Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Being Together

The husband and I go out on Monday nights. If you follow us on Twitter, you probably know this. We go to a local bar and drink cocktails. We do it for fun, and sometimes we do it for research.

Research takes many forms, and one of the forms it takes is to meet up with people to talk about cultural phenomena, the latest books films, games and comics that are on the market, and what people think of them.

Anyway, we were out on Monday night in our usual bar. We’ve been going there for a couple of years, and it’s generally empty on Mondays, apart from our little group. This week it was heaving with people, because one of the staff was leaving. 

The barman on a Monday is always Isaac and the lead waiter is always Leeton, so we know these two wonderful gents pretty well. We know other members of staff, too, but not all of them. Staffing levels are much higher on a Friday and Saturday night than they are on our regular Mondays.

We have become immensely fond of Isaac and Lee, and now we are sorry to say goodbye to Leeton. He’s not a local, and he’s decided that it’s time to go home. The bar was full of the staff wishing him a bon voyage, and we got to meet all the ones we only see from time to time, and one or two we hadn’t met before.

I had a fascinating conversation with one of them.

I imagine that when any bar has regulars they become subjects of conversation for the staff, particularly when those regulars drink cocktails on Monday nights. I guess that isn’t very usual. I suppose not every bar has a pair of writers for regulars either. All of the staff seemed to know who we were and what we did. That isn’t very surprising when you consider that Isaac is a fan of comics and SF/F and he’s a gamer, too. His brother Max has become a regular in our discussion groups.

People who don’t know each other very well often talk about work, I suppose. I know it’s a question we all ask socially, “What do you do?” Foxy said, “You’re the writer, aren’t you?” But it wasn’t really the work that he was interested in. He was interested in the relationship the husband and I have with one another.

The husband and me, in it for the long haul
Foxy used to walk his wife to school when he was eight years old and they lived in the same village. He understands the closeness of long, enduring relationships. He has an inkling of what it might be like for two people to live and work together, and it interested him. It made me think about it too.

Many people, over the years, have stated categorically that they couldn’t do what the husband and I do, but I honestly don’t think that it’s the way people perceive it to be. Yes, the working relationship dovetails into the personal relationship sometimes, so that we talk about work ‘at home’, but doesn’t everybody? Yes, there are days when we spend a lot of time together, but I think people might be surprised by how isolating the work can be; physical proximity doesn’t actually mean that our heads are in the same place. When the husband’s in the zone, nothing penetrates, and that goes for me too. Yes we are two strong, independent people, but when it comes to the work, the husband is absolutely the boss, and yes he can be my boss ‘at work’ and still respect me ‘at home’.

Then there’s the whole question of time.

Time’s a funny thing. I’ve always been a little obsessed with time; I’ve talked about it before on the blog. Most couples spend, I don’t know, maybe four or five waking hours a day together. We spend at least sixteen waking hours a day together. Somewhat unlike other couples, we also socialise together.

I don’t know if the husband and I are bonded in a different way from other couples, but I do know that we are bonded in a way that gets us through life very much together. It is not because we are alike, because, frankly, we could not be more different. It might be because we have some kind of creative instinct in common, I suppose. It might be because we recognise or understand something in each other. Who knows, it might even be because we spend a very great deal of time together.

I sometimes joke that the husband and I have a weirdly dysfunctional, massively co-dependent relationship, and, who knows, there might be some truth in that, too. But, if it’s true it doesn’t alter anything, because it seems to work.

Mostly, people who find out that the husband and I are writers ask about the work, Foxy asked about the life. It revealed something very interesting about the man. I shall have to think about it for a while longer to work out whether in trying to find answers to his questions, I discover something new about me or the husband or about us. There’s plenty of time to do it; it would appear that there’s a chance we could spend four or five lifetimes together.

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