Saturday, March 3, 2007
It is tough being perfect, my husband tells me.
He says this in response to my remark. "My God, it must be absolutely wonderful to be so perfect!"
I know. My comment smacks of sarcasm. I don't deny that. I spat it out in the car on the way home from dining out at a local restaurant we often go to on Friday or Saturday night.
It all started well. We were chatting, conversing about all sorts of things: local gossip, local politics, the state budget, what the name of the man at the bar was-- on this we could not agree-- the family sitting behind us, those kind of married topics, safe and un-erotic, as married conversations often are.
The thing is, we were not bickering. This was a good thing. We've been in a bickering mode lately, and it followed a pattern: I would make an innocent remark. He would react, badly. I would softly explain that I was innocent of whatever crime he thought I committed. He would get loud and angry. Back and forth we'd go. I'd try to explain; he'd shut me down. I would laugh and make jokes. He would get really pissed. I would get sarcastic, in a sweet, innocent way, I thought.
This time my crime was that I never remembered anything he told me.
We were talking about a meeting he'd been to. He's the treasurer. At the last meeting, he was telling me, the only board members that showed up were him, and Lisa the president.
My comment: "You're kidding! Only the two of you? That's pathetic."
His bad reaction, "I told you that at the time. You never listen to a thing I say!"
Okay. That is true at times, I admit. My soft explanation, "Well, I don't remember. But if I was sitting at my computer . . ."
His loud angry reaction: "What the heck difference does it make where you were sitting? I told you. You don't listen. You never remember anything I say."
"But when I'm typing, I . . ."
"Don't say another word! It doesn't matter where you were."
"It does matter. I'm trying to say that when I'm . . ."
To make a long story short, he couldn't remember where I was when he told me about the meeting, and he couldn't accept the fact that I might have been distracted by typing, and needed a transition time to tune in to what he was saying. And I refused to be shut down.
"If you can't remember where you were, maybe you *didn't* tell me," I challenged lightly. This was becoming ridiculous and I recognized that. I made comments lightly, kiddingly. Ha ha, are you serious?
Yes. He was serious. He told me I never listen.
Sometimes I tell you things, and you don't remember, either, I remind him.
No. He'd remember if I told him. I only think I told him.
This is where I became sarcastic and told him how nice it must be to be perfect.
"It can be tough," he said.
I sat silent, thinking my own thoughts for the rest of the ride home. Thoughts of how much more perfect I was than he was. I at least admitted when I was *not* perfect. And I at least, saw how foolish this conversation was. I remained detached, laughing inside, not angered, damn it! While he was an absolute fucking jerk!
We pulled into the driveway, and he said, "The black family two houses down have moved." He spoke as if we'd just been having a picnic in the park on a sunny day.
" Oh," I said. "I never knew there was a black family there." I was calm, smooth. Normal sounding.
"They've been there for a year and a half." He walked ahead of me to unlock the house. He was silent, no doubt mentally shaking his head at my "lack of awareness" as he sometimes called it.
In case he was, I mentally gave him the finger as I walked through the door he held open for me. He turned on the TV; I booted up my laptop.