It is October, and adhering to the biannual rhythm of our recent life, we have returned to Florida. The flight fortunately was uneventful, and we arrived, as scheduled, on the same Saturday on which we boarded the plane. The dogs arrived on Sunday, driven from Connecticut by their faithful friend and chauffeur, Kevin.
After unpacking the smashed cartons of wrinkled clothing delivered by UPS, and calling the endless list of service people to find out why 1) some of our plants had died; 2) all of our outdoor lights weren’t working; 3) our barbecue grill decided to shut down; and 4) we had no TV reception, we finally settled in.
But the true highlight of our arrival was that, on Monday, my husband was to pick up his brand new car. (To learn why he needed a brand new car, I refer you to my blog of January 31, 2013, in which I publically confess to destroying his previous car.)
It was my personal opinion that if your car had a GPS, your marriage had at least a fifty percent better chance of lasting than the national average. I confess that this conclusion was not based on a government-sponsored scientific research study, but rather on anecdotal evidence gathered from years of road trips with two different husbands. (I offer the fact that I even had two different husbands as support for my hypothesis.)
Second only to an argument about the air-conditioner setting, there was nothing more conducive to a shout-fest than riding in a car with one’s spouse on your way to a location where neither of you had ever been.
One of you would be driving, the other holding the map. In my case, the map was usually upside down. Map-reading is not a skill that is on my resume. The driver, (him) relying on the map-reader (me) as the car approached the fork in the road, could get very hot under the collar while I was still struggling to determine if the location in question was the pink one or the green one.
This is so awkward!
The situation in which I currently find myself is both embarrassing and humbling. But I must be strong and endure the humiliation of a public confession.
Over the past year, I have written about the tiny, but not insignificant, imperfections in my married life. I have shared with you the fact that my husband constantly loses things, makes a mess in the kitchen, hogs the remote control, and two weeks ago, how he micro-manages my driving. (Hang on to this last one. It has relevance to what follows.) Through it all, and a tribute to his true character, he has remained a good sport, actually aiding and abetting me by taking the photographs for many of my blogs.
There has been an amendment to my marriage contract. I’m not referring to a legal document that was signed in the presence of a lawyer or a rabbi who may or may not have also been a notary, but an informal set of conventions that have evolved over time in the partnership.
Every marriage has one. It usually includes a tacit or explicit division of responsibilities that permits the union to function more or less efficiently on a daily basis. For example, in my marriage, I’m in charge of such details as making sure we don’t run out of toilet paper, seeing to it that the dogs are fed twice daily, changing light bulbs, and brewing coffee in the morning. My husband is in charge of the remote control.
And for most of our time together, he has been the family driver. Until recently.