My family was traveling back from North Carolina from our vacation today
just cruisin' and playing the radio, when an old familiar song that
I hadn't heard in quite a while came on. It was not a song about divorce,
but that's my point.
It was Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes. You may recall the
song. The protagonist is lying in bed while his lady slept beside him.
He picked up the paper and found a personals ad (the song is a bit dated
that way). In the ad, someone professes to loving Pina Coladas and making
love at midnight. The ad ends, "then I'm the love you've
looked for. Write to me and escape."
Our protagonist waits not a minute to prepare a poetic response professing
his love for the same things and concludes, "I've got to meet
you by tomorrow noon and cut through all this red tape, at a bar called
O'Malley's, and we'll plan our escape."
By now, you may well be humming the song to yourself in your mind, remembering
its very upbeat tempo and melody. And you probably already know where
I'm going with this post.
Our protagonist admits that he didn't think about his sleeping lady
as he wrote because he was tired of her,
they'd been together too long and had fallen into the same old dull routine.
Here, we have a classic example of growing apart to the point, not of walking
away but needing an escape. And, by escape, I take it that the writer
of the ad and our protagonist mean to literally run away together, though
it could be these two were looking for a tryst, a temporary escape.
Of course, the unthinkable happens. Noon at O'Malley's arrives
and in walks our protagonist's now "lovely lady," who, upon
seeing her man, our protagonist, sighs, "Aw, it's you."
This is where Holmes really carries the song because of the smile in his
voice when he quotes her. She's almost bashful. He is certainly elated.
Now the sound of screeching brakes in my head. WHAT?
These two folks were ready, willing and able to cheat on each other at
a minimum and leave each other at a maximum. Their clandestine rendevous
is only undone when they discover that they were to tryst with each other.
And they are both pleased with that?
I guess that is a possible conclusion to this scenario, and to a fair extent,
I would never see this conclusion in my office because these two odd folks
would not come to me for a divorce, at least not at moment. Maybe one
of them might visit me in the next day or two, after the personals ad
induced rejuvination of their relationship subsided and they had time
to reflect on how dishonest they were being with each other.
There are fairy tales and then there are Grimm's fairy tales. This
song is an example of the latter. It's a variation on the father leading
his two children into the woods to die, at the insistence of their step-mother,
only to be elated when they miraculously escape the witches' oven
and return home. Dad's pleasure that the children escaped the fate
he made likely for them hardly makes for a hollywood ending. Prosecution
is still in order!
Maybe, truly, this absence of analysis of the situation works for some,
however, I can't picture them so much as tying their shoes succesfuly,
given their pleasure at discovering that each was willing to make love
at midnight with someone else.
Rather, I would expect the surprise meeting to break into acrimony and
recrimination. Of course, that wouldn't have made for a love song.
But even recrimination would have been inappropriate, for neither do two
wrongs make a right nor can one complain about the mote in another's
eye while ignoring the beam in his own. The right, though most elusive
response when they uncovered their mutual chicanery, is acceptance. Sit
down at the bar, have a drink, write out an acceptable settlement agreement
on a napkin, and let it go. That, or some serious therapy!
If I am wrong, if my old, jaded divorce lawyer eyes see it soley through
that prism and I have failed to succumb to the romance of the piece, please
write to explain it to me.
Until I am shown the error of my ways, though, I'll maintain that what
this couple needed was authenticity. When she felt compelled to write
the personal ad, that should have served for her as the line in the sand
that her relationship was over. When he responded, he should have felt
that same crossing.
But then, perhaps that is exactly what they did and why they felt there
was no going back, hence their need, their willingness, their intent to
"Escape." As another song goes, "there's 50 ways to
leave your lover."