Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Argument in an Old Marriage

My husband, the alien, likes to carry things for me.  It’s a hold-over from the way males used to be raised. And I admit, if it’s something heavy, I appreciate the help.

But he doesn’t only carry heavy things.

Recently, we were on vacation. Our hotel had a swimming pool.  As we prepared to swim, I wanted to put my room key somewhere safe – not just wrapped in a towel. So, I put my room key and  towel and goggles into my swim bag.  Unfortunately, a bag is officially “something to carry.” We also carried our laundry sacks because we were going to the hotel laundry after our swim. On the way to the pool, we both had our hands full.  My husband is okay with me carrying something if his hands are full, too.

We swam.  The pool used a new form of sanitation – the water was salty.  Afterwards we soaked for a while in the whirlpool, but I didn’t like it.  The whirlpool reeked of chlorine.  We got out. We dried off. We went to the laundry room.  I put down my swim bag (now with damp towel, goggles and room key card) so I’d have two hands free to load up the washing machine. My husband was no longer holding a laundry bag. I still had my towel bag. 

That’s when it happened.  My husband grabbed my swim bag.  

Normally, this is no big deal.  I’m with him. He has a room key card. We’re not going to be locked out. But he was busy reading the instructions on the dryer. And the skin on my feet began to feel like it was going to crack open.  I don’t know if it was the salt, the chlorine, or the combination.  All I knew was that I needed to wash my feet with regular water and get hand lotion on them. FAST!

“Please give me my swim bag.”

He kept on reading the dryer instructions. Probably my request made no sense to him. We weren’t going back to the pool. He didn’t know my room key was in the bag. He didn’t know I wanted to go to the room.  He was being a helpful male, holding my bag.  And my feet were becoming more painful by the nano-second.

“Please I need my swim bag.”

He kept on reading the dryer instructions.

“My key card is under the towel in the bag. I need the key card. You can have the bag back. Please let me get the key card.”  My feet felt like they were on fire.

Finally he turned to me.  “Why?”

“I need to get to the room to put hand lotion on my feet.”

“My feet hurt! Please hurry! Please give me my key card.”

My husband thinks walking is hurrying.  “I have a key card.”

He held it out. I reached for it.  I didn’t care whose key card I used. I had to get that hand lotion on my feet before they cracked open and all my blood poured out.

“I’m hurrying.”  My husband began to saunter towards our room.

I’m not supposed to run with my artificial hip. But I ran.

To his credit, my husband almost kept up with me.  

Then he put his key card in the slot upside down.  It didn’t work.  He pulled it out and put it back again, still upside down.

“Let me try.”

He tried a few more times. My feet burned.

“You’ve got it upside down.”

He turned it over.  It still didn’t work.  A few more tries and the door was unlocked.  I pushed past him to the bathroom.

“Why are you angry?”  He looked at me totally puzzled.

As the hand lotion soothed into my feet, I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation. 

“You took my swim bag.  It had my key. I needed my key to get in the room to get the hand lotion because my feet hurt. You wouldn’t give me my bag. You wouldn’t give me a key. You had to be in charge and I was in pain.”

“I like to help you.”

“It wasn’t helping to take my bag.”

“Okay, I’ll never carry anything for you again.”

“You’ve promised that before.”

If he’d grabbed my bag on one our first dates, I’d have stopped seeing him. And I’d have missed out on a lot of good experiences.

But after more than 45 years, this is just one of the arguments we have over and over.  I just bought one of those key pockets that goes on shoes.  He has never taken my shoes.  Maybe this time I’ve got the problem solved.

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