Today is Eric’s and my anniversary. (Fact: I almost didn’t share this because trying to determine the punctuation for that first sentence left me exhausted.) If you had told me two years ago that today Eric and I would be engaged and about to close on a house…well, I would have believed you, because it was love at first video chat! After two whirlwind years together, today I’m looking back and thinking, Wow…we’ve…done a lot of talking and I’m actually not sure what else.
That first video chat lasted four hours. It was honestly a little unsettling for both of us — this feeling of “WHO ARE YOU AND WHY AM I IN LOVE WITH YOU?” — and the more we talked, the more it was apparent that we were never going to stop. I don’t know if most couples feel this way, but I know that as someone who tends to exhaust certain people with her desire to talk all the time, finding someone who never tires of talking in the way I like to talk is such a big deal to me, and I know Eric feels similarly.
Both of our moms have separately described us as speaking our “own private language” when we’re together, and I think that’s pretty accurate. I really don’t notice it until we’re around other people, when I see how they look sort of bemusef as we talk to each other in the way we do. When we finally pause to take a breath, I feel like we’ll look around expecting everyone to still be with us…and everyone else is like, “Wait…what in the actual fuck are you guys talking about?” We thought they were listening and following the conversation, but we clearly lost them several minutes ago, probably around the time we sort of gave each other that one-word clue and/or nose tap that allowed us to skip over about 20 pages of backstory that is relevant to the conversation. To be honest, the main reason I don’t write about our relationship very often is because I struggle to translate how we talk into something that make sense to anyone else (and even then, I can’t imagine they’d see why I find it as funny or interesting as I do). But since today is a special day, I thought I’d share some of the things I really love about the way Eric and I communicate, because to me, that’s really the heart of why we’re together.
Most of things we enjoy doing together we enjoy simply because they provide jumping-off points for new conversations. We watch “The Today Show” together every morning because it’s filled with stuff to talk about (and we’re constantly pausing the show to talk about what we’re seeing). I don’t even like “Today” that much, but I love this morning ritual. I also love talking over dinner. I hang out on the Internet all day and he hangs out with a bunch of engineers all day, so by the time we get home, we’re both in the mood to talk — him because he can’t really talk about random crap all day, and me because I’ve been reading random crap all day. On Sunday we went to the Space Center, and it was just such a perfect day because we had the drives there and back for conversation, plus tons of history (plus people watching!) to inspire new conversations. There have been many nights where we’ve stayed up until 2 AM and beyond just talking and talking and talking. Hypothetical questions, current events, family, race, sex, education, money, viral videos, past experiences, future plans…we never run out of things to talk about.
I feel like there is an unofficial “No judgments” policy when it comes to new conversation topics and/or questions. Sometimes I feel like people (myself included) pretend to know what someone is talking about when that person references something totally unknown to the listener. But with Eric and me, that’s not the case. If of us references something the other one knows nothing about, the other isn’t going to be like, “WHAT? YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF THIS?!” We are really comfortable saying we don’t know and informing the other when they are asking. (The one exception to this rule was the day I made a comment about someone having “the wingspan of a velociraptor” and Eric wouldn’t let me live it down. “Velociraptors don’t have wings,” he said. “Haven’t you seen ‘Jurassic Park’?!” To which I said, “First of all, YOU KNOW I HAVEN’T SEEN LIKE ANY MOVIES. And also, are you judging me for not knowing what a dinosaur looks like because I HAVEN’T SEEN ‘JURASSIC PARK’?! That’s like judging me for not knowing what ‘Ancient Alien’ theorists believe about velociraptors. And also, how is a RAPTOR not a HUGE BIRD to you!? A raptor is totally a kind of bird!!!” This debate went on for some time until we went to the new Hall of Paleontology at the HMNS last month — which is fucking amazing by the way — and there was this WHOLE thing on how velociraptors were basically the perfect blend of bird and dinosaur and the ancestor to all modern-day birds.)
We’re good at e-mail. I know some people see e-mail as impersonal or a communication disaster waiting to happen, but both e-mail and texting work great for Eric and me because we just really understand each other when it comes to the written word. We write like we talk, with a lot of asides and random references, and our e-mails get super wordy. Also, sometimes when we’re upset with each other, it really helps if we work things out via e-mail the next day. As you might imagine, our arguments tend to get really convoluted and interrupty, so making our points in an e-mail is actually super effective. I love our e-mails; if I felt like it wouldn’t break my printer — because I’m 99 percent sure every printer is just one longish PDF away from death — I would print them all out to preserve for our future offspring, or just our future selves. To me, they are the modern-day equivalent of the stacks of love letters that separated lovers wrote each other before technology came along: a glimpse of exactly who we are and how we feel about our lives and each other every single day. I love receiving and writing new ones each day; I consider myself particularly skilled at subject lines, and I really appreciate Eric’s sign-offs. The other day, after we’d confirmed some thing we were going to do together, he signed off with, “And you can always count on me. A gruesome twosome we will be. Together. Yay yay yay.” It was the highlight of my day…I’m actually still laughing about it.
Speaking of song lyrics, we really enjoy working song lyrics into everyday conversations. Sometimes we take this too far, like the night we were up until 2 AM talking in only in 90s song lyrics. Actually, spoken 90s song lyrics are a really common occurrence, but that night was just excessive, even for us.
Our conversations are peppered with bits of some really weird version of French and intentionally poor English. Both of us took French in high school; while Eric’s French is much better than mine, we still remember enough to feel like slipping French words into our conversation periodically. And then — and I honestly have no idea why — we enjoy pronouncing the random French words in this weird, offbeat way. It’s not an overly-French accent, nor is it pronouncing them like they are regular American English words…it’s just something else entirely. And then there are the obnoxious uses of “irregardless” and “literally” when we’re trying to be heard over each other and “lawl” or “lolwut?” when we’re texting. (…see why I never write about this stuff?)
Eric almost always refers to me as “Zsas.” As I’ve mentioned before, when my little brother Preston was first learning to talk, he started calling me “Zsa Zsa.” He’d make the sound every time I entered the room and make a funny waving motion near his head; I eventually figured out, based on the sound and the funny waving motion he’d make near his head, that he was imitating the sound/action of my blow drying my hair, something he often sat on the floor and watched me do. After a couple years, he shortened it to “Zsas.” Eric started calling me this as kind of a joke not long after we met, but eventually the nickname stuck and now that’s how he refers to me almost all of the time. The only time he calls me by my real name is if he’s mad at me. The nickname is just so familial and sweet and every time he says it, I get a little happy feeling. I think some may refer to this as “butterflies.”
TL;DR: We are in love because there will never be such a thing as TL;DR with us.