Day 201: Our Marriage

As you learned on Day 200 from Lara, today Lara's bestest friend Kelly comes to Kenya to join us. That said, this two-some marriage has officially become a bit less exclusive until we hit the road again post being bridesmaids and celebrating holidays in the US. So here are some more reflections on our marriage of sorts, and why it sort of works.

On the phone recently, Lara’s mom was talking about the fact that some people on the blog seem to think we are life partners, which we are not. But when Lara started laughing about the sheer hilarity of this notion, Lara’s mother said something meaningful. It was something along the lines of, “How am I supposed to know? You write about holding hands and calling each other ‘love’ on the blog?”

This is but one of many instances of this of late. Oh, FarmerM, we understand your confusion. Let me explain.

Lara and Claire met their freshmen year at college. They lived approximately 12 feet away from each other (across the hall) but did not speak for 4 months aside from pleasantries regarding water pressure and things. The reason they did not speak is because Claire thought Lara was unapproachable and Lara thought Claire was too religious.

The reason we started this quitting life thing is that we went on a month long trip to South Africa in April of 2005. We had been close friends for years at this point, living together and such throughout college and after, studying overseas together, and then moving overseas separately. But then a period of transition happened, in which we each unexpectedly separated from men and countries (Mexico, Scotland) we had not expected to leave. It was all somewhat tense, and everyone thought we might kill each other. So they wrote such things in thinly veiled emails like: “Lara, are you sure you can handle Claire by yourself?” and “Claire, is it going to be okay with just Lara?”

But then it was great, and we traveled so well together, and so we decided to not stop. Specifically, I (Claire) was in China a month later and one morning had a dream induced realization that was extremely powerful and so I decided to write an important email to Lara: “Important Email/Big Idea: Do you want to actually really travel the world for a long period of time?”

She was online at the time, and said yes. And then we basically didn’t talk about it much for six months (different countries, other things going on, you see) and then when we did we said, “We’re still going, right?” And we went a few months later. It was one of the simplest decisions we have ever made.

So, as the first eight month leg of the trip comes to a close, and we find ourselves gearing up for another year, we often have the discussion about why we would be lucky in many, many ways to marry each other. The male equivalent of each other, that is. Because we are very well suited to spend lots of time together talking, not talking, looking at each other, not looking at each other, and generally dealing with the dramas of everyday life and each other’s place in them in countries where we can’t speak to anyone else.

Our friend Amalia asked about our dynamics recently (TrippingOnMyCouch is really into dynamics), and Lara answered with something that did, indeed, seem to be the measure of things: “Well, we certainly can just read and not talk to each other at breakfast if we want to.”

So true. So true.

So how does it work?

Let’s analyze.

Division of Labor: Similar to garbage taking out and dish washing, we have a serious division of labor. There are very specific things that Lara and Claire do for our joint life, and for our relationship, that the other takes much less part in. Here are some of the things Lara does: takes pictures, uploads pictures to shutterfly, uses the ATM, does the bargaining, tends to Claire. This is what Claire does: comes up with Big Ideas, instant messages with people who can help her think of more Big Ideas and/or how to enact current Big Ideas on the table, looks for new widgets for the blog, goes into toiletry shops.

Travel Experience: This helps the dynamic in that one person is not babying the other, except when they have altitude sickness on Everest or a fever in the Canary Islands. In general, we trust that the other person can deal with whatever thing they are being asked to deal with without guidance.

Similar Sense of Planning: This is an interesting one, because if you know Lara and Claire, or have a sense of them from this blog, you may get the feeling that Lara is more laid back (read: scattered) and Claire is more organized (read: obsessive). And yet it turns out that they both find a happy middle ground of generally putting a certain category of things (Travel Logistics) off until almost the very, very, very last minute under the assumption that all things work out.

Humor: Our sense of humor is similar, and it is a sick one, and we enjoy it. But more than that, we laugh all the time. Even when we want to kill each other. Just last night, for instance, Claire said to Lara, “You’re funny. You know that.” The subtext, which Lara heard as she read between the lines was: “I want to kill you.”

Same Sized Clothes: This helps, because things get dirty quickly, and stay dirty most of the time. So there is always something else of Lara’s to put on.

They Eat the Same Food (Sometimes): Lara doesn’t eat lots of things, like meat and fish and gelatin and egg and skittles (gelatin in these bad boys), but it turns out Claire doesn’t really like many of those things either. They split most things they eat, because they eat a lot of cheese and bread and tomatoes in various forms, except when Claire has chicken/beef/egg cravings.

But this is not to say that it is all red roses of love around here. No, there have been some rocky times in the relationship of Lara and Claire as of late. Why? The trigger points, and when those come up we yell at each other in airports and in other inappropriate places.
These are the so far identified Trigger Points that we talk through to no end:

Who is Right


Who stole Claire/Lara’s Hairbrush/Passport/Camera/Wallet/Facewash/Bikini (and other lost items)

How to Fight

All in all, though, we think this would be a pretty good marriage. And we’re working on things. Because we talk about our issues all the time. The other night, in what Lara would call a horrific fight and Claire would call a heated discussion, we made the decision to stay together, for better or for worse. It was a sweet moment, until things derailed when Lara said something snotty about not needing a counselor because, “We’re too good for couples’ therapy.” To which Claire responded with equal snot: “Jesus loves you, Lara,” and then the fighting picked right back up again.


SavvySunshine said...

“Jesus loves you, Lara,”

to which you, Lara, should have responded: Challah! Raise the bimah!

This would have gone over very well, I'm sure.

Claire and Lara said...

if only you knew how much we say challah raise the bimah...i mean it's like the best new phrase of century 21

Lana said...

oh my god this blog was so funny. I MISS YOU GIRLS SO MUCH! that's sweet you two decided to pseudo-marry each other. can we just all do that? please? i think it would totally work. see claire, we really DONT need men.

sob.... juuuust kidding.

ps i'm back! i'm going on a posting frenzyyyy!!!!!

Stickler said...

Since I didn't ge to say it yesterday, Happy 200th. I liked this post, it reminded me of some of friendships with my friends. By the way I owe you an e-mail about how to make your reality show, sorry work has been keeping me from having a life lately!

SavvySunshine said...

hahahahaha! That's funny! I LOVE that!

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