My husband has five pairs of shoes. I know this without even having to get up and stick my head in the closet. I could name them, but that would bore even me. And I read “John Adams”— all of it, cover-to-cover, for crying out loud! Go ahead and throw rotten tomatoes at me McCullough fans! I don’t care if he has so many Pulitzer’s that he uses them as garden gnomes. He’s a snooze! And I have a degree in History, so I know a thing or two about snoozes! I’d rather read Hofstadter (and that, my friends, is saying something).
When my husband gets a new pair of shoes it is only to replace a worn out pair. It goes without saying that the “replacement” pair will be, whenever possible, an exact replica of the dilapidated pair.
How do I, shoe whore extraordinaire, compete with the type of rational thinking that drives this behavior? Well, that’s easy. I don’t. I don’t even try. It’s been a bone of contention for twenty-eight years. That’s right, you heard me. Twenty-eight years of sad and unsuccessful attempts aimed at convincing me that his methodology makes far more sense from an organizational, storage, and financial standpoint than my methodology, which is, on a very basic level something akin to a pathological addiction to footwear. I have explained to him on many, many occasions that common sense has no place in any discussion that concerns women and shoes. It’s a constant struggle (mostly for him).
He wouldn’t be so difficult to live with if his basic “less is more” approach applied only to shoes. But it doesn’t. (Puritan!) This philosophy extends to the rest of his wardrobe. (New black shirt? Throw out the old one!) He always has twenty-four white t-shirts. No more. No less. I know, I know, undershirts come in packs of three, which, I guess, makes the whole twenty-four thing seem, well, sensible. But, sometimes you come across a package with two “bonus” shirts. Instead of hanging onto a couple more decent undershirts, he throws away five of the old ones. (The rule of twenty-four t-shirts cannot be broken!) T-shirt stasis must always be maintained!
I do not have any such rules. I have no idea how many pairs of shoes I own. No doubt far too many. And I haven’t done a thorough t-shirt inventory in years.
Recently I purchased a new pair of black cowboy boots (he doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going back next week to get them in red). When I came home from shopping we did our usual “you bought another pair of shoes” dance (luckily I am a big fan of dancing in cowboy boots). Whatever. I just put them away and carried on as if he had said nothing. For whatever reason, my daughter was disturbed by his comments. Disturbed enough to ask me why I always let him “rag on me” whenever I bought a new pair of shoes.
It was funny. I got the sense that she was intimating that this argument was, somehow, symptomatic of something greater; that it was more about the overall status of our relationship than it was about how many pairs of shoes I could possibly cram into my closet. (Or under the bed.) Silly Wabbit!
Teenagers are such absolutists, aren’t they? They also think they know stuff, ya know, about their parents’ relationship. BAHAHAHAHA! Certainly there is subtext to any twenty-eight-year-old argument, but the sad reality is that we are too stupid, lazy, or busy to give this sort of thing much thought. Or, maybe we’re just deluded enough to think that shit like this is just part of the rhythm of our life together. And that it doesn’t matter.
I long ago stopped dwelling on our differences. I prefer, instead, to concentrate on the things that we have in common. And, over the years we have both made some concessions. It took some convincing, but he has finally come to understand that space movies are just westerns in which the cowboys have been given better weaponry and more advanced modes of transportation. Finally!
He embraced Matt Smith as Doctor Who. I, on the other hand, lamented the departure of David Tennant for longer than was healthy. (And, even I have to admit to loving The Ponds, though, alas, it appears that they may be gone now, too— no matter how often I tell myself not to become too attached to the companions, I never listen. Never. And I am always disappointed!)
He also managed to turn me into a New York Mets fan by convincing me that Yankees fans lack character. (They do. And who needs that hanging over their head?)
We will probably never agree on the best Springsteen song. He’s a “Jungleland” guy, I’m a “Thunder Road” gal. On this we have agreed to disagree. (Though it’s crazy to me how any song with the lyric “she ain’t a beauty, but hey, she’s alright” could ever be the second choice of any so-called normal person.) [sigh]
Anyway, I asked her to name one important thing that her father and I disagree about on any kind of regular basis. She couldn’t. She couldn’t because there are none. We agree on all the big stuff. And there’s not really much of that, is there? We are both Democrats. (He’s less liberal, but nobody’s perfect!) We are both agnostics. (No pesky religious disagreements for us!) We are firm believers that crunchy peanut butter eaters are heretics; they would have, back when humans did this sort of thing, been burned at the stake. And they would have deserved it. We are both devoted to our child. (Just how much tends to vary and is more dependent on her behavior, rather than on ours.)
So, I asked her, “What else is there?”
photo credit: squidoo.com