Nitwitness (3 of 5)

They’d bicker more if it weren’t for the marijuana. They cut their freshmen brains on it, together at Cal in 1968. They’d smoke dope and play pool or do newspaper puzzles, or watch TV. Star Trek was first-run then, and pot made the show brilliant. It tweaked their classes more challenging and their arguments at once more esoteric and more entertaining.

They smoke it still, every night if they have it, and they usually have it. They get it from Keith’s old roommate Robert, who grows it on his place up the coast, or from Greg their gay gardener, who buys it from a guy who gets it from a man who acquires it for medicinal purposes and doesn’t use it. The marijuana is much stronger than it was 30 years ago, and it costs more than garnets, but Keith and Marnie keep smoking it every night. They still manage to get high enough that any motivation to argue with each other dissipates like the smoke tumbling upward in the lamplight of their room.

Morning is another matter. Marnie is often irked then, and she’d pick a fight if she didn’t have to get to work. Sometimes she’s irritated enough that she makes time, in the car during the commute and even spilling onto the street after they park, unhappy enough that she harangues Keith on a corner. That never looks good. It doesn’t accomplish anything either, but Marnie seems unable to control herself. She says it’s frustration but it looks like rage. She wonders if it’s hormones and tries to drink less coffee; I wonder if it’s her brain and bring the Prozac up again.

If they stop commuting together, and if they continue smoking at night, they’ll probably stay married till one of them dies. But they’re practical people; it just doesn’t make sense for Keith to drive alone.

The strange thing is how much better Keith looks than Marnie when they argue. The fact is, she usually has justification for her anger and an organized argument. But no matter what words or body language she uses, she comes off as bitchy and strident. He appears put-upon but patient.

(continued next Wednesday)

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