We’ve been together for over fifty years as of the end of February. It has been great for me. I would sign up for another fifty in a heartbeat. Sal said she’s mulling it over, considering her options…….
I can think of no one possibly being a better partner than her but we have our quirks, our wrinkles, our differences. Well, to put it more bluntly: she’s a nut! But she is a loveable nut. And gorgeous. Plus she seems to ‘manage’ me and ‘deal’ with me in such a charming manner.
Still, we have our conflicts. Dishes is the big one (pretty much the only one). When we first came together, I said, “I do not do dishes. I have done way too many dishes in my life and the only line in the sand I bring to this relationship is that I do NOT do dishes. To be fair, I will buy new dishes every week; I will eat off dirty dishes; I will use paper plates; I will eat straight out of the pots and pans but – and let me make this perfectly clear – I do not do dishes!”
I was doing dishes within the first week. She is hard to say no to.
So, we’ve each been doing dishes for fifty years and, while she has done more of them, I have done tons more than I signed on for and I still manifest subtle jabs of resistance to this day. But, well, resistance is futile. I have been washed, rinsed and assimilated. We take turns at it virtually ‘every other day’ on dishes.
You guessed it: no machine dish washer living off the grid.
But we were NOT strictly scheduled into the every-other-day routine and some days I went three straight or she did. We couldn’t keep track. Of course, Sal, being like the Chinese water torture (somehow still charming, tho) she can be, kept trying to formalize it. “Sweetie, dishes…your turn. I did ’em last night.”
I have learned that little observation-fact-conclusion statements like that one have completely reconfigured my thinking, my life and my perspective. I am being subtly roped in, hog-tied and left at the sink so gently and with ‘love’, it is maddening. And hypnotizing. Did I mention the little touch on my arm accompanied by a heart-melting smile when she says things like that? Turns out I am made of putty – Silly putty, actually – and often found wrapped around her little fingers. Wooed into ever increasing domesticity by a charming, beautiful, psychopathic genius. I am helpless. I feel doomed.
I try to resist.
“OK, here’s the deal. I will do the dishes. Damn, damn, damn. But you still have to touch my arm and smile, OK?. No touch-and-smile is a deal-breaker. Got it?”
“Of course, Sweetie. You are so manly and cute when you put your foot down.” And she smiled and touched my arm. It was like looking Itsy-bitsy spider right in the eye. And I was being comforted by her web!
“But”, I said, thinking quickly, “I’ll do the even days. You do the odd. In that way, we can keep track. Odd-even, odd-even. OK?”
“Of course, Sweetie…deal”. I swore I heard a little cackle slip from her lips but I got the smile and the arm-touch and things kinda blur for me when that happens.
Still, I was smiling a bit. A bit too much, I guess. And the spider-woman was not amused. ‘Why would he be smilin’ like that?’
I had cheated her out of an extra week of dishes! On a leap year, it is eight days! Seven months end in 31 days (31 is an odd number) with the next day being the first of the month and it, too, is an odd number. I laughed out loud. Perhaps a bit maniacally…….
“WHAT!!!!! Why are you laughing????“
I explained my Machiavellian plot. She did not take it well. Her lips became a hard line. The rosy cheeks went dark. Veins rippled in her forearms. There was a palpable volcanic presence suddenly in the room. I backed away. Slowly.
We may be great partners but we are different people. She’s sweet, beautiful, noble and full of grace. I am slugs and snails and puppy-dog tails. With slime on top. But we at least now kinda ‘share’ doin’ the dishes….ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah