Q. So you guys commute between New York and Atlanta?
Q. And you’ve been doing it how long?
A. Ten years.
Q. Don’t you like each other?
A. We quite enjoy each other’s company.
Q. Ha-ha, that must make marriage a lot easier, right? Cuz you don’t have to see each other all the time!
A. Yes, it is wonderful. When we were looking into each other’s eyes swearing our wedding vows, promising to love each other forever, each of us was secretly thinking, “I hope no one is taking this too literally.”
Q. You must be seeking someone with whom to cheat on your spouse. Allow me to volunteer!
A. Thank you so much for your concern. Oh, gosh, is that the time? I promised my neighbor that I would decalcify her llama this afternoon and I still haven’t bought the safety goggles. Toodles!
Q. Why don’t you both just settle in New York? I hear there are a lot of good schools in New York.
A. Thank you for your suggestion. This has never crossed our minds before.
Q. Have you tried Columbia? I bet they have a good English department.
A. They have an excellent English department. We’ll just give them the good news that I’m available to improve it, shall we? Problem solved.
Q. Why don’t you just get your employer in Atlanta to hire him?
A. Have you ever tried to get a group of academics to do anything? Even something that doesn’t cost money?
Q. It doesn’t seem like you’re trying very hard.
A. Yes, the fact that we do not have jobs in the same city tells you more about our laziness than it does about the academic job market.
Q. Well, don’t worry, I know another couple who spent their entire lives commuting bi-coastal, they’d just see each other in the summers, and they finally got to live together after they retired. Then one of them died. But they were together for a couple years first. Doesn’t that make you feel better?
A. Perplexingly, no.
Q. So…. why haven’t you had children? Clock’s a-tickin’!
A. I’m sorry, the number you have dialed is not in service at this time. Please try your call again later.
Rachel Trousdale is a poet, critic, and professor. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Literary Imagination, The Atlanta Review, The Yale Review, and many other places. She is the author of a Very Serious Scholarly Book, Nabokov, Rushdie, and the Transnational Imagination, and is now working on a project on humor in modern poetry.