Early on in all of my relationships the significant other in question must pass The Test.
Sometimes, this would happen before the person really *was* my significant other. Once, it was with someone with whom I hoped things would develop; another time it was someone I wasn’t all that interested in, but I was curious about what would happen. I thought this was my own special secret test, because it was something that was important to *me*, and something that I silently came up with, and then I found out: everyone else had the exact. same. test.
I use the phrase “everyone else” loosely here. Let me explain.
The Test, you see, is not an actual test (duh) or the answers to questions. The test can sort of be measured by potential significant other’s (hereby referred to as PSO) reaction, but even the initial reaction doesn’t quite cut it. It’s the kind of test where either they pass or they fail, and I think that if you know, you know, and it’s not really ambiguous at all.
What is their reaction a reaction to?
This is camp. This is a little cabin in the woods that began when my great grandfather built the teeny tiny cabin next to it with his own hands. Then some other people with other hands built the main cabin, which burned down or blew over or something in the 1920s, and was rebuilt after that. The current cabin is the replacement. We recently got a stove that is not an antique and has a working oven; we have hot running water most of the time. There is no heat, but there is a fireplace, and our electricity is reliable, even if you can’t run the coffee pot and the toaster at the same time.
This place is amazing.
Oops, I think I just gave away what PSO’s reaction is supposed to be.
A couple of years ago I mentioned to Meredith (Quilt Maker Meredith, as a matter of fact), that I had this test. Meredith’s dad grew up with my grandmother up at camp, so we go way back – her dad pretty much knew my mom in utero. Sort of. And Meredith said that she had the same test! PSO must think it’s amazing, or PSO is just a plain O. O for Other, Ousted, Outcast. O for Obviously Does Not Understand the Awesomeness.
When my sister brought a PSO up to camp a few years ago, he walked in the front door and stopped. He looked around. Things that might have been going through his head: “Amazing. Gorgeous. Gross. Ew, I see mouse poop. Why don’t the lights work? It’s dark in here. I have to stay in approximately five square feet with this girl’s entire family for how long?” We were all sort of watching him, waiting – and he opened his mouth and said, “This place is awesome.”
Win for SisterBird’s boyfriend of almost three years. They started “officially” dating at the end of that weekend, I believe – after he had passed The Test.
Turtle and I went on our first road trip up to NH to see a friend in a road race, and after the race we drove up to camp. It was early May and we hadn’t opened yet – I don’t remember if we could even get inside the house. If we did, it was dark, and cold, and full of cobwebs and mouse poo. We walked around near the water – our dock wasn’t in yet – and we walked around on the neighbor’s dock. We’d been dating for about a month, and I really liked her, and I really thought she could be a big important person in my life – so I was nervous about this trip. Nervous that, like other PSOs before her, she wouldn’t *get* the importance of the place, or that even if she claimed to get it, it wouldn’t click for me. I was nervous that she would find it dirty or boring or “just a cabin in the woods” – which it is, but it’s also so, so much more than that. This place is more home than anywhere else has ever been, and it’s thick with memories of safety, family, fun, comfort, and living. We used to spend entire days just sleeping, eating, reading, napping, swimming, eating, napping… for a week! I really can’t communicate to you how magical this place is, and my pictures won’t really help, and that’s okay.
Anyway, if you hadn’t guessed, Turtle *got* it. She got it and then after we had been back home in reality for a few days, she asked when we could go back. She got giggly and excited when we realized that we would be going up to camp so soon this summer, and our decision to buy a car a few months ago was not just a little bit based in our ability to get up to camp whenever we wanted to.
Win for Turtle.
Last summer, we were visiting our neighbors up at camp on their dock, and one of them mentioned that she had brought someone up and he didn’t get it. Someone else said, “Oh, yeah, he didn’t pass the test?” And I was sort of blown away. Suddenly we were all talking about it, we all knew there was this test, and we all knew that anyone worth anything in our biological family and in our little cove family would pass it. I mean, of course there’s a test, but I didn’t know we all knew about it.
Does anyone else have tests like this, magical places, magical experiences? How long did it take you to realize everyone else had it too? Or is it just the little tiny cove of us?