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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Alone together

Been there, done that:

Speaking with Meredith Vieira on TODAY Wednesday, People magazine's Washington correspondent Sandra Sobieraj Westfall said she interviewed a dozen Gore family friends in the wake of Tuesday's announcement. And those friends told her they might have seen the writing on the wall if they had looked closely enough.

"The two of them have been living incredibly separate lives — their separate schedules took them in different directions,” she added. “They said they had just grown apart. Tipper loved life and wanted to have, and Al remained a very driven man with a lot of projects and irons in the fire.”

I've had plenty of fun making fun of Al Gore for his politics, but I'll let others take care of the humor in this case, whatever there may be, because I think I know a little about what the Gores are going through. My wife and I thought we were smarter than other couples and could handle a suitcase marriage. She was offered a job she wanted in LaPorte County, the last place we lived, and I wanted to stay here. So we both did what we wanted and saw each other on the weekends. Before our divorce, we lived that way for several years until it became obvious that we had become more like buddies who visited each other than like a married couple.

You may have seen debunked here and there the notion that parents can have full, rich lives as long as they provide their kids "quality" time. That's just guilt-shusing nonsense. Kids need quantity time from their parents. Marriages also need quantity as well as quality time. You don't need to spend every minute together (I've always thought couples who worked together were tempting fate a little), but you do need so hang out together regularly. The "How did your day go?" stuff that seems so banal to those outside the marriage is an important ritual for making sure both partners are roughly in the same place on their journey.


Lewis Allen
Wed, 06/02/2010 - 5:59pm

regarding the banal stuff, you reminded me of one of my favorite poems (by one of my favorite poets, Jack Gilbert)


We think of lifetimes as mostly the exceptional
and sorrows. Marriage we remember as the children,
vacations, and emergencies. The uncommon parts.
But the best is often when nothing is happening.
The way a mother picks up the child almost without
noticing and carries her across Waller Street
while talking with the other woman. What if she
could keep all of that? Our lives happen between
the memorable. I have lost two thousand habitual
breakfasts with Michiko. What I miss most about
her is that commonplace I can no longer remember.

Leo Morris
Thu, 06/03/2010 - 7:24am

One of the most heartbreaking scenes in drama is the one in "Our Town" in which Emily gets to come back from the dead to relive one "ordinary" day. I must have read it a hundred times, and I still mist up. "Do human beings ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?"