Monday, November 18, 2013

What I Deal With


This is my text exchange with my husband from this afternoon. What this screenshot doesn't reveal is the large span of time that elapsed between the first four blue messages I sent, time that elapsed with no response even after I said "Please acknowledge," which is as naggy as I get. It also doesn't reveal that I had emailed him MUCH earlier in the day about our plans to transfer Hank from my care to his at Hank's basketball practice. I took his lack of response to that as acquiescence, but then as I headed out on my rounds, I started texting to be sure. But Matt often doesn't have his phone anywhere on his person. Or it's face down on his desk and silenced. Or a condor has secreted it in a high mountain aerie.

So then, after more Matt silence, I did what I sometimes have to do and texted Lincoln, Matt's partner. That's phase 2. Lincoln usually has the eyes-on, and can tell me if Matt is in a meeting or has been hit by a meteor, because those are the only two reasons I can think of for his not spending the one instant it would take to text me one time and thereby stop me from unleashing hell.

Can I get a witness?

Usually Matt makes instant contact with me after I've texted Lincoln. Which is why I do it, even though I'm sure Lincoln just adores being a part of our little tableau.

So after "Please acknowledge," I had a brief exchange with Lincoln and then I got Matt's "I'll be there." Now, the rookie wife would have been more admonitory or expressed her displeasure in some more overt way and it would have turned into a snippy exchange. But I've been to that puppet show and here's what I know. Fussing at Matt for anything never did anybody ANY DAMN GOOD.

Do you know this joke?

A man says to his wife, "Honey, if I were to die, would you ever remarry?" She looks somber, but says, "Well, dear, as unthinkable as that prospect is, yes, I can't think you would want me to live out my life alone." The husband says, "No indeed! Tell me though, do you think you would continue to live in this house together?" The wife thinks. "Yes, I suppose I wouldn't want to leave this place of so many great memories. It's a good house, and we would stay here." The husband nods, "Yes, that makes good sense. And tell me, would you keep my things for your new husband, like, would you give him my golf clubs?" And she goes, "Nah, he's left-handed."

That's what I was referencing in my last message, by way of telling Matt, if I could change one thing about him, this would be it, and I don't want to nag, but I swear to the living God. It seems like a small thing, and it is, and I don't know why it gets all over me, but SWEET MARY DOES IT.

And his "ack" for "acknowledge" is his declining to be admonished, even in jest.

They say--and I believe--that when you marry someone, you are marrying some number of problems that will never go away. You will work around them and through them and build Rube Goldberg-type contraptions to compensate for them, and your patience and ingenuity in building these workarounds together is what gets you down the road. You know what I mean. After some years, you don't have to have the fight anymore. You can just gesture to the file folder where the fight is stored. You get me?

And then I think of the whole package that is that guy, and how my relationship with him is my experience of grace on this earth.

And then I'm like OH WHATEVER COME HERE YOU.

19 comments:

Erika W said...

Witness! Whenever I start to fuss about Ted forgetting to do something or refusing to remember that I reminded him to do something, he says, "I'm sorry that I'm such a flawed person. I know it's very hard on you." Then we laugh. They are the whole package.

Becky said...

E, that is beautiful! Yes, exactly. EXACTLY.

Camp Papa said...

Holy Crap! Did you learn that from
your mother???

Becky said...

Camp Papa, PROBABLY.

E, which is not to say that we're letting them off the hook entirely for being SO THE WAY THEY ARE AARGH.

Michele said...

Witness! I gave JR a lengthy text talking to about this very thing. After which he still didn't answer. I then proceeded to give him a verbal talking to that included phrases like, why do I even pay for you to have a phone if you are never going to answer it, text or voice. After which there was a spike in his data usage as he tuned me out to watch ESPN.

delaine said...

Yes! A good man is a gift of grace on this earth. Next Wednesday Camp Papa and I will celebrate our forty-fifth anniversary. I have had many exchanges like yours thru the years-minus the convenience of text-messaging. My take away lesson has been: it's MY behavior and perspective that changed thru the years. I never changed him! And now, I guess I don't want to.
By the way, I thought when I read "ack" that it was meant to be onomatopoeic! You can tell I don't text much, huh?

Amy said...

I have lots of feelings about this. Basically summed up as... "YUP."

We have several file folders that we reference. Lol But the phone thing kills me. I tell him, "I am pretty much the most important person on earth as far as you're concerned. ANSWER YOUR PHONE!" Sometimes if he has it on silent or not w him, and I'm trying to reach him, I'll just keep calling, again and again. Cause I want him to check later and see 26 missed calls. Because I'm just finding it ALL SO HILARIOUS.

But yes, grace on this earth, whole package, blah blah blah.

Star said...

Did Mae West ever really say this to a young hunk? If she didn't, she should have:
MAE: "You look like my third husband."
HUNK: "How many husbands have you had?!"
MAE: "Two."

Erika W said...

Lol, yes, they must also be reminded of that.

Keely said...

We have many file folders as well. Love that line.

Kate said...

Baby, I get you.

Rebekah said...

You and Matt are one of my top favorite couples so I especially love this post. I like the file folder analogy too. On our side of the court, I'm the one who doesn't always answer the phone though!

Rebekah said...

You and Matt are one of my top favorite couples so I especially love this post. I like the file folder analogy too. On our side of the court, I'm the one who doesn't always answer the phone though!

Becky said...

:)

Common Household Mom said...

I love that "ack" doesn't mean "Oh, I screwed up. I'm so sorry" but means the Spock-like "Acknowledged."

And yep, we have those folders.

Elle said...

Yes to all, you know.

lovethebeach said...

Great post. Period.

Lisa Lilienthal said...

And I thought I had one of the only analog men left on the planet. Not that your distress pleases me (not at all). I guess I'm just saying we are in this together. The multiple messages and modes I have to use to raise my husband are just sometimes so annoying. I wish I had a Lincoln. When I'm away, my kids are my Lincoln - sometimes before I even try reaching him I just text one of them and say, hey, can you tell your dad to call me?

Lisa Lilienthal said...

And I thought I had one of the only analog men left on the planet. Not that your distress pleases me (not at all). I guess I'm just saying we are in this together. The multiple messages and modes I have to use to raise my husband are just sometimes so annoying. I wish I had a Lincoln. When I'm away, my kids are my Lincoln - sometimes before I even try reaching him I just text one of them and say, hey, can you tell your dad to call me?