My favorites are full of contradictions.
I love Mexican food but am allergic to avocados. Hold the guacamole, por favor.
I also really like cursing but have the voice of a small child—high-pitched with a slight lisp. People are always shocked to hear me say fuck (at least the first time).
Then there’s my passion for running, at its peak when I’m dashing to the donut shop.
This happens at least once a year, on Ryan’s birthday. I got the idea to celebrate with donuts instead of cake in 2009. At that point, we had gone on several road trips together, usually kicked off with a stop for breakfast. I would order an egg and cheese on a bagel and Ryan would order a half a dozen donuts. We’d both finish at the same time. Donuts, I realized, were his favorite.
And that’s how this contradiction-birthday-tradition began.
For the first donut run, we were still living in Massachusetts. There, residents’ love of the Red Sox is equal only to their love of Dunkin’, so that’s where I decided to go. The only problem was, as much as I wanted to have a dozen donuts waiting for Ryan when he awoke, I didn’t want to sacrifice my morning run to do it. I had signed up for a half marathon, and before work was when I liked to train.
I wondered, Can I adjust my route so it ends at a Dunkin’? Or would that be too ridiculous? To finish a run with the purchase of a dozen donuts? I could just drive or take the subway. That would be faster. That would make a whole lot more sense. One of those more sensible options, that’s what I should do.
But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to have my donuts and run there too. I convinced myself it could work.
Completing my loop within smelling distance of the donuts frying, I stood on the sidewalk, wiping away the existing beads of sweat from my face and waiting for new ones to stop forming. Once good-enough dry, I walked inside.
The transition from cool outside air to heated indoors proved tricky, but using one hand to point out my selections (two glazed, two jelly-filled, two chocolate-covered, etc.) and the other to blot any fresh sweat from my brow, I managed to order Ryan’s birthday dozen. Then I walked home, with the sense that I’d just figured out something important: I could be selfish even when spoiling Ryan. This day was all about him, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be a little bit about me too.
Since that first run, the donut shop has changed but the ritual remains. Ryan and I were girlfriend and boyfriend when it started. By the second year we were engaged. For the past two years, we have been married, and every time I continue to see a special significance. This tradition shows that no matter how different our priorities—even when the goals are as opposite as “eat a lot of donuts” and “go for a run”—there still may be a way to achieve each with equal success. It’s not always possible, but I’ll always look for that way.
Because I am certain that in the future when we have a kid or elderly parents or responsibilities that I can’t yet even fathom, being married will require a lot of sacrifice and compromise. Until then, though, I would like for us both to get exactly what we want as often as we can get it.
And, also, why the fuck not?
(Photo by courtneyp)
Rasika writes about being married and how that makes you act weird. Oh, wait, maybe that’s just her. Follow her on Twitter @rwelankiwar.
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