The Retiree


After half a century, spouses can sometimes figure out what the other is saying, or going to say. That is a valuable time-saver when it works right. I'm working on sharpening that skill, but there are still surprises.
“Spell zucchini,” said Wife.
It never occurred to me to ask why. Copying a recipe, maybe, or using someone's and trying to read it. “It's c-c-h,” I said, in that peculiar shorthand married people develop over the years. The other letters were obvious. I assumed a couple things that didn't follow, such as she was probably baking zucchini bread and I'd get a slice. Wrong. She was baking pumpkin bread, and I had to deliver it to the neighbor. Our communication seemed incomplete.
Turns out, she did bake zucchini bread, but the freezer ate it. My perceived dejection caused her to bake another loaf of pumpkin bread, and later I did get a slice, but that came about because of my pouting and had nothing to do with the half century we've been together.
Later, while I was in another room, she announced rather loudly, “Dead frog!” She likes to talk to me from another room.
“Not mine,” I said. She had tracked in a little tree frog. It stuck to her shoe when she was shaking out a towel. I took care of the corpse, and she didn't even need to ask—a result of being together for so long. I know she isn't fond of disposing of small creatures which are deceased for one reason or another. Then I reminded her of the tree frog that found its way into her shoe and expired when she put the shoe on. She didn't notice it until she took the shoe off. Tree frogs are pretty soft.
Years ago we enjoyed listening to her parents when one of them would ask a question, and the other would answer with something completely unrelated, and the first would respond to the original question, neither one noticing the problem. Something like, did you enter that check you wrote; I filled the car up Tuesday; good, I need to balance it and get some groceries; the tank is still full. They were both happy with the exchange, so we didn't bother to correct them.
Wife wanted to know why I'm picking on her folks. It's simply an example, and that sort of thing probably happened with my folks as well. I'm pointing out a common trait of spouses that develops over time, not just picking on one's in-laws, although I'm not above that.
I don't think we have reached their level of unconscious agreement yet, but we are on the way. It seems that my perceptions need sharpening, though. If she'd answered me with c-c-h, I probably would have asked for the rest of the letters.
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