Our Own Devices

store.jpgLeft to my own devices, I would spend my time off in one of two ways: sitting on a beach drinking local beer after a three-dive day, or sitting on my couch watching movies, reading Esquire, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair or a good rock bio.

And in fact, I’ve done a fair dose of the latter in the last two weeks, plowing through Julianna Hatfield’s “When I Grow Up,” Jancee Dunn’s “But Enough About Me” and Sting’s “Broken Music.”

The problem with my own devices, though, is that they tend towards entropy. Refrigerators lie fallow, bills unpaid, laundry unwashed.

Things fall apart.

Luckily, I am not left to my own devices anymore. There is an agent of change in my life, and her name is Abbigail Keller Wagner.

And so, thanks to Abbi’s foresight, motivation and teamwork, I entered the new year with a savings account for the first time in my life. I have two new suits. And today, we’re sharing (in the words of Frank The Tank) “a pretty nice little Saturday” running (in the words of my wife) “errands.”

Already, as the sun falls behind Lincoln Center, we have visited J Crew, Best Buy, William Sonoma, and Bed Bath & Beyond. I am currently sitting in the “man chair” (my name for any piece of furniture situated near the entrance of a store to appease male loafing while their respective female’s browse) of Gracious Home as Abbi browses the 70% Off Store-Wide Sale.”

I, unfortunately, have very little to offer the outing short of muttering things like “I’m such a misanthrope.” Which I’m not, but sometimes consider as I walk down Broadway on a Saturday afternoon.

I’m not big on wandering in and out of stores (especially houseware shops fill of tchotchkes like cocktail napkins, monogrammed bottle stoppers or general shelf-oriented nick nacks), but I can appreciate the hunt, and I can appreciate that, even while shopping makes me feel claustrophobic, it is an effortless, joyful for pursuit for Abbi.

And the hands-down best part of the last ten days has been spending time with Abbi: paddling with her, playing cards with her, watching her with our families and friends and noting these sorts of complimentary components to our personalities. She doesn’t goad me, or guilt me, or give me ultimatums. She makes me want to be a better, more patient, more giving man. Even if that means twenty minutes in Bed Bath & Beyond comparing humidifiers.

I’m not sure I’m being clear, here. But my time is up; she’s ready to move on to Banana Republic. The good news is, the northern terminus of our “pretty nice little Saturday” is Fred’s Tavern on 80th & Amsterdam.

Pretty smart, my wife. And pretty awesome.