We don't all eat the same food in our household.
People sometimes ask us who cooks, but we don't cook or eat as a group. I don't eat the same food as my husband and we don't even eat at the same time or even in the same place. There's a table in our kitchen, and we sometimes eat there — often not. We have different shelves in the fridge and store cupboard, and mostly don't even know what the other has bought or is currently eating. We have different tastes. Sometimes, if one of us is very tired or busy, or if one of us has bought something extra delicious and wants to share it just for joy, then we do. Usually not.
In the same way, our minds live in different places.
Yesterday, instead of going to our own chapel community in the country at Pett, I went with my husband to a different chapel where he was the preacher appointed for that day. Later, after we'd eaten our (separate, different) midday meals, he and I sat and chatted, just to enjoy each other's company.
He asked me if I'd seen anything of the new TV drama Back To Life, saying he'd found it fascinating — captivating and somewhat disturbing. I'd seen trailers, but it looked like a programme I'd rather avoid. He said he'd gone on to watch Killing Eve — had I seen that? No (nor wish to).
While my husband, in his spacious, rather Sherlock-Holmes-y room, on his iPad, had been absorbed in the tension of tightly-written dramas, I — on my Macbook, in my tiny cell of a room — had been watching short videos about people who live in vans and RVs, or in tiny houses and bow-top caravans, in cob houses and mud domes, about foragers and minimalists and those who embrace voluntary poverty.
Listening to him I realised that though our bodies inhabit the same geographical space, our minds do not. We swim in different seas, we wander through different territories; we haven't been in the same place at all, not whatsoever. Like people sleeping side by side in a big bed, each on their separate astral travels, wandering in different dreams.
This is an intriguing feature of the electronic age. Back in the 1970s, even if you were in a quite different room while a member of your household watched, say, The Wednesday Play on one of the three/four TV channels then available, you would overhear — you would be aware of the imaginative territory into which they had explored even if you hadn't travelled with them. And if they had been investigating new thoughts or ideas in their reading, you'd have seen the books lying about even if you'd not read them yourself.
But it's different now. Unless I tell him, my husband hasn't the faintest idea what voyages of the mind I've undertaken, what realms I've explored. Most of what we listen to comes into our heads through earbuds, there is no overlap, no possibility of a Venn diagram describing interlocking worlds of experience and imagination.
It could be the easiest thing in the world to live together as polite strangers, forgetting what any kind of intimacy might have meant. Because we don't want that to happen, we talk to one another. Sometimes the conversations are somewhat curtailed — "Have you watched Killing Eve?" "No." "Are you likely to?" "No." — but often, as today, we talk about threads and exchanges he's wandered through on Facebook, and I show him my latest blog post, and we enjoy each other's company.
Wandering off. What I do instinctively. I have to remember not to.