Does your spouse have a habit that drives you mad?
After nearly 19 years of marriage, Basil and I have managed to negotiate numerous sticking points:
The “how hot should the heat be” and “how cold should the a/c be” two-step. (Wherever he puts the thermostat, I just go after him and put it in the right spot.)
How the groceries should be put away (ditto).
How the yard should look (all his).
How often the gutters should be cleaned and windows should be washed (ditto).
The finer points of laundry (mine, all mine. I’ve endured enough shrinkage, thank you very much. EXCEPT for his dress shirts — where my efforts shortened the sleeves and collars one too many times. Oops.)
The squeezing of the toothpaste tube (never an issue).
Control over the remote (thanks to his early morning work schedule, he’s in bed most nights pretty early into prime time, so the TV is all mine. YES!).
The under-over toilet paper thing (again, never an issue. Of course, that might be because I’m the only person who changes the rolls).
There are lots of other examples, but one in particular that is getting very old.
Basil can remember a telephone number, a bank account number, what he ate for dinner 17 days ago. But the man cannot remember a name and will remember a face only half the time. (He just read this over my shoulder as I typed it and argues that he remembers faces 80 percent of the time, but I think he’s overstating it.)
My station here in our life together is to keep a regular stream of sotto vocce commentary going in his ear: “That is Sue; we met her at a school event.” “Marvin met you in Costco.” “Nick goes to church with us.” Etc.
Without me, he’s lost.
Catherine’s friends are all nameless to him. Any story she tells at supper is punctuated by his asking, “Which one is this?” And I have to remind him that Remy is the girl he drives sometimes to the kids’ volunteer gig at Greenwich Hospital. Or Julia is the girl who lives practically in Port Chester, NY. Or Alana lives up in North Stamford and is Catherine’s friend from camp.
I should save my breath because I will only have to repeat it all again.
He covers up in adult company by referring to other men as “Guy” or “Pal.” Catherine and I cringe every time.
And he devised a system for keeping track of the teen girls who come in and out of our house: There’s “Chorus Girl” and “Movie Girl” and “Party Girl.” I’m not sure their parents would approve.
Apparently outside Greenwich Hospital one recent afternoon, Remy stood waving and waving while Basil tried to puzzle out who she was. Finally at the last second, he got it and waved back, but Remy wasn’t convinced, texting Catherine: “Your dad didn’t know who I was.”
It’s quite possible that the mother and son who slowed down outside the gas station last night to wave a hearty hello to Basil are reading this. To you both, I offer a sincere apology.
I would call to explain, but I don’t know who you are.
Basil didn’t either.