January 24, 2000
A Bumpy Ride
David was wearing his Sad Puppy expression when he dropped me off in front of my office this morning.
"Don't be mad at me," he said.
"I'm not mad at you," I said. "I'm just a little annoyed." And I gave him a limp goodbye kiss and hopped out of the Subaru.
David and I never fight. At least, not in the generally accepted sense of the word. I get into the occasional snit, and he patiently waits for it to blow over: that's pretty much the extent of any "fight" we may have. On the two or three occasions when an argument has occurred during work hours, we've ended up calling each other at more or less the exact same moment to apologize.
We're just too *in synch* ... and too crazy about each other ... to waste a lot of time squabbling.
Which made this morning's disagreement all the more ridiculous.
Last night he reminded me, before bed, that he was planning to drop the car off at the shop this morning, after he takes me to work. The Subaru has been running a little funky lately: the right front shock absorber is MIA, and it makes for an eXtReMeLy bUmPy rIdE. I don't mind the bumps -- it's actually sort of thrilling, especially when we're cruising across the Bay Bridge at a heart-pounding 35 mph -- but Daughters #1 and #2 are flying down from TicTac at the end of the week, to spend a few days with us, and he wants to get the car fixed before they get here. It's a safety issue as much as a thoughtfulness issue.
You've gotta love the guy for that.
"If we could get out of here earlier rather than later, tomorrow morning," he said, "it would be helpful." Translation: "You will probably need to get up half an hour earlier than usual, Secra."
Fine. I had no problem with that. I knew we had a ton of personal junk -- jackets, old books, bicycles, guitar stuff -- that needed to be hauled out of the back of the Subaru and lugged into the apartment, before the car goes into the shop. And the earlier we got started on it ... the better.
So I [more or less] uncomplainingly crawled out of bed at 5:30 a.m. this morning -- on a dark and rainy Monday, no less -- and hurried through my morning beauty ritual. My usual eleven and a half minute shower? More like ten, today. No conditioner. No guava mud mask. No exfoliation of any kind. And I skipped that fourth layer of Maybelline, just to save a little additional time.
Meanwhile, David took his usual forty-second shower, dressed, poured himself a cup of coffee, and sat down at the computer ... ostensibly to wait for me.
By 7:30 a.m., I was coiffed, caffeinated, and ready to go, a full twenty minutes earlier than usual. I waited for some signal from him to indicate that it was time to hit the road, but he was still sitting at the computer, writing leisurely message board posts about cannibalism.
I figured, "OK. Apparently there isn't as much of a rush as I'd thought." And I sat back down and watched Katie Couric "interview" the two Cuban grandmothers.
By 7:50 a.m. -- our usual morning departure time -- I figured I'd better jog his memory. "Are you going to need help hauling stuff out of the car?" I asked him. It was pouring down rain: I was simply wondering if I'd need to come up with some sort of scarf configuration, in order to preserve my perfect Marlo Thomas 'do.
"Well," he said, "It's too late now."
"We should have left twenty minutes ago," he said.
I promptly came unglued.
"Why didn't you SAY something?" I screeched. "I've been ready since 7:30! I even got up half an hour early, just to make sure!"
He looked baffled. "I didn't know that," he said.
"This is precisely why I need you to spell out exactly what TIME we're going to be LEAVING, David," I said, between clenched teeth. And I grabbed my jacket and huffed out of the apartment and all the way out to the car without him.
(In the pouring rain. Then I had to stand there fuming in the parking lot, waiting for him to catch up. By the time I slid into the passenger seat, my Marlo Thomas looked more like Morticia Addams. Grrrr.)
I wasn't mad at David, really. I was annoyed with his wishy-washy, guylike inability to commit to a specific schedule. This is something we've gone around and around about in the past. "I need to know precisely when we're going to be leaving the apartment," I'll beg him. "Please give me an EXACT TIME." That way I know how much time I've got to press my evening gown before we leave for dinner at his parents' house ... or how long it'll be before we head for the office.
But instead he'll leave things infuriatingly vague. "Earlier is better," he'll say ... when what I want/expect/NEED for him to say is "Let's try and get out of here by 07:32:17 a.m. PST."
Was I peeved? Yes. Inconvenienced? Yep.
(PAINFULLY premenstrual? You betcha.)
But genuinely angry?
Still, I treated him to the *Super Deluxe Silent Treatment* during the entire twenty minute drive to the office. Usually on the way to work we chat and listen to Louis Prima tapes and kiss at all the stoplights. But not today. Today I sat on my side of the Subaru, stoically reading my book ("Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood," Naomi Wolf), saying nothing. At one point I almost broke down and said something, just to break the ice ... almost reached over and put my hand on his leg, the way I usually do when we're driving someplace ... but I didn't.
I kissed him goodbye with all the enthusiasm of a twelve-year-old kissing Great-Aunt Edna at Thanksgiving dinner. And by the time he drove away, I was already inside my building. No fond *goodbye* wave.
Boy. I showed him ... didn't I?
In spite of all this, I believe I'm getting much better about managing my negative emotions.
The first thing I usually do when I get into the office on Monday mornings is to check my voicemail.
There were no new messages from Franz today, thank god -- his oral surgery last week pretty much rendered him out of commish for a few blissful days -- but I did have some untranscribed messages left over from last week, requiring review. So I hit the "Old Messages" button.
And there was David:
"I love the sound of your voice. Call me when you get this. Bye."
No, it wasn't a new message. This was a voicemail message from last August, which I have lovingly preserved, and have replayed on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, ever since. Five months later, it still gives me a little *tingle* every time I listen to it. And hearing his message again now -- after our stupid Non-Fight -- melted my heart like a bag of M&M's left on a Subaru dashboard.
I disconnected from voicemail and dialed an outside line. It was time to make things right.
And of course, at that precise moment: my phone rang.
blurb #1 will go HERE: so how
was our weekend?
glad you asked.
david and i decided that it was time to take that huge, scary, all-important next step towards [gulp] real lifetime committment ...
... and bought new bedding. for *our* bed. [bedding that harbors absolutely zero DNA from previous ... uhh ... liaisons.] that means my blue and white comforter goes ... as do his green and white sheets and pillowcases. they looked hideous together, anyway.
i said "flowers."
he said "geometric pattern."
we wound up with ...
... geometric flowers.
i'm not feeling quite as homesick for SEATTLE as usual.
[the bad news? it's
making me crave taco time.
my mother ... who may or may not be laying on a sunny hawaiian beach,
even as we speak. [last i heard, it was raining in HAWAII, too. sheesh.]
[besides the naomi wolf book]:
where i'll ask a *relevant* question:
amazingly profound thought of the day: "The greatest remedy for anger is delay." ~ Seneca ~