Whenever we argue, my wife likes to open with: “Do I have to repeat myself?”
I usually tell her yes. It is how I find out what we are arguing about.
When I do that, she says, “I’ve told you a thousand times.” Thus opening a thousand possibilities.
Then I remind her (for the thousandth time) that a thousand miscommunications do not make a point: only government works like that.
“Tell me again,” I say.
This is when she will bring up an age old conflict. Something we have been around and around about forever. It could be something as simple as failing to load the dryer or it could be something as complex as having loaded the dryer while failing to remove an item of (her) clothes that shrinks in the heat.
It is always something. But it is always something that will never be resolved because decades of repetition have failed to change me.
You would think she would catch on – but she never does. Maybe it is proof that she loves me – because she never gives up hope that I will change. It is what lies on the other side of hope that allows people to see sunshine through the rain. We always hope that things will get better and things usually do get better – but rarely in the ways we hope for.
We just have to be flexible.
I will never remember to separate the wash because I can never figure out what shrinks and what doesn’t. It is all a complete mystery to me and even if it wasn’t, something of hers would inevitably hide in one of my shirtsleeves and I would never find it – but she would.
So there we are in the laundry and there she is saying, “Do I have to repeat myself?”
“I am sorry if I ran something of yours through the dryer,” I tell her.
“I checked,” she says, “and you didn’t.”
“Then I am completely confused.”
She shakes her head in disgust. “You loaded the dryer yesterday but you forgot to turn it on. Our clothes have been marinating all night and now I have to rewash the load.”
“We’ve talked about that.”
“I know,” I say, “at least a thousand times.”