I told my wife last night that she's a horrible distraction. I said this after two days of her being out of the apartment 8 hours at a time for a class, while I've been largely at home during this summer.
She insists on talking to me while I'm reading student papers, or writing material for my courses, or reading. Basically any time she has an interesting though--which in her defense is pretty damn often--she is compelled to share it. Right then.
But I've been on my own for this whole week, except when I'm in class. And I hardly got anything done. I think I graded two papers in 5 hours on Tuesday. I suppose I'm lucky I put on pants and remembered to eat. As much of a distraction as she is while she's around, my entire life disintegrates when she's gone for extended periods of time. It's like those first few weeks of college, when you realized that your parents weren't there to tell you not to do some things--so you essentially do nothing. Because you can get away with it.
My wife holds me to a pretty high standard. She wants an interesting husband, after all. The kind of guy who gets shit done, and can talk intelligently about a range of issues. We're both into communication in a theoretical way, but she's a business-minded person, and I'm an academic. We have abstract conversations about the nature of perception, of language, and what percentage of a person's image comes down to verbal communication. I teach people about avoid nominalizations and over-using conjunctive adverbs. She helps people become better leaders.
That standard, though, is an interesting one. It's motivating, but a little disturbing that I seem to be dependent on it to keep on being the fully actualized person I try to be. I still do the things I normally would when she's not around--I just think I do them better when I think she's watching. Maybe she'll notice the particularly subtle way I incorporated a lesson on tone of voice into an exercise on paragraph transitions. Maybe my understanding the way two modifiers acting as a single adjective can be hyphenated revs her engine. Am I still trying to convince my wife that she should go out with me? Am I proverbially playing acoustic guitar under a tree in the middle of campus to impress the freshman chicks?