When I told my mom I was dating someone new and that he was a tennis pro, you could feel the weight of the world descend upon her already weary shoulders. Her oldest daughter, who was striking out spectacularly in the dating world, now had a prospect that couldn't have been more unstable. "What exactly does that mean," she asked me. "It means," I said, "that he goes around competing in tournaments." I could tell that this didn't seem one bit legit to her. "Oh you mean the kind of guy who hangs around country clubs and teaches housewives how to hit a ball," she asked. Poor Mom with her six kids and her cooking and cleaning and ironing in suburbia couldn't possibly understand the glamour of my life as the girlfriend of a tennis pro.
Because Andy would be off traveling to play in tournaments around the country, there would be long gaps in our dating. It didn't matter to me. I would get on the bus to go to work in the city every day and pine away for him every night, waiting for him to get back in town and for us to pick up where we'd left off.
After Andy had been gone for many months, I got a letter in the mail. My heart skipped a beat. He was coming back to town and I was the first person he wanted to see. Instead it was a generic Christmas letter. The kind you run through a copier, hit print, and shove in with your Christmas cards. On the bottom scrawled in pen it said, "Living in California now. Hope things are going well!!!" California? Hope things are going well? I was sitting on a bus choking on exhaust every day, daydreaming about my wedding dress and being the wife of a tennis pro, and all the while he was in California???
Mom wanted to know what I got in the mail and I showed her his hastily scrawled dismissal of our relationship. You could feel the weight of the world lift from her shoulders and get squarely dumped on mine. She would never have to explain to her relatives and church friends that the best her daughter could do was end up with someone who taught housewives how to hit a tennis ball. I, on the other hand, had been flung once again into the deep end of the Loser Boyfriend pool.
Fast forward a few decades and I met another man - an insurance man. I have no recollection of how or when we met but I do remember there being long, lingering talks about deductibles and protecting our house, cars, and family jewels. One time he made a visit to the house to discuss all this. He told us that he and his wife were a very exciting couple - he being the insurance man, her a librarian. I found this to be funny and honest and I liked Mr. Insurance Man even more. Over the course of the next twenty years I would talk to him occasionally. Cars would come and go, kids would get their drivers license and need to be added, accidents would happen, and each time I was grateful for his help. A few years ago I had a question about our homeowners and a painting contractor who never finished the job so I called him to see if I had any recourse. He suggested that the next time I get a contractor to get a copy of his insurance policy as I might be able to collect from them. "Oh, I do have that," I said and he heaped praise on me. "Maybe you'll get something from them, maybe not but I can tell you hardly anybody does that and they should when they are having work done on their house so good for you for asking for it."
I think my insurance man thought I was very smart.
Over the years, though, this insurance kept going up a lot. Each year when the homeowners bill would come the prior incremental increases turned into hundreds of dollars. I thought this was typical of everyone due to more destructive storms, wildfires, and tornadoes causing so much property damage. If the subject ever came up and I thought to ask others, though, it seemed I was paying way more than I probably should be. Then I would go down the rabbit hole of quotes and immediately get overwhelmed and put it aside for another day. Days would become months and then years and another bill would arrive and the mortgage company would pay it and I would repeat the cycle.
This year when our escrow account was short twice by a significant amount, I decided to finally get serious about our policies. My biggest worry, though, was having to tell my long-time insurance man that I was dating another. That my loyalties now lay with someone else. I would get flustered just thinking about it. What were Insurance Man and Librarian Wife going to do without our business? I dreaded the conversation.
In talking with my new insurance agent I found out that once I was committed to them they would notify his agency. They would be the bad guys and I was off the hook for delivering the news of our break up. Still, I thought, after twenty years he would probably want to know what happened, what he could do, how he could keep us as the loyal customers we'd always been. I practiced imaginary conversations in my head, each time thinking I'd probably end up paying for two insurance policies because cancelling anybody isn't my strong suit.
None of that happened. After all those years there was no begging, no crying, no asking for forgiveness, no request to patch things up and make them better. In black and white there was a Notice of Cancellation that came in the mail. An abrupt end to a long insurance marriage and that was that. For days I thought about calling him and saying, "Geez,
Once in awhile Baby does get put in the corner but when she does she saves more than 50% on her insurance and has imaginary conversations to keep her company. And Mr. Science Guy. She's got that too. Things are going well.