This summer I’m dragging my wife to the Golden Crown Literary Society conference in Las Vegas. She’s never been to Vegas. Probably because she hates to travel. In all fairness, we are both introverts who don’t generally like to leave the comfort of our apartment. We like our bed and our cat and our coffee grinder. We both really like that our apartment almost never has strangers who want to make small talk with us. Granted, we do have to leave the comforts of home for normal outings, but there’s something specific about travel that my wife hates. I’ve given it a great deal of thought and I think it’s the traveling portion of travel that she finds so offensive.
As you may be aware, I’m an author. Occasionally that job requires me to attend author-type events. My wife is great at playing the role of my wife at author-type events. She’s charming and keeps track of my schedule and carries my water bottle and is reasonably good at preventing me from saying idiotic things in front of an audience (okay, her success rate on that last one isn’t great). But she absolutely refuses to participate in planning beforehand. I’ve come to realize that her inability to decide what time we should fly out is rooted in her ability to lie to herself effectively. If she doesn’t help plan the itinerary, she’s able to convince herself that we will not be going into an airport, going through security, getting on a plane, and flying somewhere that is not our apartment.
We have been together for one thousand years (okay, thirteen. Whatever). I’ve learned that participating in her delusion is healthier for all parties involved. If I tell her concrete details in advance, that gives her the power to change them. Or, worse, the power to deny their existence.
Me: we’re flying at noon. Her: I’m not getting on a plane.
Sometimes it’s better to blatantly lie.
Her: are we flying? Me: nope. Her: are we driving? Me: nope. Her: how are we getting there? Me: magic. Her: cool.
Sometimes it’s better to be selectively honest.
Me: you’ll be getting an email from GCLS with your information. Her: why do they need my information? Me: probably just for your name tag. Her: I’m not going anywhere that requires a name tag. Me: haha yeah, name tags are the worst.
Dodged that bullet.
Ultimately, all she needs to know is that in July we are going to the Golden Crown Literary Society conference in Las Vegas. Two days before we leave, I’ll tell her how many days to pack clothes for, how many bags we are bringing, and what the weather will be like. She will pack accordingly. Over the next two days, she will ask an assortment of questions. I’ll reassure her that I’ve made arrangements for her mother to come stay with the cat. I’ll reassure her that I’ve found my travel toothbrush (it sings Justin Bieber songs). I’ll reassure her that I’ve printed all of my readings. The day we fly, I’ll give her our itinerary, flight information, hotel reservations, and my schedule of panels and social engagements. At that moment, everything will cease to be my responsibility. This particular system plays to our strengths. I manage her, then she manages me. Or something less co-dependent.
UPDATE Asked my wife to look over this blog before I posted it.
Her: they didn’t actually say “name tag” though, right? Me: oh no, they totally did. Her: there is no fucking way I’m going.
Amateur move. So I guess we can’t go to GCLS. (I’ll see you guys this summer… but don’t tell my wife until July.)