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Adams: Big Differences in Little Things

Posted: June 10, 2017 - 11:04pm

Flinging open the door, my husband stands just beyond the threshold, his arms spread wide in presentation of himself.

"I'm ready," he says. Then he looks at me and my lack of progress. "We're going to be late. I'll wait for you in the car."

This scene results from the confluence of two persistent issues in our marriage. My spouse lives in oblivion to them both.

The first problem: He thinks I can get ready to go somewhere as fast as he does. Having just arrived home from work, I need a few minutes to breathe, freshen up and throw on some party clothes. To my husband's good fortune, I prefer to put some thought and efficient effort into my appearance.

Which brings me to the second problem: My husband underallocates time and attention to detail to prepare for public gatherings.

I look him over and ask, "Are you a 5-year-old?" I should curb my sarcasm, but this far into our life together it has become difficult to let these transgressions go.

"What?" he says. His arms hold their station. "You don't like the no-show socks?" This question is an admission that he has ignored my direct, unwavering instruction for the last quarter-century for him to stop wearing scrunched-down tube socks.

"The no-shows are not the issue. A man's ankles should be visible when he's wearing shorts," I say, fully aware that the edict has died on my lips. "You can't wear that shirt with those shorts."

He grabs the chest of the cherry-red golf shirt and looks down at it as if he's surprised to see it. With the other hand, he fondles the leg of his chambray blue shorts. Sincere confusion crosses his countenance.

"You're dressed like it's your first day of kindergarten," I explain.

He selects another, similar pair of shorts.

"Not those either," I stop him from making the same grave error in judgment.

"Why?" he exclaims. "These shorts are jeans-colored. Red goes with jeans."

"Those shorts are not jeans, nor are they the color of jeans," I correct him.

Disgusted, he throws the shorts he's holding onto the floor (a third recurring issue that I will spare you from here) and rhetorically asks, "Why do I keep buying shorts this color if they don't match my shirts?" He looks at me again and pleads, "Are you sure these don't match?"

I can't discern if he wants to avoid the trouble of changing or if he desires to refine his fashion acumen. While he examines himself in my wardrobe's full-length mirror, I assure him his shirt and shorts do match ... "If you're 5."

Skeptical, he makes no move to remedy his elementary-style choices. I advise him to seek a second opinion. Our 19-year-old son is downstairs in the den wondering when we will finally leave so he can liberate a beer from the fridge. I send my husband to continue this debate with the man-child.

Hardly a minute passes before a shriek of laughter rings out. A guttural, "Really?" escapes my spouse's lungs. Glum foot plods mount the stairs.

Meanwhile, I've donned my party clothes. "Wow, you look fantastic," he sweetly compliments, causing a smidge of guilt to well within me.

"What did he say?" I ask.

"He says my shirt and shorts go together if my mother dressed me for preschool."

Reluctantly, he changes. He gets it right. We go to the party. We have a great time. We ignore the underlying issues. We'll have ample opportunity to address our differences again.

 

Lucy Adams is the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny and other books. She lives in Thomson. Email lucy adams.writer@gmail.com.

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