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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!


#20. I had a long-distance relationship with my wife for twenty months.

It was just about the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Sure, we saw each other from time to time during that year and a half or so — it’s not like I flew to Venus and back — but it was still tough to handle. I was in a new city, where I didn’t know anyone (or what the hell I was doing at work, as it turned out). She was still at school, filling her days and nights with classes, parties, and old friends. It was a pretty stressful time for me.

Of course, I learned to make do. I picked up a few friends, and we found the ‘quarter draft’ nights at the local watering holes. I even became a regular at one particularly good Mexican restaurant-bar combination. So life wasn’t all bad, by any stretch of the imagination. I even got in a lot of work on my golf game the first summer I was there, through a set of circumstances that included having a lot of time on my hands and getting paid for two months for a job I was asked to stop doing.

But day to day, it was tough. My now-wife and I (you know, as opposed to my then-wife, which didn’t exist) talked just about every night, and shared a weekend once a month or so, but it was a far cry from the near-constant companionship we’d had back in college. We went to a small school, with a tiny campus, and spent most evenings after dinner together. And then suddenly, my evenings were spent watching ‘Sanford and Sons‘ reruns and eating Ramen noodles. Quite the shock, let me tell you. And I wasn’t going to cuddle with Lamont. No, sir.

But we worked at it, and we made it through. You can’t imagine how happy I was when she moved to town the summer after she graduated. Even if she did choose to go to rival Carnegie-Mellon, rather than my beloved University of Pittsburgh. But no matter — we agreed that both schools had their merits. Pitt had a bunch of slobbering idiots in its classes, but they’d wipe the field — or court, or ice — with any team CMU could offer up. And Carnegie-Mellon, while its student body was littered with nerds and geeks, would run logical circles around most Pitt students and leave them a confused, quivering collective lump of overheated gray matter.

And to top off my joy, she moved in just down the block. Right across from my parking lot, even! Goodbye, long-distance plans and flying a thousand miles for a smooch. Hello, walking — yes, walking — two hundred yards for a hug. Ah, life was finally good again.

And they’ve been good ever since. We did spent another couple of months apart when we moved to Boston — she took longer to finish her PhD than I did getting out of my job responsibilities in Pittsburgh, so I moved into temporary housing for a few weeks, until we could find an apartment of our own. But that was nothing like the long-distance hell I endured after graduating college. Oh, sure, I was back to Ramen noodles for a while, but that’s because I was lazy, not poor. Well, not as poor. And Sanford and Son had been replaced by Seinfeld and the Simpsons, so the entertainment was far superior, too. So even though I didn’t know anyone (again), it was only for a couple of months. I threw myself into my new work for a couple of weeks, and then found a nice pizza joint and a couple of bars to frequent, and pretty soon it was time to haul my wife and the rest of our things up to Boston. All in all, not too bad a time.

But I have to say, I wouldn’t recommend the long-distance relationship. Not if you can avoid it, anyway. We got through it, but we had almost two years’ worth of dating under our belts before we tried it, and it was still no picnic. It’s lonely, and nervewracking, and altogether crappy. I only hope that if we move again, we can go at the same time, so there’s no more of this shit that I have to endure. Or at the very least, maybe I’ll send her first next time, so I can stay here and hang out with old friends while I say goodbye. On the other hand, maybe that’s not such a good idea. My wife might get pissed off, and then when she finds all the good bars, she won’t tell me where they are. Yeah, I don’t think I can risk that. Some things are more important than paybacks, you know.

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