The Soupster ponders alone time.
Guest Written by Eddy Rau
The Soupster cozied into his first class seat. Using his upgrade from Seattle was a great idea. The reunion of his writing class had been interesting, and now his eyes drooped as he thumbed through the magazine, waiting for take-off. Apologies for the hold-up came from the loudspeaker, as two guys walked in and took the seats behind the Soupster.
“Hmmn…looks like they’re out of a Patagonia catalog,” was his thought as take-off commenced.
“You must have clout somewhere to get a 737 to wait for you!” said a deep voice from behind.
‘Well, this trip is costing me a bundle. Seems my wife equates ten days fishing in Alaska with ten days in Paris. Say, Jake, how do you get away with it? You’ve been going fishing every year.”
The Soupster’s ears perked up. This sounded like a story – it already had politics and economics with overtones of women’s lib.
There was a pause and finally the deep voice replied. “Leland, you were smart to deal with your fishing right up front. Remember that trip around the world Susan and I took a few years ago?”
“Ha-ha, don’t I just? I still get, ‘How come Jake and Susan can afford it and not us?’”
“Well,” said Jake, “my story started when I had to go up to Prudhoe Bay with that spill settlement. It was thought a little fishing stopover might be in order. Then, Susan got all excited about meeting up with me. Instead of saying it was an all-guy fishing trip, I dropped the subject. So, she thought it was just work.”
Jake mused, “I had so much fun with those guys – fishing and drinking and being out on the water. I kept going every year – Susan thought it was all business. That worked for about five years. Then, one weekend, at a barbecue, that damned Al Krankins started in about the fish.”
“Where’d you get this fish? Tastes like real wild salmon!” Blah, blah. “You have friends in Alaska?”
Jake’s voice got wistful. “Susan gave me ‘the look.’ I felt the old bank account shrinking. But, I like a peaceful life, so three months tripping around the world was a small price to pay. Now we negotiate in advance. Susan’s on a New York shopping trip with our daughters.”
The Soupster marveled – was this calculated negotiation a feature of all marriages? It sounded exhausting – not for the first time, the Soupster thanked his stars that he had only himself to answer to. He drifted off, thinking of the nice, quiet evening he would soon be enjoying.
Finally, home! The Soupster walked into the terminal. There was his buddy Sheila, come to give him a ride. He gave her a big hug. And then, the shouts started.
“Hey, Uncle Soupster!!”
“Hi, you old dog!,” said Sheila. “Guess what – my family came up for a surprise visit, and the best part is, they get to stay for a whole week! Will you barbecue fish for us all tonight?”