Jack is gone this week. He’s out in the field working sites on the Oregon/Washington border with a handful of colleagues. I went out to these sites with him last summer as a volunteer and helped out recording measurements along with handling general grunt work like labeling and bagging samples, prepping equipment and the like.
I think this might have been early on in our relationship. I hate to admit this, but I can’t remember the timing of it. I do know it was our first real travel trip together.
I would later come to realize that it was a relationship-test trip.
Unbeknownst to me this was the trip that Jack decided to marry me.
I was simply curious whether we could travel together for four days without killing each other.
He was a little farther along the relationship paradigm than I was.
He was looking at the forest …
… while I was just looking at the trees. And the ferns, prickly plants and creepy bugs.
I thought it was just work. We were to head out into various forest locations, take samples, Jack would do some hocus pocus and take some readings, I would record measurements, blah blah blah.
I had no idea that I was jumping through life-changing hoops. Had I known I would have dressed a little nicer and at least combed my hair.
Apparently he was checking for all kinds of character compatibilities.
Can you navigate your way through a forest? Uh, no.
Can you tell one kind of tree from another? Uh, this one has a big trunk and that one has a wee skinny trunk.
Do you have any sense of direction? I think so, but apparently that’s up for debate.
Can I send you a half mile through the forest back to the car and have you spend 30 minutes tearing everything apart looking for a tool that I actually have in pocket without you getting really mad? Uh, no.
Can you climb this tree? Why would I want to do that?
Can you survive tromping through the forest in the pitch dark and pouring rain? Why would I want to do that?
What’s the appropriate response when someone throws a temper tantrum because their equipment is getting rained on? Get out of the rain, goofy.
How cold is cold to you? 60F.
How many layers of clothing do you need for 50F weather? Nine. Plus gloves.
Would you rather camp in the cold or stay in a warm cozy motel? That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.
Can you walk, chew gum and record measurements without tripping over or running into a tree? Uh, apparently not.
And the all important can-we-be-comfortable-with-each-other questions: Are you comfortable peeing in nature? And are we comfortable farting in front of each other? Uh, no and HELL, NO!
Really, it’s a miracle we ended up married.