Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today a multitude of technology exists for monitoring health. Apps and watches and even rings to measure sleep patterns, heart rates, blood oxygen levels, respiration rates, miles walked, exercise times and so on. And, yes, I have one of those rings.
Well, and a watch. The watch was a purchase for when I worked at the Drive-In. I could see it in the night, and since I don’t like using my cell phone at work (it’s just disrespectful), it will notify me if there is a message. I can’t usually read them on the watch, but I can read enough to see if it’s important or not, so with rare exception, I can ignore the messages until after work. Yes, I deserve a raise, hint hint hint.
As it turns out, I also have one of those rings that monitor as well. Anybody who knows me, though, knows that I don’t exercise. I mean, I did once, but nothing came out of it so that was that. But I didn’t actually buy this ring to actually monitor my health. In fact, one of my favorite jokes is that now that I’ve purchased the ring, the city coroner shows up at my house every three or four days.
But it’s not the first ring I’ve worn. I think I wore one fairly regularly in high school, but for the most part, whenever I try to wear rings routinely it just doesn’t take. I’ll wear a ring for a few days, but eventually I’d just give up on it. I keep the rings and sometimes wear them on special occasions, but honestly, wearing rings just isn’t me.
There is one time in my life that I wore a ring daily, and a ring that I truly enjoyed wearing. If you haven’t guessed it yet, yes, I’m talking about my wedding ring. I wore it proudly for almost two years before my then-wife broke my heart, quite literally if you consider the timing of my heart attack. Although I did very much love the woman I married, she changed as she slid back into alcoholism. When we divorced, I didn’t miss her, but I do very much miss being married.
I loved being married. It helped me to feel validated, important, and a part of something bigger than I am. I loved having somebody to think about when I was away from her, and to spoil when I was with her. I took pride in wearing that ring, in being seen with it, in feeling its weight on my finger. The day she asked me for a divorce, I took it off, and threw it. Somewhere. I really don’t remember where, though.
The fact is that I want to be married. It was a very brief period when I actually was part of a marriage. I could take off that ring, but for several years, I still felt it. I found myself periodically moving my right hand fingers over the one that had the ring on it, as if it were still there, rotating this imaginary ring on my finger. It would break my heart to realize that I was doing it. I didn’t really feel sad over what I had lost, but rather, what I very much wanted but was never really a part of. Even in the marriage, I was alone which is why I didn’t fight to keep her when she asked me for a divorce. At that moment I realized that I was the only one of us working on the relationship. Even married, I was never really a part of a marriage.
My ring is a placebo. Now I can actually rotate a real ring. I wear it on my index finger, so nobody thinks that I’m actually married. I really don’t want to attract women who want to be with a married man. Now there is an indentation on that finger when I take the ring off (usually to charge it). It feels strange to have the ring off, and if I meet somebody who sees the indentation, it’s not on my ring finger.
Sadly, at this point, it’s too late for me anyway. The ring helps placate my lack of wedding ring, but at the same time it reminds me that it’s not the ring that I want. Anybody who sees it will only see a fitness ring to monitor my health and exercise progress. I wonder what they would think if they could see what it truly represents.