I realize that I think differently now. I find that I am not inclined to think about things as critically as I did before. During the years of my marriage there was one thing that the entire family did, and that was think broadly and thoroughly. There was nothing more infuriating to Kevin, my husband, than if one of us in his immediate family took anything bandied about in the public domain – newspapers, radio, television – and accepted it as fact. He’d read and subscribed to McLuhan’s “the medium is the message.” There was always more to every single story, the bias of the writer, the political affiliation, the personal life experience, the money that may have exchanged hands; to Kevin, there was always more to the story. Maybe it was based on fact, but no story could ever convey all the facts. The reader, if truly interested, should feel compelled to seek out the relevant facts. The kids were raised this way, if there is one thing that all three of my children have, it’s critical thinking skills. They can also debate, that too was a necessity in this household. Speak up, hold your ground, explain yourself, and be able to take some criticism.
I was speaking with Kevin’s sister about this very thing the other day. One of the missing elements in my life right now is the dynamic of discourse that I shared with Kevin. This is a loss that I feel daily. He loved to debate things, to take them apart, sentence by sentence, and point out the gaps, errors or assumptions. Sometimes he was completely off the wall in his perspective on a subject, but it didn’t matter, he’d give it his all no matter how whacked out his interpretation was. This I miss so very much. I find that I am unable to watch most of the television shows that we would watch together because they no longer have the epilogue that I was used to. There are some TV shows that I don’t miss (for the last couple of years he was hung up on fractals – not riveting television). Others well, they were interesting (and usually related to art or music). The conversation afterwards could be lively, since something he saw or heard might have resonated with him and Kevin would want to talk about it. We saw and heard the content differently. In fact, seldom did we process information the same; we were two very different people in our outlook and life experiences.
Sure there are lots of people around that I could talk about things with, but let’s face it, they’re not Kevin. We had over 30 years together perfecting the offence and defense needed for our verbal skirmishes. It was a battle of wits, of closing off opportunities before they could be exploited, of leading the debate in a direction where victory was assured. Both of us were aware of each other’s tendencies, vulnerabilities and weaknesses; so it was a constant effort to work on self-improvement. Kevin was always up for a good debate, always. For me, no, sometimes I found it tiring and would prefer not to think. Ironically, now I have all the time in the world not to think, and all I do is think, as well as wish that I had of taken greater advantage of the opportunities that I was given.