During the last week my husband has been falling asleep on the couch in the arms of his laptop, leaving his side of our bed cold every night.
My husband is a brilliant man. How this brilliance realizes itself is in periods of total obsession with specific articles of knowledge that he wants to grasp. When he wants to get in better shape, he develops boot camps that turn the strongest among his friends to weak-kneed puddles of whey. When he wants to learn a skill on the computer, he is frustrated in his plans to spend the requisite forty-five minutes every day of practice, given his other commitments. He does no half-measures. Everything is done either to the point of infatuation, or it simply isn't worth doing.
Last week, he took the week off of his regular work to attend a conference on Network Security and came home every day full of the kind of zeal and enthusiasm one might expect from someone who has received wizard training, or lessons in wingless flight. As soon as the dinner dishes were done and the six year-old put to bed, he would station himself at his spot on the couch, with both his desktop computer with screen mounted on our wall, and a laptop at his feet, and attempt to unlock what apparently were the keys to the Universe.
During the periods of time when he has stopped his activities long enough to converse with the children, he has spoken in tongues:
"I'm going to be monitoring the network traffic, sniffing packets and reconstructing TCP streams. So if you're going to any web sites that you don't want me to know about, this would be a good time to stop."
"What?" Both my older children reacted with surprise and consternation.
"I'm not really sure how to make that any clearer." Mike replied.
"What he means," I said "is that he can see everything you do and if you are looking at stuff on the internet that you don't want us to see, you should stop now."
"Oh." They both said.
Yesterday, I went over to the couch, rubbed his back and let him know that we sort of missed him. He sighed, kissed me and explained in Pig Latin:
"I have been trying different Linux repositories and kernel versions, and I can't get my Wi-Fi adapter to work. I've had to re-install the OS five times because of that."
Don't you hate when that happens?
I hate when my husband disappears down the rabbit hole of some technological thrill because I miss his company. I understand though because, periodically, I disappear down a blogging rabbit hole and it is probably just as irritating. I appreciate him greatly because his genius with technology is what puts food on our table, and, if there is the hope of our ever owning a car that isn't a thirteen year-old minivan with a cracked windshield and a questionable heating and cooling system, that hope rests on his efforts, not mine.
Sometimes, though, I wish I could be as absorbing as that TCP stream he is so interested in. Maybe I should dress up as a stream of binary code on Valentine's Day.