What did you marry?
Well that’s the Singapore Grand Prix for another year, capped off perfectly this year with Linkin Park at the Padang. And living at Marina Bay now makes it all so much easier to get to and from the track—it is effectively in our front yard.
People tend to be surprised that I follow motor racing and not just Formula 1 for ‘the event’ but the sport itself—I know the teams and I know the drivers although not personally :) I also follow Moto GP (motor bikes) and used to follow the Touring Cars when we lived in Australia. But fast cars and motor racing were not interests of mine growing up, and no one in our household—my father, mother or three brothers—had even the slightest interest in cars. In fact, I disliked everything about cars, especially since we lived across the road from a house with a Speedway car. Weekends were disturbed by the sound of revving engines and the smell of burning fuel and I used to wish it would stop. I was also glad that the underneath of our house was not similarly cluttered with the black greasy mess of a mechanics lair. On the occasions I went to the Speedway with my neighbourhood friend, Sheryn, to watch her father race, I found the experience unpleasant and actually felt sorry for her that this was her childhood. Today it is a completely different story, but this is what comes from committing totally to a marriage, in my opinion. If you want to enjoy a long, happy life of togetherness, then it’s helpful (in most cases) if you share interests.
When it comes to sport generally, and football codes in particular, we watch most of it (AFL, Rugby League, Soccer and Rugby Union). I don’t go off on my own when Steve is watching sport on TV—we watch and enjoy it together. The only exception to this would be sailing, which I enjoy watching on TV (there’s so much strategy involved) but do not enjoy ‘doing’. The storyline in RAIN (Chapter 51) where Carl enrols in sailing courses to support Ethan with his love for sailing is pretty much based on reality … although I did not manage to complete the first course I enrolled in, or even return for the second session of the first course since someone vomited on Day 1.
On the other side of the coin, one of my primary interests is interior decorating, and although I only get to do this every five years or so, Steve always contributes whether it is helping me choose between options, driving me all over the countryside looking for a particular piece for a particular spot, or shopping until 10pm every night. And although it is only every five years, it does take a lot of time and energy—with trial and error, the pursuit of the right piece at the right price, or that elusive combination—over several weeks or months until the last item is placed, and he never does not usually complain when I always go over budget.
We’re also fortunate that we like the same music. Linkin Park is a band that Steve followed when they first began; subsequently I do too. Similarly, I introduced Steve to my favourite band, LIVE (now without Ed and effectively defunct for me) and he has attended every concert with me over the years. Apart from Rage Against the Machine (Steve) and my secret enjoyment of Engelbert Humperdinck (don’t tell anyone), our music tastes are pretty much identical.
We’ve been happily married 28 years now (anniversary 17 September) and I think the success of our marriage has a lot to do with sharing interests (with mutual respect being #1 in my view). I also think it has a lot to do with being different in ways you need to be different, and the same in ways you need to be the same, for example, we have different temperaments, but the same values and we're both neat and tidy. This is a theme that runs through my next novel, BEING ANTI-SOCIAL, and here’s a brief extract from the story’s narrator, Mace Evans:
“A part of the problem with Adam and Sophie is that they are alike in the ways they need to be different and different in ways they need to be alike: tidy cannot live in harmony with messy; non-smoker with smoker; athlete cannot live with slob; opera cannot live with Metallica; equestrian cannot live with motor sports; and trades people who like to fill their garages with carpentry, car engines or metal work cannot expect to live in harmony with obsessive compulsive order freaks like myself. Then there are the essential differences: two tempers cannot live together; two attention-seekers cannot live together, two handbrakes cannot live together nor can two accelerators. There must be one of each, and clearly, two lawyers cannot live together for Sophie and Adam are evidence of that."
When we marry, we don't just marry the person, we marry interests and hobbies, and of course, we marry a family, but that's perhaps a whole other blog. :)