“Where is my hat?” I ask.
To the untrained ear this may sound like a question but it is not.
It is an accusation.
I distinctly remember leaving my hat on the kitchen counter. But now when I look for it, it is not there.
My wife does not believe that sweaty hats belong on the kitchen counter, so whenever she finds one there, she flicks it on the floor. But I looked on the floor and it was not there either, therefore I am beginning to fear that she has resorted to a more strident means of training me.
Couples do that, they train each other.
I suppose one can view the entire enterprise of marriage as a training exercise. One designed to wear down the little annoyances. I am not talking about people who make projects out of their partners because that never works. Love cannot mold people, the best it can do to file off a few rough edges.
And that is what defines a happy marriage.
Contrary to popular opinion, marital bliss is not found in the big things – rather it is found in the little things or more precisely it is found in the little ways that we do not get on each others nerves because it is the little habits that are the most abrasive– like tossing a sweaty hat onto a kitchen counter or scattering mail about the house.
That is what my wife does.
She never throws junk mail away and as a result, piles of postal litter cover every conceivable surface in our house.
Whenever I set my coffee mug down, I must first move mail. Whenever I search for the TV remote, I must first sift through piles of newspapers, catalogs and grocery store fliers.
It drives me nuts.
So I do as she does. I have my own little ways of training her. Whenever mail gets in my way, I add it to the heap of junk mail that rises to an astounding height from the kitchen counter right near where I toss my hat…..
I sift through the junk mail and there it is – my hat. I had buried it under a pile of month old newspapers.
My wife sees this and smiles triumphantly.
It always annoys me when she smiles like that – but she is trainable.