There are some moments of life that brand themselves into my head and keep popping into the foreground of my mind, like the tune of a catchy song. It’s never the “big” moments that you’d think would define my life; I have very little broken memories of attempting suicide, my marriage went by in a flash, and being pregnant and giving birth are already a haze.
It’s the things that seem small at the time that I can retrospectively identify as a slight but significant shift in my understanding of the world.
It’s great to have a husband with a refined and sophisticated sense of humor but everything comes at a price. The price having an entertaining husband is that he sometimes is so entertaining that he loses himself in his is jokes and completely ignores what I am saying.
“We had to read Faulkner in high school but I-”
“You know, I’m thinking of penning a stream of consciousness novel about stuffed animals. I’m going to call it the Round and the Furry. Thoughts?”
“Very nice. Catchy. But-”
“Oh no I got a better one. One dog and his journey through India to find the perfect dish: The Hound and the Curry.”
“Wow. You’ve out done yourself.”
“No, no. Okay a really bizarre apocalypse about people dying in strange ways: The Drowned and the Scurvy. Alternatively, an expose about fat people called The Round and the Curvy. I can do this all day.”
“… Can I finish what I was saying?”
And then this memory keeps forcing it’s way into my consciousness every single time this happens.
I’m in the car with the happiest couple I’ve ever met. I mean I’ve never seen a moment of tension between these two, never heard one speak anything slightly ill of the other, never seen any scrap of drama between them. Wife mentions something in passing about the driver in front of her. Husband is so completely engrossed in his computer that he completely ignores her. Wife catches my eye in the back seat and with a slight smirk gestures her hand over her head.
“Like totally over the head,” she says quietly.
My world stopped on that day. What?? Yes folks, she just let it go. There was was not a hint of sarcasm in her voice. I was very sure that he had broken the rules of relationships. I mean you always listen to your partner like every word out of their mouth is a freshwater pearl. HE was the one who taught me that! Or you at least say you need five minutes. But there he was just tapping away and she just let it go soeasily and so darn casually.
No shit. So that’s how relationships are supposed to go. Turns out you don’t criticize each and every mistake that your partner makes and somehow that allows things to run smoothly.
Within the next minute Husband looked up from his laptop and said, “Sorry dear. Were you saying something?”
“Nah, not important.”
She was being completely serious. And he believed her.
“Okay,” he replied and went back to his computer.
Every time Oliver acts in this way I relive this memory. I know it’s not random. I can take a hint. I get the lesson I’m supposed to learn.
That lesson can basically be summarized as follows: lighten up. There are so many trials and difficulties we must endure in life. Save your energy and your deep consideration for those.
Together, Oliver and I must raise a daughter and hopefully other children to come. We have to survive in a small apartment in New York City with our children. I’m sure we’ll face sickness and death more than once, among our families and friends. We’ll have to weather changes in Oliver’s job and changes in the economy. And sometimes we just struggle, emotionally and spiritually.
To all of that, why would I choose to add additional stress?
I could get upset. Or I could enjoy his wit and humor, appreciate the way that it enriches my life.
Seriously. The Hound and the Curry? I’d read that. And probably still get more out of it than I did Faulkner.