What are your middle names?
Michael and Lynn. Pretty boring names, but seeing them there like that and realizing they refer to Hobgoblin and me feels very strange. I’m not a “Lynn.” Okay, now I’m having one of those moments when a familiar word all the sudden looks foreign and I’m not sure I spelled it right. It’s especially weird since it’s my own name I’m talking about here …
How long have you been together?
Since August, 1996, married since August, 1998. It’s almost one third of my life at this point.
How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We started dating pretty much right away. It took maybe a couple weeks or so to figure it out 100% for sure, but that’s all.
Who asked whom out?
Neither one did any asking — it just sort of happened. We met when I moved to the Bronx to go to graduate school and Hobgoblin happened to be one of a group of students I hung out with during my first few weeks there. We had a class together — literature of the American Renaissance. We spent some time getting to know each other with the group but soon enough dumped everyone else and started spending time on our own. We had a “first date,” a first formal date in NYC that we dressed up for, but we were already dating, basically, so it didn’t mean quite the thing it usually does.
How old are you?
I just turned 35; he’s 41 and will turn 42 in May.
Whose siblings do you see the most?
Mine. We see all or most of my siblings each year at Christmas and sometimes again in the summer, which isn’t all that often, but they are scattered all over the place: Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and, for the moment at least, South Africa. He has one sister in California whom I’ve only seen a couple of times.
Which situation is hardest on you as a couple?
We’ve always had some uncertainty about where we were going to work and live. We met and married as grad students, both in English, which is a difficult field for one person to get a job in, let alone two, let alone two in the same location. So along the way there was always the question about who would get a job first, whether we could get jobs in the same place, who would follow the other if we couldn’t, where we would be willing to live for the sake of a job or two, etc. We got very lucky and found two jobs in the same area, for which I’m very grateful. But we’re still dealing with uncertainty, as neither of us is tenured. It’s looking likely, though, that we will be able to stay where we are. Then perhaps the question will be whether we want to stay here, but we can deal with that one later.
Did you go to the same school?
We went to the same grad school, but very different high schools and colleges. Our undergrad experiences couldn’t have been any more different — he went to a very large public university where you got ignored and I went to a small liberal arts college where you got babied. Both of us survived.
Are you from the same home town?
Nope — we’re from opposite coasts. I’m from western New York state; he’s from California.
Who is smarter?
Hobgoblin has a much better memory than I do and is a better writer. I think I have more intelligence of the emotional and social sort. He’s smart with facts; I’m smart with relationships. Is that annoyingly stereotypical or what?
Who is the most sensitive?
It very much depends on the situation. I probably am, generally speaking, but there are times Hobgoblin will worry about something I’m able to brush off. I think, though, that I spend more time worrying and obsessively repeating conversations in my head to try to figure them out, so I guess that would make me more sensitive.
Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We eat out at lots of places — it’s one of our favorite things to do. There are maybe half a dozen restaurants we can walk to in our little town, dozens more we can easily drive to, and thousands of them just a train ride away in Manhattan. We do our best to support them all.
Where is the furthest you have travelled together as a couple?
California and Cancun. We went to Cancun for an academic conference. Really.
Who has the craziest exes?
Probably Hobgoblin, but we never shared a whole lot of details, which is just fine.
Who has the worst temper?
Hobgoblin will lose his temper only rarely, but when he does, he really loses it. I don’t have much of a temper if you mean yelling and throwing things, but I’m plenty prone to fits of irritation and pouting, which is probably worse.
Who does the most cooking?
Hobgoblin. He does all the cooking, in fact. I was all set to learn how to cook when I met Hobgoblin, and it just never happened.
Who is the most stubborn?
I’m not sure. Maybe me, but just by a little bit. And of course, it depends on what we’re being stubborn about. Okay, probably me. Hobgoblin has enough of the laid-back California attitude that I generally get my way. I just don’t like to admit it.
Who hogs the bed most?
Me, but I’m not a horrible bed-hog. Sometimes I’ll wake up with more covers than I should have though.
Who does the laundry?
That would be me.
Who’s better with the computer?
Hobgoblin is, but we’re both pretty good with them. I’d say we’re equally good at figuring out new programs and software, but Hobgoblin knows more of the technical stuff than I do.
Who drives when you are together?
It’s about equal. On long drives we’ll take turns. On short trips Hobgoblin is more likely to drive, unless it’s at night, in which case I take over. The glare of headlights bothers him more than it bothers me. I’m more comfortable driving in the snow too, having had tons of experience in my Rochester youth.