I’ve been writing a lot of cute funny things about Marty lately. He is the love of my life: kind, funny, faithful, intelligent, and handsome. We don’t argue about the big things: money, family, sex, politics, or religion. But no marriage is perfect. All relationships have issues. These are ours.
What we argue about:
Marty is often late—for dentist appointments, for tennis, for dinner at his parents’. For the most part he’s an orderly and responsible person, a man of routine. My life is much more chaotic. I stew about wrongs committed decades ago. Worse than this, I eat crackers in bed. On the plus side, however, I am fairly prompt. I think it’s rude to keep people waiting, though I acknowledge that emergencies happen that can slow people down. I don’t get angry at friends who are late, unless they are very very late all the time. Anger directed at my friends will cause me to eventually lose them. Anger towards one’s spouse—well, that’s a part of marriage.
The arguments occur when we’re supposed to be somewhere fifty miles away and Marty allots thirty minutes for the trip. Marty is an optimist. Every light we hit will be green, the sun will shine although the forecast calls for rain, traffic will part like the Red Sea–caring drivers will pull to the side, sensing that the royal couple in the black RAV needs to step it up to get to Buckingham Palace.
At some point during the ride Marty will realize that we are, indeed, going to be late. He speeds up considerably. Which brings me to Number Two.
2. His driving
Early on in our relationship, Marty made the mistake of telling me he once taught driver’s education. This was the educational philosophy he conveyed to his high school students: “You can get away with anything if there are no cops present and you don’t hurt anybody.”
“So, basically, you told them it’s okay to break the law,” I said.
“Only if they were sure there were no policemen near by.”
“Obviously this is a lesson you haven’t learned, given the number of tickets you’ve compiled.”
What makes matters worse is that Marty thinks he’s a better driver than I am.
“You drive jumpy,” he’ll say.
“And you drive too slow. You’re a jumpy, slow driver.”
“How many tickets have I gotten in my entire life?” I ask.
“And how many have you received?”
“That doesn’t matter. Anyway, can we just change the topic?”
3. The space-time continuum
This comes up most often in the context of watching baseball. I prefer live games—either at the ballpark or at home on our sixty-inch television. Marty likes to record games so that he can zip through commercials and, more importantly, watch certain exciting or controversial plays over and over and over again. Thus, what we see has already occurred. This doesn’t prevent Marty from cheering wildly, booing loudly, or sending good vibes via brainwaves whenever a White Sox player is up at bat.
“How can the brainwaves work if the event has already happened?” I ask.
“Anything is possible in the space-time continuum,” says my husband.
What’s more—he gets me to clap and cheer and boo along with him (though I put my foot down at sending brainwaves.)
Marty also believes there are individuals who are “designated watchers” in baseball. The designated watchers might not even be aware of their status as designated watchers. Nevertheless, it is their psychic energy that can cause batters to hit homers, pitchers to strike out the side, and teams to win close games.
“Who designates the designated watchers?” I ask.
“It’s a mystery,” replies Marty the Agnostic.
“Are they designated for the entire team or for individual players?”
“We don’t know that yet.”
“Some of the designated watchers are obviously not doing their job,” I remarked one time when Adam Dunne struck out yet again.
“It’s this kind of negative thinking on your part that causes the White Sox to lose games,” Marty said.
I hate losing. Marty hates losing. This is not a good combination for having a peaceful Scrabble game. I am probably the bigger sore loser, though I’m working on this. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m angry at only a fraction of the people I lose to: 1. Beginners. They shouldn’t have the nerve to beat me until they’ve surpassed my rating. 2. Beginners who surpass my rating too quickly. 3. Assholes. You know who you are. 4. Marty.
I should qualify my statement by saying that if I lose to Marty in the privacy of our home, I’m usually okay, especially if I know I’ve played well. It’s at the Scrabble club, especially the one that meets at the Barnes and Noble, that I’ve been known to act badly.
The last time this happened was when Marty slowly, deliberately, insultingly put down the word OCTETTES through a T in the triple lane for a total of 145 points.
OCTETTE with the extra T looked fishy, like an octet trying to be a coquette, a musical flirt.
“Hold,” I said. “I’m going to challenge that.”
He was right. I was wrong.
“How many points was that again?” I asked.
“A hundred and forty five,” he answered in what I thought was an overloud voice.
“Do you think you could say that louder so that the entire store might hear?”
He raised his voice: “One hundred and forty-five points.”
I lost it. I threw down my tiles and grabbed my bag and stormed off to TJMaxx for some serious retail therapy.
“It’s all luck, sweetie,” Marty yelled after me.
“Don’t be condescending to me, you bastard,” I answered.
I’m lucky I buy so many books. Otherwise I might have been permanently banned from Barnes and Noble.
Marty rarely loses his temper in Scrabble like I do, but he hates when I fast-play him. During a typical end of the game, I might have ten minutes on my clock while Marty has ten seconds.
He’s a far better player than I am. At least I’m better when it comes to time.