Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sometimes I keep secrets.

It's true. For example, I didn't tell you that I got a call for an interview. I didn't tell you that I went on that interview. I didn't tell you that the next day the office manager called me up and offered me the job. And I didn't tell you that I took it.

Sometimes I get in this mood where I just don't want to tell people what I'm doing. I didn't tell anyone, anyone at all, that I got the interview. Not my best friend who I had dinner with the evening before. Not my fiance who I live with. And then after I went to the interview, I still didn't tell anyone. Oh, I almost did. It was on the tip of my tongue a dozen times. But I kept it to myself, ultimately.

And then on Friday, the office manager called and asked if I could start on Monday. And then I couldn't really keep it a secret any more. So I told Jonathan, because he was going to find out anyway when I left the house before him on Monday morning. I could have waited until Sunday, probably, but I didn't want to run the risk of upsetting him. This morning I'm feeling like I needn't have bothered, and in a little bit you'll see why.

Why did I keep mum? I don't know. A lot of reasons. To feel like my life is my own, I think, is the usual cause. But in this particular instance, I think it's more about the fact that it's not a job that I want. In fact, when I hung up the phone with good ol' Maryann, all I really thought to myself was, damnit.

It's a part time receptionist job at a small personal injury law firm out here in Astoria. One look at my resume and they were hooked. I mean, I've worked in a real live law firm - in Manhattan, no less! I can use a computer, even! And when they had me answer the phone on a trial run, I said the attorney's name right on the first try! I was a shoe-in.

The money is, of course, shit. But it's steady, and more than I'm making at the coffee shop. It's actually the same hourly pay, but I just can't do five days on the night shift; I don't have the stamina for it. I want to keep working there though, Friday and Saturday nights hopefully. Though in really thinking about it, that might be a suicide mission. I might need to only do Saturday nights. I feel like I'm betraying the manager, my friend, but on the other hand there are many people on our staff who are begging for hours, so this might actually relieve some pressure.

As became entirely evident this morning though, I'm not the only one who keeps secrets. Jonathan does too. A week or so ago, while we were out, he asked me if I had a stamp. I said that I indeed do, but that it was back at the house. This morning I remembered the request and asked him if he needed it, and he said not yet but that he would. I asked him what it was for, and he said, "oh nothing". I asked him why he wouldn't tell me, and he said he had to mail something to the government. I have precious little patience for this kind of evasion, and so I persisted and asked what exactly it was that he needed to mail to the government.

I suppose he realized that I wasn't going to give up, or maybe it dawned on him that he really should tell me, so finally said that he owes back taxes, not for this year but for last year, his 2006 return. Ok. Fine. Why the hell is that something he was keeping from me?

He is completely baffled as to why it would upset me that he didn't share this information with me, that he in fact made a noticeable effort to prevent me from discovering it. Hmm, gosh, why would I want to know important details of his financial life? It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that we're supposed to be getting married, now could it? You know, it might concern me just a teeny tiny bit, seeing as once we sign on the dotted line, I can be held responsible for his fiscal follies whether or not I even know about them...

Not that I think he's going to bury us in debt or force us into bankruptcy or something. It's really the principle of the thing; the fact that a tax screwup is no small affair, and in just a couple of years we'll most likely be filing our taxes jointly. Do I expect him to open up his checkbook and show me each debit and credit? No. But I do expect to be told about major financial events, if not up front then at the very least when I ask, or when it's evident to me that something is going on.

He's always been a bit covetous of his financial life, but we'd made some progress I thought. We've set up a saving plan for the wedding, and we've been sharing a credit card and paying bills together for well over a year now with no problems. Why does he hide these things from me? Not entirely sure - something about male pride and the way his father raised him. I've been fairly confident that we'll be able to work it out, that he'll come around and realize that in the kind of household we're running, he'll have to be more forthright. But this kind of event really shakes me. I hear my own voice saying that who you marry is the person you're already with, not some magical new person who is changed by the title "husband".

I've watched the way that money can strain a relationship for my entire life. I've tried to talk to him about all this, many times actually. The conversations are exactly as productive as those I have with the two plants growing in my window. The whole thing has put me in a superbly bad mood, and he has no idea why I'm now "suddenly" so grumpy and is walking around our apartment as if on eggshells, thin ice, broken glass. This, despite the fact that an hour ago I said to him quite clearly "It really disturbs me when you hide major financial stuff from me.", and that's exactly when the bad mood started. But no, my mood's a total mystery that certainly has nothing to do with him, just ask him.

I should probably just leave. Especially because now he's gotten wrapped up in some kind of work-related drama, as often happens during his busy season, so there's absolutely no chance of me drawing him into a proactive conversation or even a fight.

Ugh. So not how I wanted to spend my Saturday.

No comments: