Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Are You Going to Jump, or Can I?

It is a common enough occurrence in our house. One of us gets home late (me, this time, after a 4 mile workout at the gym) and there's no food in the cupboard. Ok, so maybe it is more like no meals per se to prepare or we're out of groceries but don't want to go shopping. So we finally agree to go Out to dinner, the dog flings herself into the crate at the sight of Mr. Bump in a jacket, we dither about where to go and I'm waiting on him and I pick up a book and then he's waiting on me so he logs back on to his camera forum or Amazon Wishlist (just discovered and oh so fun).

So we head out the door and somewhere between home and our local Red Robin, we begin The Discussion which has been hovering in the air around our house for at least the last two years. The discussion that starts, "Are you going to jump, or can I?"

We both hate our jobs, and we both want to be able to find fulfillment in what we do every day, all day long. But we are of the belief that we need at least one paycheck to pay that pesky mortgage and keep Mr. Bump in camera equipment, me in pajamas and Ruby in kibble. Yeah, ok, so I don't have to quit my job to search for something more meaningful. But it sure would free up some time in which to do that.

I don't think I'm just being self-sacrificing and a martyr when I tell Mr. Bump that if he wants to quit, to go back to school, to try something different, that I would be willing to stay at my job for a set period of time. Lord knows my life would be easier if he were happier. But he is not willing to jump blindly into the abyss--he wants to know where he's jumping AND that he's making the right jump before he jumps. Now here is the main difference between Mr. Bump and me. I just want to jump. I feel like the longer I stand out here on this ledge (five years and counting) the more comfortable the ledge gets. The more sticky the soles of my feet get.

But here's the deal: in my estimation, if I quit, he stays, and if he quits, I stay. I mean, it just makes sense. So we're getting out of the car and he says "You don't think I'm holding you back, do you?"

I don't really answer that question.

We go in and sit down and it's bright and noisy and red and there's a very large red bird wandering around and a little girl in the booth next to us who is very interested in us. She stands quiety about 2 inches from my ear and studies us, like a new species. We get out our deck of cards and try to talk about something else. The subject is circular, and it is putting me off food. The subject leads to The Future, which leads to Children?, which leads back to the aforementioned jumping.

And even though the little girl is boring a hole in my ear, Mr. Bump shifts nervously in his seat.

I know how our relationship works. I hear about something, research it, make up my mind about it. Then I broach it with Mr. Bump. Then I have to spend some set period of time pushing him along, waiting for him to consider and mull, push a little more, and watch him come to the same conclusion I did minutes, days, weeks, months ago. I know that. I do. But some decisions you just want someone to make for you. And tell you everything is going to work out. And to hold you close or take the blame if it doesn't.

The little girl--she's maybe 2?--still isn't saying anything but I turn and smile at her and she just looks at me. I feel like she's asking me, Well, are you going to jump?

And for the life of me, I can't seem to answer her unspoken question. It is a new experience for me, not to know what's next. And it is bugging the hell out of me.

As a post script, the little girl went on to put ranch dressing in her mother's hair. The large red bird needed someone to hold his hand while going down a short flight of stairs. We went to the grocery store anyway after dinner. And Mr. Bump made crackers before we went to bed. It was a strange night and nothing was resolved, except homemade crackers are really good, even children who look sagacious can be savage, and not even the big red bird can see what steps are next.

(wasn't that cute how I was able to tie it all up?)


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