Dear Valentine: “The other day my girlfriend (let’s call her Sandy) and I were sitting in this nothing-special restaurant, and after the food came and we talked a bit I got out the Macbook Pro to answer some mail. And after about ten minutes I noticed this weird inertia, this anti-matter vibe from across the table. Because while I was working and concentrating, Sandy was just sitting there doing nothing. Really….absolutely dead fucking nothing. I’m a live-and-let-live type, but it started to bother me on some level. Who sits in a chair like a piece of cheese and just plotzes? You have to check emails or write notes to yourself or read a newspaper article or a book or take pictures or talk to the waitress or something…right? You can’t just fucking sit there. Anyway, I started thinking about breaking up with her after I noticed that. Is it me?” — Mark Bledsoe, Akron, Ohio.
Valentine to Mark: We park our cars in the same garage. You can’t just sit in a chair and do nothing, ever. It’s okay, I guess, if you’re sitting on the beach, let’s say, or on a hillside overlooking the north of London…that’s different because you’ve got something to look at. But not in a restaurant. The two golden rules are (a) life is short and then you die, and (b) he who is not busy being born is busy dying. And what Sandy was doing while you were answering emails, to hear it from you, was waiting to die. She might have been thinking serene thoughts but that’s not enough, not in the tap-tap-tap world of 2012. But let’s turn the other cheek and be open-minded and hypothesize that she wasn’t just sitting in her chair and that she was maybe…meditating? Was she doing some kind of breathing thing while she sat there? Were her eyes closed? If she wasn’t meditating then I think your instinct was right. I would dump her.