Urban legend has it that if a frog is placed in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out. But if the frog is placed in a pot of cold water, and the water is heated slowly, the frog will laze about happily, making no attempt to escape.
Mack moving in with me two months after we met was akin to placing me in a pot of boiling water. I went from living alone for 25 years, to sharing a two-bedroom condo with a man I hardly knew. After a few weeks of cohabitation, I was making lunges up the side of the pot. I didn’t actually put forth a full effort. If I had wanted to make it over the lip of the pot, I could have done it. But when Mack saw my apparent attempts at catapulting to freedom, not wanting to be left alone in a pot of boiling water, he jumped the fuck out.
Had we heated the water more slowly, would Mack and I be cohabitating blissfully? I think the chances would have been much better that way. But we were in the midst of the first stages of love. The part when all you can think about is how much you want to be with the other person every moment of every day. You can think of nothing else. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep. You just want to be with this person who you never thought you’d find, and know you never will again. So together, we jumped into the pot of boiling water. And Mack jumped back out. (Okay, so maybe I pushed him.)
Even so, two and a half months later, the pot is pretty enticing. To us both. After everything we’ve been through these past months, the love still is there. The desire to be together, still is there. We want it to work out. We want to get back into the pot. We want to get married. And we want it to last. Wanting it to last, we are taking things slower this time around.
This time, if we jump into cold water, and slowly turn up the heat, slowly integrate our lives, will we do the breaststroke around the pot in utter bliss? (Setting aside, of course, that eventually we boil to death.)
According to contemporary biologists, a frog submerged and gradually heated will jump out. Also, Mack and I are not frogs.