Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Significant Other or Brain Spasm

The Photo Tuesday theme for this week is "Significant Other", but I don't have one. I could post another picture of Nyssa, then or now; or I could make a collage of all six cats, but I don't think this is what they had in mind. So, just like my Sunday School class parties where we were to bring "our husbands", I will just pass this week.

Instead, I've decided to post about my ex-significant other, although it is not so much about him as it is about one of those moments in time that is so totally burned into your brain you can't forget even if you want to. We've all had them, some more often than others, those times when a thought comes into your head and out your mouth in a microsecond without ever being routed through the mental processing center. What processing center, you ask? You know, the one which weighs the impact of your thought on others, maybe refines the wording so as not to offend or deletes those 'bad' words you are thinking in the heat of the moment. It is that processing center that keeps a lot of us out of trouble when we have disagreements with bosses, spouses, children and in-laws. Unfortunately, or comically at times, it doesn't always work. We get a short circuit or a brain spasm of sorts.

Background: My ex-husband is an engineer. Ok, I know that it really burns him up to be called that, that's why I did it. (no brain cramp here) He has a Ph.D. in Physics and is in to all things technical. He had his pilot's license and once owned a small Cessna pilot trainer plane. He saw the movie "Altered States" and built himself an isolation float tank in his garage; using hundreds of pounds of Epsom salts which brings to mind pictures of dump trucks and house high mounds of salt, but I digress.

Then he delved into 'meditation'. Riley, one of his friends, was deep into 'meditation' and was taking, I guess you could call it a 'course' in levitation. Yes, he was trying to learn how to levitate, without much success to that point. Riley got my ex into the group. He (the ex) spent a lot of money taking his girlfriend to 'meditation weekends', was given a mantra and actually had a 'meditation instructor' whom he consulted with often. All of this was after the divorce, except the girlfriend, she was before the separation.

Even though we were well past a year into the divorce and he had 'other' human interests, he still felt the need to call me almost every week. He talked about his feelings of seeing his dead ancestors as he floated in the isolation tank. He talked about his sessions with the meditation group and that so far the levitation consisted of scrunching up and squeezing the buttocks so that when relaxed they would produce a little 'hop'. He would talk and talk and talk and I would either listen, SILENTLY, or occasionally say, "UmmHmm" or even put the phone down and go wash a few dishes, only to come back and hear him still talking. I usually had nothing to say back.

Story: One day the phone rings (before I finally got call waiting) and it is my ex. He wants to talk. "How are you?" "Fine" "What are you doing?" "Working (as if it were any of your business now)", and so forth. Note, my answers are the one word type and the words in parenthesis were processed out before I spoke. He continued talking about his work, his meditation weekends, Riley, Stacey (the girlfriend and don't ask me why, I don't know), and other fluff.

Suddenly he made one simple short statement that I will never forget: " I went flying with my meditation instructor yesterday." That's it. Nothing really unusual. Short, sweet, no excitement, just a flat statement.

And here is where my brain spasm came in, where the thought came into my head and out my mouth in a microsecond, bypassing that ever so important processing center. My reply? "With or without the airplane."

Again, my reply was short, flat, to the point and said matter-of-factly without any emotion whatsoever. But another millisecond later when my thought had finally fully processed in my head, the whole concept struck me as very funny; meditation instructor, levitation, flying. I then dissolved into peals of laughter over the phone; side splitting, stomach holding, body shaking laughter that you cannot suppress. I couldn't stop.

Have you ever read the comic strip, The Born Loser? In one of these, the husband reads the paper and says, "Did you know that every time I breathe out, someone dies?" The wife barely looks up from her knitting to reply, "Have you ever thought of trying a good mouthwash?" The next three frames show her laughing hysterically and the cloud over his head and smoke out of his ears billowing up. The last frame has her, still chuckling, look at him and say, "Hmm, Sorry."

It was that kind of moment, only over the phone, but you could see steam coming from the receiver. All I could do was say, "Hmm, Sorry" and hang up.

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