Monday, September 17, 2007

To Lille or Not to Lille?

There is nothing more frustrating than a change in weekend plans at the last minute. Don't get me wrong: I appreciate spontaneity and improvisation as much as the next gal. But the constant guessing game, the impossibility of making any fixed plans, is just exhausting. That's why I've gotten into the habit of adding "limiting adverbs", so to speak, to my own descriptions of what my upcoming weekend will include. I find myself peppering my weekend-speak with words like "normally" or "if all goes well..." or perhaps even "well, we might be..." And you fill in the blanks from there. The unsurity is sometimes maddening, and I hate playing a constant guessing game, knowing full well that our plans will, in the end, more than likely change.

In a way I've gotten used to my boyfriend changing his mind or committing himself to more than he can really do in one weekend. It's as if he thrives on spreading himself too thin, as if he thinks he can tear himself into three or four different men, and it doesn't seem to sink in that he simply can't do everything -- and besides, perhaps his girlfriend may not have the same ideas in mind...

This weekend's plan, at least as I originally understood it, was to drive up to his sister's place outside of Lille and to spend some quality time there, relaxing and getting away from the city for a breath of fresh air. I was actually looking forward to being in their big house again, and perhaps even bicycling around the area, like we did once a few months ago. I had a feeling that we wouldn't head out on Friday evening, as he originally projected, because I know how exhausted he can be at the end of a long week. So I wasn't surprised when he told me Thursday evening that we wouldn't leave until Saturday morning...

But then the frustrating element kicked in late Friday night, after we went to see The Bourne Ultimatum together, when he just happened to slip in (comme si rien n'était), ever so nonchalantly, that we would be making a "pit stop" on the way to Lille, so he could play in a tennis tournament, the "final one of the season". Mind you, the last three tournaments have somehow transformed, each time, into the "the last tournament of the season"... But I'm just saying.

Trust me, I have nothing against my boyfriend playing tennis! On the contrary, I know it is one of the things that makes him really happy. It's one of his favorite pastimes, along with swimming. I also know that it's both a physical and a mental release for him, a way of getting out all of that pent-up stress men are so famous for keeping inside themselves, whereas girls like me just can't seem to get enough of releasing it simply by TALKING ABOUT IT. So of course it's a healthy thing for him to be doing, for the most part. But I guess I sometimes feel like our plans together come after his tennis-playing plans, or fall completely by the wayside. We don't actually have that many weekends together, and when we do, the time is precious to me -- it's like an oasis in the middle of the desert of our work-run-rest lifestyle at the moment.

So this interruption in this weekend's plans, for a brief trip away from home, just seemed unjustified and a wee bit selfish in my personal opinion... I don't know; I felt like our time together just wasn't important enough, valuable enough, to merit an entire weekend devoted to it. As a result, when I told him how I felt this time around (something I don't always do, because I don't want to upset the applecart or cause any unnecessary conflicts -- the truth of the matter is that I often bend to his will; I want so much for him to be happy) he got all up-in-arms and defensive, saying that the stop didn't change anything in our plans, that it wasn't really a detour at all, that it was on our way, that I was making a big fuss out of nothing. It just didn't seem that way to me, of course.

We really don't disagree like this all that often, and I honestly don't like to complain -- I mean, I try really hard not to complain about his own activities, because I think it's important that we spend time separately doing the things that we love -- that's what makes us happier when we spend time together, after all! But you have to draw the line somewhere when you have so little time together, n'est-ce pas ?

Needless to say, we didn't end up going to Lille... Our Friday-night discussion didn't reach any kind of truce until Saturday afternoon. We were at a bit of a standstill. To complicate things all the more, he just decided to cancel all the weekend plans, in his opinion because I was making things too complicated. In the end, though, apparently his sister must not have been expecting us anyways, because as it turns out she was going to see their father in Le Havre. Maybe she figured her brother would change his plans at the last minute or something... as usual. Hmph.

Oh, and he did still go play tennis. :sigh:

And then we ended up going to Le Havre too.


Suz said...

I hate to tell you that I can completely relate to this. My fiance's similar tendencies are exacerbated by the fact that we live apart right now--luckily only 2 hours apart. Thursday night we had a conversation in which he LITERALLY said, within 10 minutes, "You come here. No, I should come there. That makes more sense. But I'm not sure. Maybe you should come here." I just sat silently on the phone until he was done. He doesn't understand my desire to plan ahead more than 6-10 hours! Infuriating! (Luckily he has other, good, qualities)

Penny said...

Wow, that would really frustrate me too. I'm a real creature of habit and I like to know in advance where I'm going and what I'm doing. I hope he makes it up to you next weekend :)

jchevais said...

You are not alone doll. Stéphane does this too and it drives me crazy because it leaves me "babysitting" the kids.

"But I need to decompress" he says when he heads out the door with his tennis kit...

And I don't? Huh? Doesn't he understand that women don't find being around their screaming kids a relaxing thing?

"Just go into your studio and paint," he says.

"Um... they follow me there and then start touching everything."

Argh. Men.

And playing tennis on the way out of town? What kind of retarded answer is that? And how French... Sorry, detours don't generally take 2 to 3 hours of staring off into space. I hate waiting for hubs to finish having fun... because I'm generally surrounded by kids who cannot decide how to occupy themselves and end up fighting.

Have I hijacked this post? Sorry.

adelyn said...

this is why i live alone! :::laughs maniacally for no reason:::

seriously though, i think he should at least mentioned the little pit-stop to you beforehand because even though it might not have been that much of a detour, it's still a change of plans. and it's not so much about the plans themselves as it is about BEING IN THE KNOW about them.

so you have every right to feel a bit frustrated. hope things are better now.

p.s. even though i totally hate it when people casually mention stuff like that to me, i'm usually the one who's guilty...that's how we ended up in morroco en route to spain. lol.

Linda said...

Men...Can't they just drive you crazy? My husband always swears he told me something and it leads to all sorts of complications. Can't live with them, etc.

joy suzanne said...

Our life revolves around football games. Lottofoot. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. Saturday pick-up games. Bah! I don't CARE ABOUT FOOTBALL!!! There, I said it!

Ahem. We all have our frustrations. ;)

Amy H said...

I hear ya, sisters! Since my DH plays no sports and has no obsessive hobbies, I can't complain about that. BUT if I do want us to have some time together, I have to be the one to plan it, then tell him when and what we're doing and remind him again the day before.

Reb said...

Men...and French men at that!

Anonymous said...

argh how frustrating! and I can relate to the feelings of coming second, Christophe is so obsessed with records. We had a huge fight the other day because he spent three hours in a record store in Nancy when I thought we'd be exploring the city, at least a little bit! :(