You would think after thirty years of marriage, Cupcake and I would have worked out all of our communications issues. After all, although it took over three decades in the original “school of hard knocks”, I have learned some “women-speak” and think I can avoid the most lethal “hot buttons” by now. Admittedly, part of this has to do with the fact as Cupcake has matured; her buttons are not nearly as sensitive as they once were... unless her menopause is acting up, of course.
However, some of the communication issues that have been painfully ironed out over the years are being replaced by other ones; issues far more difficult to avoid than simply not talking about what those pants do to the look of her butt. Here, is a recent conversation reproduced as close to verbatim as I can recall that will illuminate the issue.
“Bye, Hon! I’m off to supper with my brothers. Bob is picking me up.” I called to Cupcake, trying my best to sound mournful at our parting.
She responded lovingly. “You never told me you were going out with your brothers! Why don’t you ever tell me what you’re up to?” I astutely detected the merest hint of anger in her tone. We haven’t lived together this long for nothing.
“I’m not up to anything,” I defended myself vigorously. “I did tell you and I know exactly the circumstances. It was when I came home from play rehearsal on Monday night.”
“I was asleep when you came home!” she retorted. “I should know. I missed the last ten minutes of Hawaii Five-Oh AGAIN!”
I tried to sound conciliatory. “Well, I hate to argue and you may believe that you were asleep, but when I came home, you did greet me warmly and ask me how rehearsal went. I gave you an excited, complete report. In fact we had a nice conversation about it. Forgive me for assuming you were awake while the conversation was happening. Good grief, don`t you remember any of it?”
Cupcake snorted, “Nope. How do I know you’re not just making this up to cover the fact you forgot to tell me what you’re up to?”
“Gee, there’s a good question,” I said with as much anguish as I could muster on such short notice.”Oh, I don’t know... maybe trust? Maybe believing in the person that swore to love, honour, cherish, and make you cocoa on demand?”
“Trust, eh?” she smirked. “This coming from the guy who claims he missed taking out the garbage because he was “boycotting environmental damage caused by landfills”. Please.
A flesh wound! Time to go on the offensive.
“Okay, so I forgot, but you forget stuff, too,” I pointed out. “You promised to mend my pants a while back. You having them on your mending pile, which we both know is the equivalent to a “black hole” in clothing terms, and they’ve never been seen from again. You obviously forgot all about them. Because I’m not, like SOME people I could mention, someone who nags, they remain un-mended to this day.”
“What pants?” Cupcake frowned.
“The bell bottoms,” I responded. “Never mind. They aren’t in style anymore, anyway. Leisure suits in the disco era took care of that. Hopefully, you’ll hem them before they come back into vogue.”
Cupcake eyed me in amusement. “I f you think you’re going to start wearing your platform shoes again, you are greatly mistaken and I burned your gold lame shirt years ago.”
“But you’re missing the point!” I jumped in. “This isn’t about bell bottom pants and platform shoes. This is about being forgetful! I am just pointing out you forget stuff too! Dang. I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned the mending pile!”
Cupcake returned the volley easily. “I admit I forget to do the mending but you forget to do every job in the job-jar. Other than that, as far as me forgetting things, I don’t recall it being a problem.”
“If you had the problem would you recall it?” I asked, endangering my possibilities of not having to sleep with one eye opened.
“I certainly won’t forget this conversation,” the threat in her voice, unmistakeable, “and the longer you continue it, the longer I will harbour resentment at the memory.”
I immediately shot back, “So... do you think it might rain tomorrow?”
This, essentially, is the problem. It’s not that our memories aren’t photographic, it’s just that they must have been photo-shopped radically differently. She believes her version of events just as strongly and stubbornly as I do. Incidents where we can actually prove each other’s memory faulty only reinforces each person’s belief we each, in our own minds, are always right, since we conveniently forget when we were ever wrong.
It’s hardly a new phenomenon, though. Our clashing memories have been a sticking point all along our three decade journey. We had to stop reminiscing about old times together because our recollections are so dissimilar; it is like we’re talking about two different people.
I’m sure it’s her memory, though. I can remember every word to the “Rocket Robin Hood” theme song I haven’t seen in forty years. I can easily bring to mind all the names of all the panelists on “Front Page Challenge’`. I can even dredge up the actor who played “Relic” on “The Beachcombers”. She can’t even remember where I put my glasses.
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