The School Carnival – A Study in Relationships

I hate the annual school carnival.

I know the kids love it. But, that much activity and noise and stuff just sends me into sensory overload. I can’t focus on anyone or anything – I’m just too overwhelmed by it all. It’s not as bad as I get in an arcade, but pretty damn close.  And, of course, EVERYONE wants to have a conversation with me.  By the end of the night, I need a stiff drink and a quiet room.

In years past, I get roped into doing something. The middle school kids do most of the work, but they have parents filling in the gaps.  I was happy that this year I was able to stay out of it, and hang out with Garbanzo.  This is usually not something we get to do either.  Between parents and kids, he is constantly getting accosted and pulled away.

Last night, we lucked out – he didn’t get pulled away and neither did I. So, instead, we walked around watching and talking to people hand-in-hand. I noticed as we were doing this was how many parents looked like they didn’t even want to be around each other.  Garbanzo’s crush was walking around with her arms crossed all night – looking like she was about to kill someone.  When her husband arrived from work, they barely greeted each other – and they sat together, with two people between them.

Other parents touched only when money passed between them.  It kind of made me wonder – are we just that unique in our relationship and the physical aspects of it – or are they just that unhappy with each other?  Or am I find with holding hands, an arm around the other, or the periodic kiss in public because my parents were fine with it? And the other couples simply were not comfortable even with a minimal amount of public displays of affection?

I sat there on the edge of the stage watching people – and still did not find another couple with older kids enjoying interacting with each other.  Finally while I chatted with the principal’s wife – someone I am friends with – her husband came up and greeted his wife as I would expect – a kiss on the cheek, hand on the back as he did it, standing close together like they actually loved each other.  Outside of them, the others kind of made me sad really.  I mean, greet each other if one of them arrives after the other.  Look like you actually get along.  Don’t act like you sleep in single beds in the same room.

I know not everyone has marital bliss or even relationship bliss, but WTF? Are we really that rare?  Anyone else in a good relationship notice this? Do I have unrealistic expectations? Or are Garbanzo and I being “inappropriate” with our public behavior with one another?  Or is my sampling of parents just full of people in unhappy relationships?

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Secretia says:

    So many couples are just in a rut, living together, not touching, barely looking each other in the eye. Sexually depleted too.

    You are among the lively and lucky ones!


  2. IveyLane says:

    My husband and I are also very affectionate in public and quite at ease with it. However, we were also that way during our 6-year sexual dry spell so in our case, such expression was more indicative of our overall love for each other than of our sex life.

    Neither of us were raised in that environment either, and in my case, quite the opposite so I also think it is more of a “decision” that we somehow made rather than a learned behavior.

    That said, I think you are correct that many relationships become matters of coexistance rather than genuine, joyous partnerships and it saddens me as well. Life is so short and how we choose to share it is so very important.

  3. What Garbanzo and you have is very special. Not everyone can have that relationship you do. You both are really in love and love that you can’t get enough of each other. That is a very rare relationship that is dying out. Keep doing what your doing!
    Oh, and some people are just uptight bitches!
    Stay Fierce!

  4. piecesofjade says:

    I have noticed this too. I am a big people watcher-especially how people interact. And this is what I see a lot too, of couples that have been together for a long time.

    After almost 17 years together my ex and I were still very loving & affectionate. My SO and I are as well.

    It may be that they are unhappy together, but it may also be that they simply are not comfortable being affectionate in public–or possibly even at home. Touching easily is not something everyone does. I have just always been a toucher, and show my love with touch.


  5. Maggie says:

    Maybe they just aren’t the touchy-feely types, or maybe they don’t feel comfortable doing so in public. But I think even people like that find ways to nonverbally connect with their SO, and from your description it didn’t seem like you were seeing even that. Makes me sad for them.

  6. Yes, I think you guys are rare. I think that many, many people are in unhappy marriages and feel like they have to tolerate each other, long after their relationships have faded away.

  7. Just me... says:

    You two are rare in the sense that you, whether you know it or not, recognize the things that cause these rifts in a relationship and have taken steps to ensure that they will not creep into yours unnoticed.. Most people don’t even realize these rifts exist until it’s too late, or almost..

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