12 August 2019

Quality Time

In order to understand this post, you'll have to be familiar with the five love languages. You don't need to take the quiz if you don't want to, just be familiar with the five different kinds.

Read the overview? Good.

I am a STRONG quality-time, with a healthy helping of words of affirmation. I scored a perfect zero in acts of service (which explains a lot for those who know me in real life).

On one hand, quality time is the easiest. It requires no money (gifts), very little prep (gifts), not a lot of effort (acts of service), no eloquence (words of affirmation), and no physical contact. Certainly all of these can go into loving a quality time person, but they're by no means requirements. Literally all you have to do is sit with us and talk/listen. Honestly one of my favourite things to do with my college friends was to go to the grocery store. Nothing crazy, nothing fancy, nothing expensive. Let's just get in the car and drive to your chiropractor appointment and the car wash together. We don't even need to get coffee. All I want in my life is to spend time sitting in the same room (or vehicle) as you, with more than 60% of your undivided attention (if you're scrolling through your phone or watching a movie, that absolutely DOES NOT count and in fact actively makes me feel even more unloved because you have a beautiful chance to share a few moments with me as another human and you're deciding that your Instagram is more important).

But on the other hand, quality time is the hardest. You can't just toss us a hug or a pat on the back and we're good for another three months. You can't take out the trash and expect us to suddenly be okay. You can't buy our satisfaction with gifts and you can't smooth over a wound with some nice words. The very thing that makes us easy is the thing that makes us impossibly difficult.

Every other love language can have their needs satisfied in thirty seconds or less. But not quality time. We are not satisfied with a quick 'hi love you bye.' We are time sucks. We are the black hole, the awful vortex in your busy lives that you avoid because you have two meetings and a birthday party and an office dinner and a dance lesson and rehearsal and three classes and you don't have any energy left to give to us, let alone the four or five hours we would prefer -- no, need -- to have from you. God help the parents of the quality time children. You barely have time for yourselves, let alone for us.

And we know that. We know we ask a lot. I cannot even begin to communicate the depth of my guilt that I need you so much and that I interfere with your busy life so much. You have no idea how much I wish I could be as easily satisfied as everyone else. I can't even explain how much I pretend I'm fine or I pretend I'm satisfied with the two-second greeting you give us when everything within me screams for you, for somebody, for anybody, to just spend an afternoon with me, with no limit and no other agenda. I know I'm expected to be okay on my own and so often I pretend that I am, but I'm really not. The need in my soul is vast, and deep, and so incongruent with how our society operates. Nobody knows HOW to just sit and co-exist with another person anymore. We underscore our days with Netflix and Skype meetings and the six o'clock news and sports and Snapchat and Bejeweled knockoffs and the ever-buzzing phone and your quality time friends and family quietly shrivel into dust in the corner, edged out of your lives by f*cking pixels on a screen. In this world of opportunity and money and privilege, the one thing nobody has to give, the one thing nobody can earn, the one thing that nobody can deposit in a savings account for a rainy day is time.

And sometimes I hate that something so impossible is often the literal only thing that I really want from you.