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Jewish Journal

Two Is Greater Than One

by J.D. Smith

June 20, 2002 | 8:00 pm

"Life," a sage old woman once told me, "is about loss." Sad but true, folks. We lose our hair, our eyesight, our hearing, our quickness, our strength, our friends, our families.

Every 10 years or so, we lose our innocence all over again. We lose a little something every day. We soldier on. I lost my freedom recently, and I couldn't be happier about it.

I got together with my girlfriend, Alison, about five months ago. In so doing, I dropped all the other potatoes I'd been juggling, not unlike the Lakers trading five journeymen players to get Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from Milwaukee in 1975. Alison, in my opinion, is a franchise player. This is someone you can build a team around.

Unfortunately, in the bargain, I have written myself into a corner. Alison is pretty swell, and the relationship is lovely, but this is supposed to be a "singles" column, and the deeper we get into our thing, the less I can say with out shooting myself in the foot. Now, I find that anything I say can be used against me.

From time to time I think it might be funny to write about her myriad idiosyncrasies. I'm keeping track of them because we may get into a big fight some day and I'll need to be able to change the subject, shift the theater of battle from what I suspect will be the subject -- "the bad thing I did" -- onto something else. If this seems unfair, consider that I have no other options, no Plan B, except to try to keep her off-balance.

For example, she gets cold easily. This means there is precious little driving-around with the convertible top down. As if that wasn't bad enough, she doesn't like loud music. I find myself driving alone with the top down, the heat on and the volume turned up to "11" on the way to our dates, then adjusting my behavior accordingly as soon as I get to her place. Of course it's not all bad. Her getting cold means that I occasionally get to warm her up, using the tried and true "shared bodily warmth" method.

She goes to bed early. As faults go, I suppose this is better than, say, kleptomania or bulimia, but there's no support group to help her cure this problem. On the other hand, her going to bed early means that occasionally I am early to rise, more healthy, wealthy and wise. And, I don't know if you're aware of this, but sunrises are lovely to behold. Similarly, her commitment to personal hygiene tends to remind me of my own position vis à vis godliness.

That's not all. She leaves the lights on. She's a big light leaver-oner. I have to follow her from room to room reminding her that my last name is not Edison. She tried to slough this off until I presented her with irrefutable evidence: my latest utility bill was $6 more than the month before we met. J'accuse!

She has no sense of direction. None. She starts out lost. You could give her a map, a compass and typed instructions for a city that's laid out in a grid -- anywhere outside of West Los Angeles, actually -- and she'd slowly work her way back into the dark of the jungle. She's not even close. (There is one exception to this foible, however: Italian leather goods are like magnetic north to her. She could navigate by the stars to find a pair of Sigerson-Morrisons on sale -- it's amazing.)

She doesn't like it when I don't shave. Pity. I like not shaving. She doesn't mind the look but says it hurts her delicate face. I wouldn't complain if she had a two-day beard. I think I'd be very understanding if the shoe was on the other foot, or the beard on the other face. I might like her better if she was a teeny-weeny bit more like that girl on "Alias," who seems to go for the scruffy guys. (Not, as anyone will tell you, that I am so fabulous to begin with, but Alison points out that she would like me better if I was ever so slightly more like Sting.)

I put all of this to a blue-ribbon panel of my friends one evening. Michael, an anthropologist, said, "That's a tough one, Jeff. I don't know if I've ever heard of such a complex, thorny conundrum, but it seems to me you've just described something we call 'a woman.' And, if that's the case, I wish you a lot of luck."

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