The other night my old man asked me if I could think of any ways I am tangibly different because of being with him. I thought of SO many! And all of them basically boil down to “not acting like a child anymore.” Instead of throwing garbage all over the car, I bring the garbage inside and put it in the trash. Instead of not putting more toilet paper on the roll when it’s empty, I do. Instead of not paying bills for months until collectors call and I cry on the phone, I pay them (real talk: or I put them on his desk and he pays them, but still, they get paid). Instead of incessantly getting parking tickets ALL OF THE TIME, and NEVER paying them, and also getting my car towed a shocking number of times simply due to being parked illegally, I don’t do those things. I got my first parking ticket in like 9 years the other day and it was an honest mistake this time (sort of) although it did still feel like a regression.
In EVERY one of these instances, it’s not actually that I have fully changed on the matter. I still have within me the pure and real desire to throw garbage around in the car, not pay bills, park like a spaz*, etc. It’s just that every time I am about to do one of these things, I quite literally hear my husband’s voice in my ear saying “just put it in the garbage/just read the parking sign/etc.” and I sigh and think okay, okay, I will behave like an adult human.
He has also been trying to get me to stop rushing, which is a tougher project. Whenever I fuck up mightily he asks me if I was rushing and I always have to sheepishly say that I was. Remember my horrifying arm wound? That was from rushing, as he pointed out. That was only the worst of my many rushing-related mishaps. Remember those children’s books about Mrs. Higgeldy-Piggeldy? She was a supernatural Poppins-esque figure who would appear in the life of a child who had a singular flaw–lying, being lazy, etc.–and help them fix the flaw by enchanting them. There was one about a girl who rushed, and was always falling down stairs and stuff. Mrs. Higgeldy-Piggeldy enchanted her so that she could only move in slow motion. At first it stressed her out but then she came to like how calm and deliberate it made her do everything. When the enchantment wore off she was a better, slower person. That’s what I need. Maybe i just need to stop drinking coffee. Ha! I would rather get another arm wound
I hope you enjoy revisiting the arm wound story. I just re-read it and there are lots of tidbits I’d forgotten, like Steve getting pulled over for being on the phone but then the cop letting him off with a warning because the call was about my arm emergency. Also I hadn’t looked at the pictures in a long time and was LITERALLY SHOCKED by them, I can’t believe that happened to my li’l ol’ arm. And now look, the arm is fine and the scar is barely noticeable! Time TRULY DOES heal all wounds jk
Anyway my point is that due to my husband’s gentle guidance I have tried to become a better grownup in all these small but real ways, and I’m really glad about it, as it has saved me money and hardship. However, when stated so baldly it also makes me feel bad, for being such a dork, and for my husband basically having to be my mom. But then I felt worse because we tried to think of tangible ways that I have changed HIM, and we couldn’t! The only thing he could think of was that I had “made [him] a man,” which doesn’t even mean anything. I mean, he has become a good cook and he vacuums all the time and he goes to bed early now but those are maybe things he would’ve done on his own. I also hector him to stand up straighter and drink more water. I guess I need to hector him about more helpful things.
Oh, I made him go vegetarian and stop smoking…that’s something I guess (boring)
Anyway it’s been 12 years, maybe after another 12 years I will be able to fly
Oh wait it’s been 13 years. Fuck!
*Can we bring ‘spaz’ back? I know it is technically offensive but I feel like its offensiveness is lost to the sands of time, like ‘strumpet’ or even ‘idiot,’ which used to specifically refer to a mentally disabled person and now is just a great word all can enjoy. Like it’s short for “spastic,” which is an ancient word for….who? I don’t even know. As slang, ‘spaz’ has a resonance that I feel is unequalled by any other word. I love how it connotes fucking up but with a tinge of affection, like someone is gently daffy in a crowd-pleasing way. In my fantasy version of how I believe others see me, all of my horrid foibles are actually just me spazzing out and everyone kind of gets a kick out of it, even though I know this isn’t true (see above re: husband hectoring me like a child). If my use of this word has upset you please do let me know and I will consider your argument against it. As you know I am not a huge fan of how our entire public discourse about social inequality has boiled down to us fighting about what words aren’t ok to use, but nonetheless, if you make a strong case I will cease my efforts to bring back this once-great pejorative.