with, the one we've chosen. Blessings to you and Fatty.

Kerri said...

It's fascinating to look back at the old flames (or sometimes embarrassing in a 'what was I thinking?' way!).
I'm glad you ended up with a mate you can respect, cherish, love, and appreciate for his excellent characteristics.
Happy 'everafter' Jelly :)

Redneck Mommy said...

What a lovely tribute to your husband this post turned out to be.

Nice work Jelly.

Sad about your FID. I know a few blokes like him (women too) and my heart hurts for them.

shellyC said...

...are you still kissing him?????

I think there are quite a few politicians who are like FID and cannot relate to all kinds of people. I was very impressed when a friend told me she was gardening and her local member was doing a letter box drop himself. She said he stopped and chatted to her for half an hour. Can't imagine FID ever doing that.

fifi said...

oh, you lovely, lucky thing...that last bit made tears well up. Arent you lucky??

Of course you have a gorgeous husband!

(The ex sounds a nightmare...I've been amusing myself trying to guess who it is...ha ha.)

freefalling said...

It's funny isn't it?
You don't know what you don't know.
Until you are with the right one, you don't realize how wrong the wrong one is. Although, you must have had an inner voice telling you to flee!
Lots of people don't.

Politicians.....hmmmmm.....they've always confused me. I reckon it would be one of the worst jobs in the world. My friend at uni-his dad was a state poli - he was never home - he spent his life with strangers and I found him really weird.
Dad's friend was a minister in Howard's government - when asked by a journalist for a comment on the recent election loss - he said "I never comment on politics"!!!??!!!
I think they have to please so many people that they lose themselves - look at Peter Garrett.

I reckon it is a shame more doctors don't choose to become GP's - it is so hard to find a good one in the city and when you do they are seriously overbooked coz everyone loves them.

thisisme said...

I was wondering where you were - it is lovely to have you back.

Reading that, all I could feel for FID was pity. Imagine having the privilege of dealing with different people each day and not enjoying it. What a sad life.

I loved the ending though!

Sandy said...

Yes! You need to give Fatty lots & lots of kisses.

Sometimes we don't fully realize what a wonderful fella we have until we run into an old flame.

GP's are the heart & soul of physicians. I wish there were more of them. I get so tired of having to run to different doctors for different parts of my body. We have one GP in town and he's a wonderful caring person. He was so loved that he was elected the Mayor of our town for many years and did both jobs very well.

Remiman said...

You are indead a specialist; You have insight and you care about people! That's a rarity you know?

I was a politician for 14 years. Had to quit 'cause I believed in democracy and giving my constituents a voice. My co-politicians took offense at that approach.
You chose well....duh, am I surprised?
Oh, Happy New Year to youze guys too. ;)

meggie said...

Another wonderful post Jelly!

That is SO how I feel about people.

Doesn't FID realise most Specialists have the social grace of Idi Amin!

Mimi said...

Interesting story Jelly. Sounds like FID is a real politician. I have always suspected that they really don't care what their constituents want, they just pretend to. As for being a GP we have the same situation here in the states where Drs are pushed into being specialists which I don't think helps anyone. I wish I could see my kid's pediatrician, I like her much better than my own doc.I would prefer a family practice doctor but don't really want to leave the girls doctor.


Stomper Girl said...

I really enjoyed this post!

I'm so glad you chose your husband and not FID (and also, may I say, delighted that you refer to him so disrespectfully as Fatty.) He sounds like an absolute keeper and he unloads the dishwasher too. Gotta love a domesticated man.

I look back on my last boyfriend -a serious relationship that lasted for a good 5 years- and wonder what I was thinking. With age comes wisdom.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Meeting up with old FID's sure make us appreciate what we have. Maybe not all the time, but in your case and in my own, it does.

Well, I'd have missed you being away if I'd been online, Jelly. I look forward to your comments.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and that 2008 is all you wish it to be.

Heidi said...

This is such a cool story! And, I agree, it turned out to be a wonderful tribute to your husband. How lucky you are to notice all of this to to have had the experiences you did to put you where you are now.

Indeed, blessings to you and Fatty!

Alipurr said...

pretty cool post, loved the ending
poltician guy seems a little disconnected with how most people live in the world

thank God He gave you a wonderful hubby!

TUFFENUF said...

I have gone to the same GP for 20 years now. I am hoping that he will NEVER retire! Why is it that when you have found your dream job, that others will push you to "go further"? Once you are happy with what you are doing- you should always stay right there. FID sounds like a status seeker. Change his name to "RID" and be done with him for good. Don't be available next time he is in town.