Commentary: Opposites Attract

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(Davis, CA)
Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lyra Halprin is a writer who lives in Davis.

My husband Alan and I are wired differently. I remember a few years ago when we took a hike with our children near the ghost town of Calico, on the way to Death Valley. Suddenly a tiny snake slithered across Alan’s path.

“What kind is it?” 9-year-old Julia asked. “Probably a gopher snake,” Alan said, “although it could be a baby rattlesnake.” Too late I yelled, “Don’t pick it up!” Alan dropped it as it bit him. We screamed. He headed back to the car with Julia to get a Band-aid. I stormed down the trail with 12-year-old Josh. “Why did he do that?” I fumed. “He could die and leave us in the middle of nowhere. How did I end up with him?” Josh turned to me with a smile. “Mom,” he said. “You married him so you’d have more fun, and he married you so he wouldn’t get killed!” 

I still smile at my son’s insight. Alan survived the snakebite, and manages to get me to do things I wouldn’t do alone. I’m a veteran waterskier and wakerboarder now, and have even been known to go on a vacation without making reservations. He confidently lead the way for me and our border collie on a snowshoe adventure during a storm last month. When my bones ache, he lets me complain, packs the food and gear, and we’re off.

 My part of the bargain is to bug him to take his pills, connect with relatives and face our family challenges. Do opposites attract? Lucky for me, they do in our house.