Eight and a half years of marriage (or 60-ish if you ask Fab Husband), six years in our current home…and my Husband still has no idea where we keep things. (I, on the other hand, am expected to know the precise location of every item in the house, regardless of ownership of said item.) I am not certain how a man who uses words like “effusive” and “recalcitrant” in regular conversation can’t figure out where the stinking mixing bowls live, but this is how it is.
Now, before you decide that I’m one of those wives who just constantly whines about my spouse, know this: Fab Husband has not earned this title arbitrarily. He really is Fabulous. And I know it. I am completely spoiled and I completely understand that fact. This is a guy who makes THE best coffee on the planet and puts a steaming cup of it in my hand every morning, either “for here” or “to go.” (This could be self-preservation, however. I am really bad at coffee.) He knows precisely how much cream I like in it and which mug is my favorite. He knows that I hate to vacuum and that I will generally refuse to
make a mess cook a meal until the kitchen is tidy enough for me to begin the process. He knows random facts about things like philosophy and physics that I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around. He knows who Samuel Beckett is and why those two dudes were Waiting for Godot. He has shared equal responsibility for the care, feeding, and diaper duties related to the raising of Kidzilla. He unloads the dishwasher every day without fail.
But he has no idea where the stuff that comes out of said dishwasher belongs.
So we play a little game I like to call “Where Does This Go?” At least once each week, I enter the kitchen and find something clean sitting on the counter. The conversation proceeds thus:
Me: “Where does this go?”
He: “Where does what go?”
Me: “This __________.” (Insert random kitchen item here.)
He: “I don’t know.”
Me: “How do you not know? You took it out to use it. How can you not know where it goes?
He: “I don’t know.”
Me: “You do.”
He: “I really don’t.”
Me: “I think you just don’t want to climb up/stoop down/move things to put it where it belongs.”
He: “Not true.”
Me: “Then why don’t you just put it away?”
He: “You have the cabinets booby-trapped.”
Me: “I do not have the cabinets booby-trapped.”
He: “You do.”
Me: “I really don’t.”
This game is not fun.
Neither is the one where I’m supposed to know where absolutely everything in the house is located. It’s simply another version of “Where Does This Go?”
He: “Where is the __________?” (Insert absolutely any household item.)
Me: “I have no idea.”
He: “Sure you do.”
Me: “I don’t. Why is it that I am supposed to know where everything that belongs to everyone in this house is located, but you don’t have to know where the dishes go?”
He: “Because you know.”
I’m pretty sure he also hates the version where I mess up something on my computer and instead of thinking through it we play “Hon, My Computer is Broken Can You Fix It?” The lines are similar to either version above except in this game I am whiny and impatient. A lot. And He sighs at me. A lot. There there’s “Where Are You Going?” This one occurs when we are in a room together and one of us gets up to leave.
OK, I lied. It actually is kind of fun. It is so much fun that we keep playing over and over again. Why? I suppose because it’s just so ludicrous. Or perhaps because it’s so familiar. It’s comfortable. It’s what we do. All the time. Everybody knows their part and everybody plays along. All the time. It’s just sort of representative of the larger scheme of things we call marriage around here. We each have our own way of doing things. Sometimes we agree on these methods; sometimes we don’t. (Like whether the mayonnaise and the ketchup should be situated in the same general vicinity in the refrigerator.) We each have things we know about and things we don’t. (How to plan a meal and how to troubleshoot the computers.) And somehow these things all fit together nicely and balance out just right. Maybe we pretend these things are irritating because we don’t disagree on the truly big things in life and this gives us some exercise in verbal sparring. Who knows? I think it’s kind of like the little boy who pulls the little girl’s pigtails because he thinks she’s cute. “Where Does This Go?” means “hey, let’s connect for a few minutes.” “Hon Where is the Whatever?” and “Hon Can You Fix My Computer?” say “I really need you around.” “Where Are You Going?” is how we say “I was enjoying your company. Please don’t leave.”
So this is our dance. Our language. It’s the language of love around here.