Where Were We?
So the other night I was loading the dishwasher and squirting the soap thingy full of the Earth-friendly stuff that also seems to be crud-friendly as well. I’m not sure if the soap that actually cleans the dishes is bad for the Earth, or whether the stuff that says “good for the Earth” actually is, but I’m not in the decision loop for purchasing dishwasher soap. That’s my wife’s job. But I must admit I have a just a tad of resentment toward the Earth-friendly stuff that doesn’t actually clean the dishes. Actually, it’s more than a tad more than a tad.
Anyway. I was loading the soap thingy and the bottle was empty when I finished. So I threw it in the trash, then dumped the morning’s coffee grounds on top of it. And it was in that moment that I realized just exactly how much of an asshole I can be. And in the next moment I decided I didn’t want to be that asshole, so I took the bottle out of the trash, wiped off the coffee grounds, rinsed it out and put it in the recycling bin where my wife would prefer it to be. It might have been the most grown up thing I’ve ever done.
The next morning I climbed in the shower and the usual cascade of shampoo bottles got knocked off the bathmat side and into the tub. Why we need so many varieties of shampoo and conditioner is beyond me (says the guy whose hair is rarely over an inch long anymore). Why anyone would put them on the side where the shower curtain inevitably knocks them into the tub is also beyond me. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t. I think they were there because the night before my wife was helping my eight-year-old son wash his shoulder-length hair. It was probably easier to put them on the mat side than reach across him and the tub’s expanse to put them on the other side. So, instead of leaving them to ooze (the caps also never get closed) in the bottom of the tub like I usually do, I put them on the wall side ledge where they wouldn’t get toppled by the curtain. But, regardless of the motivation to put them on the mat side, I decided that it would just be nicer to put them where they belong than leave them in the tub.
I don’t know what’s come over me. I’m acting like a grownup. Or maybe I’ve stopped acting like a grownup and I’m actually being one. I don’t hate my wife (I always put the toilet seat down!), despite the behavior I just described. I’ve just been naturally spiteful for a lot of my life and feel most comfortable being passively aggressive with those closest to me. What amazes me lately is how easy it is to not be that way.
After my shower I went to work and had a brainstorm. My wife and I are short on two precious commodities: regular exercise and time alone with each other. It dawned on me that we might be able to make time in the morning for a 30-minute walk together, so I sent her an email suggesting it. Those of you who know my athletic history might understand why I would dismiss something as pedestrian as a walk in my understanding of exercise. I mean, it’s not a 200-mile mountain bike race on the Iditarod sled dog trail or 250 road bike kilometers over ancient Roman cobblestones–how could it be exercise? But the truth is most days go by at my desk at the “nothing” end of the all-or-nothing spectrum of what I would consider proper exercise. That’s just dumb.
By accepting my invitation, my wife gave me an excuse to get out and get moving at some minimal level for 30 minutes. We’ve gotten out two days in a row and have plans for tomorrow morning as well. She’s been able to unload her anxious thoughts (she’s a major-league flaming sword juggler and multi-tasker for our family) and we’ve sorted through some decisions and just basically been there for each other while doing what many health professionals consider a pretty good way to keep our cardiovascular system in proper order. It seems like an excellent recipe for resentment prevention. Also, we’re pretty unlikely to try and compete with each other on a walk. Cycling, skiing, or tennis would be very different experiences. We aren’t entirely baggage-free.
So she still goes off to tennis matches and I’ve rolled up enough loose change to afford a season’s pass for mountain bike downhilling at Killington, just in case you fear we’re becoming Ozzie and Harriet. I spent last Sunday with JD, Flow, and D-Bass, dressed in carbon and lexan from ankles to head, hurtling down trails at upwards of 45mph while a steady stream of happy juice pumped into my brain. It’s a beautiful thing.
And she says I can just put the uncleaned dishes I unload from the dishwasher in the sink and she’ll touch them up and put them away. That beats the alternative by a long shot. There’s no need to ruin a 20-year marriage because I’m pissed about soap brands—or shampoo placement for that matter. I could get used to this.