Ayako is going out of town for two weeks. She has a new job and for that new job, she is doing a lot of international travel. South Korea and Singapore this month. Japan and the Netherlands next month. Ayako is a CPA and I have two English degrees, so to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what she does for a living except that it involves math.
Also, to be totally honest, I’m not completely sure I believe Ayako when she claims to be an accountant, because I’m not sure why an accountant would need to travel to such exotic locales so frequently for work. The only other person I know who does that for work is James Bond, so it’s entirely possible we’re in some sort of True Lies/Mr. and Mrs. Smith plot here, and I am the hapless, bumbling husband, totally unaware that my wife is an international super-spy until the day I get gunned down by The Russians. I am confident enough in our love, though, to feel sure that Ayako would avenge me with brutal and unrelenting violence, so there’s that.
Whatever her reasons, Ayako will be out of town for two weeks. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if she’ll be in Singapore to inspect financial documents, or (more likely) to prevent an ancient and powerful ninja clan from building a Space Laser. What matters is that I will miss her dearly for those two weeks. Also, I may self-destruct, just like the mission briefings Ayako probably gets in her secret underground lair.
Living with another person, you see, forces me to be a decent human being. It’s not just that I’m sharing my life and living space with someone whom I love deeply, it’s also that my actions and decisions will usually be known to another person, a person who both loves me deeply and also does not at all take me seriously. For instance, if Ayako comes home and all I have eaten for dinner is a bag of chips, then she will understandably look at me, and the crumpled bag, askance. However, if Ayako is out of town, then there is no possibility of future shame to prevent me from eating a bag of chips for dinner, or breakfast.
Now, before I self-deprecate too much, let me say that I generally am pretty good at keeping it together and being a responsible, reasonable human being. Until she got the new job, I did the lion’s share of the housework, since Ayako’s hours, especially this time of year, were insane and mine are pretty normal. Laundry, dishes, floors, trash, dusting, were my arena, and we usually more or less split the cooking duties. I am all over that business.
But with Ayako gone for two weeks, that all goes out the until-now very clean window. There will be nothing stopping me but my deeply underdeveloped and futile sense of shame from spending my evenings eating an entire large pizza and watching the endless run of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on ABC Family, with commercials, even though I have the damned DVD five feet from me but am too lazy to get it. In other words, nothing is stopping me from doing that and that is already my plan for Friday evening. I put it on my calendar.
I expect that, by the time Ayako returns from her “business trip,” the apartment will be in a state of affairs normally only associated with Ankor Watt and freshmen dorms. The windows will be gone. Pizza boxes and unidentifiable debris will be strewn (a word I don’t use lightly) across the floor. The toilet will be held together primarily by duct tape. The stove will be held together primarily by the solidified and radioactive orange remains of an Instant Mac-and-Cheese making attempt gone terribly wrong. There will be squirrels, raccoons, and at least three different species of bird living with me in the ruined shell of our home. The TV will be on QVC, and the volume will be turned all the way up.
At best, I will be able to prolong this personal descent into human ruin for a few days, but with Ayako gone for two weeks, it’s an inevitability. I already feel guilty, and I feel bad that Ayako will have to deal with that after getting back from a tough two weeks of infiltrating and destroying an international criminal syndicate.
It’s hard out there for an international super-spy, but sometimes, when you’re married to me, it can be even tougher when you get back home.