Saturday, March 28, 2015

(Fill In the Blank) Complete Me

My post about Whoopi Goldberg’s reaction to the line “You had me at ‘hello’” from the film Jerry Maguire needs a correction. As I was tidying my work area, I came across a note that made me realize I misquoted Whoopi. The equally-iconic phrase from that movie that drives her nuts is “You complete me.” Her point was that she doesn’t feel she needs someone else to complete her.

I’m happy to have uncovered my note for two reasons. One is that this explains my not being able to remember exactly why the Whoopster didn’t like “You had me at ‘hello.’” My memory may not be that bad after all. Another reason I’m glad is that it gives me a topic for another post. What would complete me?

I love my husband and we have a great marriage but I don’t feel I need him to complete me. This is a good thing, since lately he’s been wandering off to India for weeks at a time. My cats went a long way toward completing me, which may be why it’s lonely around here now that the last one has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. They added a wonderful dimension to my life, and they filled it in many ways, but I never felt they completed me.

After ruminating on this for a few days, I concluded that much like “You had me at,” what would complete me changes in different situations. For example, now that I’m once again watching how much I eat and keeping a food journal, what would complete me right this minute is a bowl of coconut almond ice cream.

My first car, a 1967 Volkswagon Beetle, probably completed me. Sigh. I had it for 18 years and 100,000 miles and we went on some great trips together. I’ve had three Honda Accords since then. They get me from point A to point B and back. That’s about it, although I do like the heated seats that came with my current Accord (bought used; I didn’t go looking for that feature). These days I’d be inconvenienced without my car, but it doesn’t complete me.

Female condo owners who are enamored with their master bathroom suites might entertain the notion that their Jacuzzi tubs complete them. I haven’t used ours yet and we’ve been here almost six months. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. I just haven’t used it as a Jacuzzi. I set up a collapsible clothes drying rack in the middle of it. That’s where I drape laundry that I don’t want to put in the dryer. It’s perfect for that: out of the way and I don’t have to worry about water dripping on the floor.

Male readers might have similar feelings about their Weber grills. We have one on our deck; it came with the condo. As with the Jacuzzi, we haven’t used it yet. All I can say about it thus far is that it complicated clearing the snow off the deck this winter. It will have to go a long way this summer to redeem itself, much less to complete me.

My writing fulfills something within me—to a point. But complete me? Maybe if I had a higher profile or more recognition. I doubt that would change things, since I write for my own enjoyment and not for critical acclaim. I sometimes go for days without writing anything. When it comes to completing me, you’d be smarter to put your money on the Jacuzzi.

I spend a lot of time on my computers in retirement. My desktop Mac is my preferred computer, but my older Mac is also indispensable. That’s the one with the tower on the floor and the ancient Sony monitor that Lily used to curl up on. It has Photoshop and QuarkXPress (desktop publishing) software on it, but it’s no longer hooked up to the Internet. My MacBook Air is highly portable, and I use it a lot for drafting my essays, but it gives me kinks in my neck. So none of these toys can claim to complete me.

Perhaps that’s a good thing. When we reach a point where we feel complete, doesn’t that mean we’re finished? Nothing left to do or pursue? No more dreams to chase after?

When I think about how much I use all my computers, I feel like I’ve come full circle. My first job out of college was programming mainframes in basic assembler language. I’ve made many stops from there to here, each one contributing a piece to the person I am today. This makes me realize that I know how to fill in that blank after all.

The journey completes me.

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