THE SONIC BOOMER
Mark and I have been married for decades. Over that time, we’ve developed certain routines that allow us to live peaceably together despite my many requirements. I get to read my newspapers and magazines first, I get to take my shower first and he gets to scare off any burglars first. It works for us.
Here’s what doesn’t work for us: face-to-face verbal communication. We can text, write, call or use Morse Code, but if we are speaking to each other in the same room, all is lost.
At first I thought it was some weird male speech pattern that, as a woman, I was never taught. Then I thought it was maybe germane to the construction industry, wherein Mark worked for many years. Now I just think he has no understanding whatsoever of the English language.
Here is an actual sample of one of our conversations, which I wrote down for you so I will have witnesses on my side when we end up in court because, seething with frustration, I’ve finally clunked him over the head with an umbrella.
Me (on our way out the door): Are we taking this or leaving it?
Him: I guess we can.
“I guess we can” is not an appropriate answer! My question had two distinct multiple-choice options. Option A was: “Taking it.” Option B was: “Leaving it.” There is no “I guess we can.”
So my follow-up question was: I guess we can what?
His was: I thought you asked if we should take it or leave it?
Me: I did!
Him: So what are you yelling at me for?
This is when I start cursing under my breath, furiously grab the item (whatever it is), and march out to the car. If he calls after me, “So, we’re taking it then?” I hurl the item onto the driveway, fly into the house like a woman possessed and start flinging open closets while screaming at the top of my lungs, “Where the hell is my umbrella?!”
At this point Mark (and all the neighbors) are looking at me, perplexed, as if I’ve gone mad.
And I have. I have gone stark-raving mad because, earlier this morning, I asked if he wanted jam or cinnamon on his toast and he replied, “OK.” Last night, I asked if he wanted to watch a sitcom or football and he said, “I’d love to.” And yesterday, when I asked him if he wanted me to answer his phone, he didn’t reply at all.
I can only hope that, when I do get my day in court (and he walks by that mangled umbrella labeled “Exhibit A” to take the stand), they will ask him, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” and he will answer them with, “Grapefruit.”
It could very well happen. And not a jury in the world would convict me!