There are a few things I have learned after 21 years of marriage.
If I hear the words “I can’t find my ...” come out of my spouse’s mouth I should not comment or leave my seat to help because inevitably the words “never mind” will not be far behind, for whatever he was looking for was right in front of him the whole time. I should neither attempt to comment on the grilling of the meat nor grill the meat myself because he is the self-appointed master of the grill. And if it is a Saturday during the months of September, October, or November, he will be in front of a television. Watching football. Come hell or high water. Somewhere.
It doesn’t bother me.
Because I have in my middle age wisdom come to accept the things I cannot change and not get aggravated by them, but love him for them. I can, however, try to make the best of it, which is exactly what I decided to do last weekend.
Saturday. Late afternoon just on the cusp of early evening. Prime football watching time. He had already assumed the position in the chair in the den. The best I could surmise it was a relatively uneventful game because he wasn’t flailing comments at the television or making exasperated noises. I seized the opportunity.
“Here. Snap these beans,” I said and handed him a bag of fresh green beans and a big glass bowl. The look on his face spoke volumes — I had taken him totally off guard. It was a co-mingling of shock and confusion — I could tell he was wondering if this was even appropriate. Could a man — should a man — snap beans and watch football at the same time? Surely there was some written man code against it, I could almost hear him mull. I didn’t give him time to respond, but simply left the room.
And he snapped the beans. No commentary. No fuss. He snapped the beans.
I was giddy. Had I stumbled upon something wonderful? All these years I was under the impression that it was I who should find something productive, fun, or simply different to do while he watched football if I wasn’t in the mood to join him. Never had I entertained the thought that maybe he could do something productive while he watched football. Hmmm.
He could fold laundry. He could iron. He could dust the den. He could go through the old mail. With the holidays coming up he could address Christmas cards, and he could even darn those old socks in that bag in the laundry room. Never mind that we haven’t sent Christmas cards out in years and I don’t even really know what it means to darn socks, now that I know he can watch football and do something else at the same time, he can totally do those things.
Football widows unite. It’s a new day.
Or so I thought.
The look on his face spoke volumes — a co-mingling of “have you lost your mind” and “I can’t see the television.” All I had done was suggest he do a little dusting while he watched the South Carolina/LSU game. I didn’t have to ask twice. I guess between snapping the beans and kickoff, he found the man code book and it explicitly said no dusting.
Oh, well. I tried. And truth be told, it really doesn’t bother me. I just chalk it up to one more lesson learned after 21 years of marriage. Now I know that I may not be able to change football season, but we can always eat green beans.
And quite possibly have darned socks ... I’m saving that one for Georgia/Florida Saturday.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.