Jill and Bill

by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.
Not certain we’d qualify as either a Dynamic Duo or just a Nichols & May knockoff but either way we’re a team!  Jill (that’s her) and Bill (that’s me) have been cavorting not with the glitterati but with one another for more years than I can recall, say twenty-five years at least, maybe slightly more.  Doesn’t matter.  The thing is that with few exceptions each of us prefers our company to that of most others. We even abandon our life partners whenever it’s convenient for us to rally. They just get in the way. Seemingly they’re not on the same wave length.  In fairness – lest that sounds condescending (gawd forbid) –  I suspect they feel likewise.  So on all sides it’s a mutual agreement, our quirky coalition. Having Jill and Bill in tow is equivalent to hauling along two mischievous youths. We tend to become giddy and we’re better left alone. In fact on more than one occasion in order to spare the life partners becoming bored or the threat of either or both of them falling asleep on the couch – which has happened – Jill and Bill have arranged to sideline them separate and apart from themselves, once even sending them both to a local restaurant while I entertained Jill for dinner at home in private.  It just works out better that way; everybody’s happier.  And I know we are!

Should you care to understand what it is that cements this shabby relationship I surmise we share a number of traits and interests.  For one thing, we’re both entrepreneurs – she a professional animator, I a Servant-to-the-Rich (a.k.a. lawyer).  We’re both Has-Beens, put out to pasture, retired. Jill worked as an independent contractor for the prestigious Walt Disney Corporation for years and was President and Chief-Everything-Else in her own corporation. I was a sole practitioner which can spawn the spectre of anything from F. Lee Bailey – which I most certainly was not – to something resembling the quaintness and inadequacy of Horace Rumpole, QC – which is quite possible. I am confident to opine that neither of us would have tolerated being in the employ of a large organization; we’re just too headstrong to accommodate others. I wouldn’t say that compromise was part of our capital.Aside from the unquestionable maverick spirit, we both shared something which on the surface might appear less desirable – an affection for the vulgar.  I use the word in its strictest sense; that is, not ribald or indecent, rather indelicate or common, much like you’d expect from Falstaff in a Shakespearean play, belonging to the groundlings but perforce equally colourful and intellectually manageable. Yet it is this seeming declension which paradoxically magnifies our other mutual characteristic – an absorption in art (paintings, crafts, music, photography and almost any other medium of self-expression including mundane diversions such as couture and jewellery). For this reason we’re equally willing to mock our betters as consume the finest Belgian chocolate. Nothing is either too far beneath or above us to be compatible.

No confederacy is built solely upon similarity and ours is no exception. We have our differences. I prefer however not to linger upon that point as it can only erode the fluidity of our communications.  Instead I find we’re both sensitive enough to each other’s wishes to know when to veer left or right to avoid an uncomfortable collision. Perhaps it is our age difference (I am senior by fourteen years) which preserves this economy of observation.  The fermentation of age and the hesitation of youth can at times promote the toxicity of sociability.

I don’t think there has ever been a time when we didn’t rejoice in our community.  We have always been drawn to a repeat performance. At the risk of becoming maudlin I believe we’re approaching that stage when we start to recount all that we’ve been through together. Certainly endurance in any relationship counts for something, the old thick and thin business. I am convinced that I will be hard pressed ever to encounter anyone as inspiring as Jill, not in any profound metaphysical sense, just an everyday feel-good sense.  I flatter myself to imagine she feels the same way. It is the nexus of frivolity, intensity and serendipity which keeps us going. Go team!