I remember the exact moment I discovered wisdom. Do you? I was thirteen years old, riding the city bus down Bank Street, back in Ottawa. Where were you? The bus stopped for a red light at Gladstone, and I watched through the window as an elderly man gave the fabric of his pant legs – just above both knees – a small tug before bending down to pick up a dropped something in a gas station parking lot. For curiosities sake, I tried it out for myself that afternoon. Sure enough, the extra slack turned out to be a revelation. It was a humbling moment. There on my knees, I was forced to admit how little I really knew about life.
My introduction to Crest Whitestrips was brutal. My gums burned. I was slurping and slucking all over the place. Talking was impossible… need I go on? It was intolerable. But then something strange happened. After two weeks of twice a day misery, the process became manageable – even routine. You know, I can’t help wondering what other intolerables I’ve allowed into my life… but maybe that’s a dangerous question. With nothing to overcome, how would we ever move forward?
Scene: 6:50am, Calgary, in an apartment still reeking of hubby’s late night snack…
“Ok, so new rule.” I laid down the law. “Whoever cooks spicy Italian sausages on the George Forman [Grill] has to clean it right away.”
A snarky voice answered from the bedroom. “You’re not allowed to just go around arbitrarily making up rules.”
Then I, in one of those blithe philosophical musings visited upon those who find themselves half-in-and-half-out of winter jackets well before dawn, replied, “How does one make any rule, if not arbitrarily!”
“No, no,” my dear husband corrected me, coming round the corner, socks in hand and wearing a mischievous grin. “Only I’m allowed to make up rules arbitrarily.”
I could draw you map of my husband’s back. It would take hours, but it would be perfect. I’d chart every rise of muscle and bone, every dip in between. Each freckle and follicle would be accounted for. A baby pink pencil crayon would show you the soft blush of his skin after a massage, and you’d learn his magic: that he smells like the warm, delicate layer of sand dust left on your body after a day at the beach.
My husband is a man of gentle grace and stubborn passions. I could map his past for you too, and tell you his dreams for the future. You’d find out the name of the boy he protected from recess bullies in elementary school, and why he needs to order new ‘rifle’ shafts for his wedges.
This is my husband.
But what do I know? I’m just his wife ; )
He and I were being driven home recently by visiting relatives after a supper out on the other side of the city. I was doing my best trying to give directions from the back seat, but I am a chronic pedestrian and can only guide people “as the crow flies”. And since when do crows have to worry about one way streets and highway exits!
My “darling” husband, an experienced driver, was no help at all. He was stupidly mute. I kept waiting for him to rescue me and chime in on cue with a “left” or a “take Deerfoot”, but he kept right on with his lazy daydreaming, watching the houses whiz by out the backseat window while I did my best to keep us in the same province!
I felt my temperature rising. Instead of directions, my brain started obsessing on why he was being so frustrating. What did he think this was? Just another job to pawn off on good ol’ pick-up-the-slack-Cymbria? These weren’t dirty dishes, these were his relatives! Don’t get me wrong, I love chatting up my husband’s Aunts and Uncles, but I also like getting home in time for work the next day! Do you want to know the worst of it? His body language was all too clear in letting me know he was getting fed up with me too! Every time I missed calling out a turn, he grimaced in a most un-husbandly way.
When we finally made it home I was fuming. He shut the front door behind him, then gave me a wicked smile that shut me up before I could open my mouth.
“I almost didn’t make it!” he gasped. “I thought I was done for when we turned on 17th!”
My husband bolted straight for the bathroom.
Love. sigh. What do I know?
Apparently, not much lol