September 5, 2001
The Question


Katie Couric was wearing her biggest, brightest, scariest Smiley Face this morning.

Of course, if *I* had just come off the longest vacation in the history of vacations, I would probably be smiling like that too. But I think Katie was smiling -- as were Matt and Al and Ann and all the rest of the wacky NBC morning crew -- because The Today Show was about to do what it does best: namely, hosting a big cheesy overhyped non-event masquerading as "news" (and sponsored by The Incredible Edible Egg).

In this case: an *intimate wedding* in front of four bazillion viewers.

As I dressed for work, I watched the bride- and groom-to-be preparing for the biggest day of their lives -- posing for photographers, haggling with hairdressers, signing endorsement deals -- and you know what I was thinking? I was thinking I wonder how long it'll take before someone asks them The Question.

You know The Question I mean: The Question that all newlywed couples are asked, regardless of whether they've been married for five months or five minutes. (And no, NOT the So are you planning to start a family? question ... or the So where are you going on your honeymoon? question ... or the So what are you planning to do with all that leftover wedding cake? question.)

I'm talking about the So how's married life treating you? question.

We've all asked somebody that question at one time or another: a friend, a co-worker, an annoying second cousin twice-removed, recently returned from the honeymoon. Furthermore, we've all been asked that question ourselves ... those of us who have been married longer than five minutes, anyway. (Dennis Rodman doesn't count.) It's a perfectly logical thing to ask someone who has just tied the knot. I'm getting it at the office all the time now. I'll be standing in the Totem Pole Company lunchroom, slicing my lunch apple, and someone will invariably come up to me and say, "Hey Secra! How's married life?"

My response is always the same: simple, sincere, unembroidered. "Married life is great," I'll say. "Thanks for asking."

I get it in e-mail, too, from friends and readers and former high school classmates. My response to the e-mailed version of The Question is generally more effusive, but still purposely short on details. "Married life is GREAT!!!!!" I'll write. "Thank you for asking!!"

(And I'm even getting it from the occasional Near-Total-Stranger. Last night it was our favorite waitress at the cheap Chinese place. "Married life is great," I said. "Thank you for asking. I'll have the #1 with Sweet Hot & Sour Chicken.")

Do I mind The Question? No, not at all.

Do I answer The Question so enigmatically because marriage has proven to be a disappointment? No. I answer that way mainly because I'm afraid the truth will overwhelm The Questioner (and/or send them into an immediate and irreversible coma) ... the *truth* being that marriage to David surpasses anything that I ever dreamed of or hoped for or imagined that marriage could be, even in my stoopidest most unrealistic Little Secra "Someday My Prince Will Come (And He Damn Well Better Have SHOULDERS This Time)" fantasies ... and that everything is better, now that we're married -- everything, even the stuff that was already so close to perfect it was ridiculous ... and that there are moments, usually when I'm doing something excruciatingly ordinary, like folding his socks, or spooning another dose of Robitussin into his mouth, or simply laying in bed next to him, watching him sleep, when I am so suffused with love for my big goofy handsome husband, and so thrilled to be partnered with him in something as large and as important and as forever as marriage -- oh my god we're MARRIED now!! -- that it's a momentary struggle just to catch my breath ... and that even if I were to get hit by that #51 on the corner of Broadway and Pritchow, tomorrow morning, I would still consider my life to have been blessed beyond measure because I was married to David.

Will I mind being asked The Question five months from now? No ... mainly because by then I'm sure it will be a welcome relief from The So when are you two crazy kids going to start that family? Question.

(I'm already working on my response to that one.)

one year ago: preserving grandma

throw a rock