My husband is a stickler for attention to detail. You don’t want him to tell you a joke because he will be so hung up on whether the story happened on a Tuesday or Wednesday that your ears will be bleeding by the time he gets it out.
Whenever I write anything about him, I always let him read it before I publish. If I’m going to be sued for inflammatory statements, I’d prefer it not be by my spouse. Rarely does he read one without a correction.
Oh, he couldn’t care less if I malign his pruning skills or make fun of his duct tape birdhouse. I could understand that. No, he nitpicks about the most minute things that have no impact on the story. Once I wrote a story about the time he got into a fight playing softball on a church league team and he exhausted me with so many corrections, I finally deleted my version and let him write the damn thing.
Now you would think that such attention to detail would manifest itself in other ways, like paying attention to his wife, but such is not the case. Like most men, Dearly Beloved’s ears have that inner seal which closes to block any sound on the same frequency as his wife’s voice. No, I’m talking not-even-in-the-same-universe- cluelessness.
Here’s an illustration of what I’m dealing with here.
Once we were having dinner at a noisy, crowded restaurant where the tables were packed so closely together, your neighbor’s butt brushed your plate if she got up to go to the bathroom. The blaring music made attempts at conversation a competitive sport.
Two guys were seated at the table next to DB’s right and one of them said something–I can’t remember what– perhaps about a ballgame, or maybe one of them even asked DB a question. (If I let him read this, he will focus on that evening until he remembers the exact comment, but I’m telling you it doesn’t matter!) In any event, he was soon chatting with them. The way the tables were arranged, my chair was back just enough that I could not add my own pithy comments without shouting. I simply listened and continued eating.
Until a grain of rice went down my windpipe and I began choking.
Picture this. It’s a two level restaurant and there are at least 100 people around me. As I coughed… and coughed…and coughed… it began to draw the attention of people at the nearby tables, first because my cough was annoying them, but as they watched, they began to realize I was in trouble.
They did nothing, of course. After all, the man at the table with me was laughing and talking. Nothing could be wrong. . . right?
I couldn’t swallow water. I couldn’t speak. I held my napkin up to my mouth, knowing that if I did cough up the obstacle, I was going to throw up with it. I couldn’t drink or speak. I held my napkin over my mouth with both hands.
DB continued with his riotous conversation with the guys, no doubt dotting every i and crossing each t, verbally, as the rest of the room ate while they watched his wife convulsing.. and not from his clever repartee. I felt like a scene from Airplane.
FINALLY, the man nearest DB (who was facing me) nodded in my direction and said, “I think your wife is having a problem.”
Oh, he’s a quick one, my husband, for he turned to look at me and asked quizzically, “Are you okay, Sweetie?” and pushed his glass of water toward me.
I shook my head, not sure whether he’d think I was refusing his glass of water or realize that no, I wasn’t okay.
I turned blue, to clarify matters.
At that point, he did, indeed gallantly jump up to help me to the restroom. It wasn’t a large chunk caught in my throat, but something small–a grain of rice–in my windpipe. He couldn’t get it out for me, but at least he whisked me away from my unwanted place in the spotlight and allowed me to hang my head over a public toilet and cough my guts out in privacy.
I hope this clarifies any questions about whether or not Dearly Beloved minds when I write about him. Sometimes he corrects me to say, “I was really dumber than you said.”
It’s okay, Babe. We don’t have to tell everything.