Sincerely Sire Newsletter-September 2003

      You Be The Judge

So the other day I had a six o’clock non-business, appointment, and I called Roe to tell her I wouldn’t be home until about 7:30 p.m. “Oh” she said, “that kind of blows our dinner hour doesn’t it.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess it does, but we can just eat late.”

I hang up the phone, and a few minutes later Roe calls me up again, “Would you like me to make you a sandwich and you can come home and eat an early dinner before your appointment?”

“Yeah,” I say. “That’ll work.”

The phone rings again and it’s my 6 o’clock appointment asking me if I can switch it to a 5 o’clock appointment. I think for just a split second about the sandwich Roe is making me, and then I think about the person on the other end of the line who would like an earlier appointment. I decide to please the person on the phone and that Roe and I can eat dinner at about six thirty and then that will be better for everyone.

I call Roe and tell her I will be home at about 6:30 and to put the sandwich on hold. I will not be coming home early.

Right away I can tell Roe is not happy because she says, “Well, I just finished making you a nice sandwich and a salad but no problem, okay.” Now when you’ve been married for 28 years you can tell the difference between “Okay” no problem and “okay” problem. This was definitely her “Houston, we have a problem,” okay.

This surprised me because I figured she’d be happy I could come home at 6:30 and then I wouldn’t have to leave after dinner. But, obviously, I was wrong. I looked at my watch, it was about five minutes to four. I could still make it home, eat, and then go to my five o’clock appointment, if I left right now.

“You know what honey,” I said, “I think I’ll come home right now. I think I’d like to eat before my appointment anyway. Be right home.”

I hang up the phone and bolt to my car. There isn’t a second to spare. I mean, I can’t very well just rush home, gulp down the sandwich like a porpoise eats a mackerel, and then leap back into my car and split. I had to leave time to make this early dinner look very casual and relaxed, which, of course, it wouldn’t be, but it had to look that way to her. Perception is everything.

So, I jump in my car, put the key in the ignition, turn it, and the — car alarm goes off? Yeah, that’s right, the car alarm goes off and the car engine does nothing. Hum? That’s weird. How did my car know that I was in a life and death situation with no time to spare and a wife that would gut me if I wasn’t home in precisely ten minutes to causally eat a very special sandwich she had made me with great love, affection and no doubt a beautiful presentation? How did my car know that? I mutter some choice words to myself as people drive right on by and stare at me working under the dash trying desperately to get the alarm to turn off. These car alarms are very effective I notice.

I can’t make it stop. I slam the door in disgust. It stops. I open the door, it starts. I close the door it stops. I open the door very slowly it’s quiet. I put the key back in the ignition, say a super fast prayer, then turn the key. Something goes click click click under the dash, the engine does nothing, and the alarm starts again. That’s it. I’m dead meat. Twenty minutes have passed. It’s a hot day, but that’s not why I have sweated through my shirt — I am going to have to call — her. I’m going to need a ride to my five o’clock appointment, and I’m not going to be able to eat her sandwich, not even like a porpoise, there’s no time.

Ring, ring. “Uh, hello, honey, my car won’t start. I’m going to need a ride to my five o’clock appointment.”

“Okay,” she says.

She picks me up and I am afraid. Why is she so mad? It’s only a sandwich. A turkey sandwich and a small green salad. What is the big deal? “Why are you so mad?” I ask.

“I’m not - - - Houston we have a problem - - - mad,” she says —. “I just made you a whole nice dinner and now you’re not going to eat it. I was trying to do something nice for you. Something loving.”

“I know you were,” I say. “I know, and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have changed the appointment.”

She’s still mad. She may even be mad-er. She pulls up to within a block from our house. She says I can take the car to my appointment and she will walk the rest of the way home — she is really mad.

This, finally, makes me get mad. Really mad. Which is hard to do with me. But she can do it. And she did it.

“Forget it.” I say. “Drive home. I’m canceling my appointment. Just go home. Go!”

Now she’s asking me, “What’s the matter?” She is happy now. She has achieved her goal. She pulls in the garage. We get out without speaking. She sits down on the couch in the family room. I go upstairs, cancel my appointment, change into shorts and a sweat shirt and go downstairs.

“I am going for a walk,” I say as I walk out the front door.

Now this is where living at the beach comes in really handy. I walk to the sand and keep walking for three hours. It’s dark when I get home. She is upstairs. I am waiting for hurricane Roe. Here she comes down the stairs. She sits on the couch a few feet from me and says again, “What’s the matter?”

“Don’t you think you owe me an apology,” I challenge her.

“Me, owe you, an apology?” she says.

“Yeah, you owe me an apology. What is the big deal about a turkey sandwich. So what if I was home a little later. What is the big deal!?” I knew this was going to light her fire but I didn’t care. I was, however, afraid again. She is half Italian and a big strong healthy woman.

“I try to do something nice,” she says as she heads for the refrigerator —I know what is coming next, but she is like an avalanche now. She will not be stopped. She opens the refrigerator door and grabs the plate with the salad in one hand, and the plate with the sandwich in the other hand. She walks half way to the kitchen sink, and then again, “I try to do something nice” and then she lets both plates fly through the air six feet into the kitchen sink. Bulls eye. The plates and the turkey sandwich and the salad crash into the sink and shatter to pieces. And then in her very best Bettie Davis imitation, she storms up the stairs and slams and locks the bedroom door.

I wait about five minutes and then knock on her door, “Honey, come on, open up,” and she does.

She’s got a smile on her face and I think she feels better now. She hasn’t thrown anything in a long time. She was due. As a matter of fact, I was the last one to throw something — an enchilada — at her, in June 1993 (yes, I missed or I wouldn’t be here anymore). We hug. Everything’s okay — but who was right? Her or me? And did I still have to eat the sandwich in the kitchen sink like she said. The one with the porcelain shards in it. Please email your comments and opinions to me by clicking below on the email button. I seriously would like to know what you think. Was Roe wrong to fly off the handle like that, or was I callous and not appreciative by changing my appointment after she had made me a tasty turkey sandwich and a green salad with a beautiful presentation?

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