We just celebrated our ten-year wedding anniversary. According to those ridiculous gift-giving charts, while some milestones get very fancy symbols like gold or silver, “ten” is the “aluminum” anniversary.
What’s that supposed to look like? Exchanged beer cans? Tinfoil hats at dinner?
Instead my husband got me one of the most romantic gifts I could imagine: a double hammock.
I cried all over myself, of course, which probably wasn’t the effect he was expecting.
Thirteen years we’ve been together, long enough to bore each other or drive each other nuts. Instead he’s telling me that we’re upgrading to a family-size hammock.
We used to have a single hammock. I bought it for him when we first started dating, as a souvenir from my trip to Cancun with my brothers. He stayed behind and did my taxes for me and I figured he deserved a nice present.
That hammock got a lot of use. We used to take turns in it. Our dog learned to jump up in it, where he would stretch out on someone’s torso and try not to stick his feet through the holes. One or the other of us would swing and read in the back yard, parrot on her perch nearby, the crazy-fast respiration of the dog’s chest making it very hard to believe he was relaxing.
Doing this separately has its own special cachet. There’s a message in there, one that I find extremely important in a long-term relationship. That message says that each party has the right to relax and do nothing on a regular basis.
HQLT. High Quality Leisure Time.
The secret to a happy relationship is to maximize your partner’s HQLT and facilitate it in any way possible. This is usually wildly different from any experience they’ve had in the past. In return, they can be taught to do the same for you.
Hammock time is sacred. There are almost no emergencies dire enough to demand an interruption of hammock time, and almost all of them can be seen from the hammock anyway:
Squadron of UFOs overhead
Sudden appearance of DeLorean vehicle racing down the street with flaming tire tracks behind it
I’m the one who messed it all up, of course. The hammock was getting a little musty from spending so much time outside, and I thought it would be a smart idea to run it through the washing machine.
It wasn’t. Never do that.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to detangle it before realizing too many of the strings had come untied. Oh well. That was fun while it lasted.
Then we moved, and most of the time since then, we haven’t had a yard. Instead we occasionally bring out the inflatable camping couch, also mostly a single-player experience.
Having a hammock again is very suggestive of one day having our own yard again. It also hints at retirement.
The double hammock? Have we even both been in a double hammock together?
We tend to value experiences more than things, but a hammock is the kind of “thing” that is really an experience in itself. Even looking at it strung up, with nobody in it, can be a bit of a moment. We used to walk past a neighbor’s yard that had a fancy hammock. Nobody ever seemed to be in it, but it turned a fairly ordinary yard into a romantic image. Conspicuous leisure, remember that?
Now all that’s left is to wander our new neighborhood and see if we can find somewhere to test out this fancy contraption. May it put some ideas into people’s heads about leisure time and comfortable companionship.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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