People have different relationship “tests.” I read an essay by a woman who had a whole system worked out to analyze her compatibility with a guy by the kind of books he had. Experts often recommend comparing spending habits of a significant other, as differences there are often a predictor of rocky roads ahead. (The sentence in italics is confusing)
I have a process that is much faster and simpler: take a hike.
The differences between my ex-finance and I were apparent from our first hike. Seeking an escape from graduate school in Seattle, we’d talked about ferrying over to the Olympic Peninsula one winter Saturday for a snow shoe excursion. He woke up his usual cheery morning self at 7:00 am, wondering when we might leave. My grumpy non-morning person self struggled to process that he actually thought we’d be getting in the car sometime in the near future.
He remained silently ticked off as we finally left sometime around 10:00. Naturally, the ferry lines to cross ElliottBay were longer because it was later. Once we traveled up the mountain, the last ranger-led hike and already left. We did get to snow shoe for awhile – though the snow was mushier because it was later in the day. That made the climbing harder and unpleasant for me, being the more out of shape. He never actually said it was my own fault – but he thought it all along the way. The scenery was beautiful but neither of us would report that we had a great time that day.
To his credit, my ex is actually a kind and patient man. And I will fully admit he had the moral high ground on this one. I’m aware that more people than not would probably seize the advantage of heading out early for an excursion like that. Being late is my moral low ground; I’ve improved on it somewhat, but I believe it’s an orientation, like sexuality, that you’re simply born with.
A year after moving, on my own, back to Oregon, I met a handsome chemist who also liked the outdoors. We planned a Saturday hike to the storied Opal Creek old growth wilderness in the Cascade Mountains. He called to say he’d be late; when he finally got to my house I was still scrambling to get ready.
“Would you hate it if we took time to stop for coffee,” I sheepishly asked? I flashed back to that Saturday in Seattle and feared this poor guy would rue getting involved with me.
“Heck no!” he said. “I’d kill for a mocha right now.” He smiled so wide, I gave him a giant bear hug.
By the time we got to the trailhead, the sun was fading and most hikers were heading back to their cars. Needless to say, we shortened the hike considerably, but we had a glorious day.
By Lisa Nuss