My husband and I are very fortunate that we are able to carpool to work most mornings. It saves money on gas as well as wear and tear on both cars. Those are the pros. The most notable con might be that we are both trapped in a car for 25 or 30 minutes. Together.
This means that he had better hope he started the morning off on the right foot with me so there is no concern of that Eject button finally being installed in the passenger seat.
I have tried warning him not to tick me off first thing in the morning in the car before I drop him off, so that I won’t want to drop him off miles before his actual stop (he works in a hospital - how ironic). Still, there are points the man feels he has to make, last words he believes he has a right to squeeze in, without any concern for his own wellbeing. Because really, in the long run, that's what he should be concerned about - that long, long, Long ride home he will endure because #1) I am not a guy and I don't forget – anything - by the end of the day, and #2) because I am still driving, as well as controlling the speed with which we travel, the temperature of the car, and - as a final jab - the radio station.
It is typically my expectation that he will come to his senses usually before lunch, and I will get an apologetic text message or quick phone call. Under most circumstances I accept said apology, we will banter back and forth about whether I'm going to pick him up after work and if he should borrow a body bag, and it's all good by the time I pull up to the building at the end of the day.
It is my belief that this does not happen without divine intervention, forces at work. I mean this last part literally – coworkers - who straighten his butt out. We will call them his Coworker Conscience.
I imagine that he must start his day in a huff over our last moments and carry that "I was right and I sure told her" mode right into his break. And then he shares his imagined triumph with the other guys.
S (for spouse, you may assume): My morning started off just great. Had a fight with my wife on the way in.
CC1: Oh, man. Not a good way to start the day. Did you apologize yet?
S: Hell, no! She was nagging me. She sounded just like her mother.
CC1: Holy crap. Tell me you didn't say that to her.
S: I did - why shouldn't I?
CCs: <Collective gasp>
CC1: Are you out of your freaking mind? You think this is about being right? How long have you been married? That was such a rookie move.
CC2: He's right, dude. Seriously, apologize.
S: What for? She ticked me off! So what if she carries this over to the end of the day? It's not like I care about a quiet ride home... or that black cloud over the house that somehow appears... or the way the animals huddle in fear in the corner. Oh sh--
CC1 and 2: Exactly.
CC2: And the conditions.
CC1: Oh yeah, what are the conditions?
S: The – what??
CC1: You know – the thing or things that got tacked on because you set yourself up for having to apologize. The conditions!
S: <Puzzled expression, slight head shake>
CC2: Did she happen to throw anything into the conversation once you apologized about what she expects you to do now? Are you suddenly responsible for making dinner every other night? What about the remote – did she mention anything about you relinquishing control of the remote? There has to be something…
S: No, no. She just accepted my apology, I swear. It was really fine once I said I was sorry and she said she wants me to account for every cent I spend on lunch. She did mention something about finally getting the garage cleared out so she can get her car in there…Oh sh--
CCs: The conditions.
The good thing about my spouse is that, while he may fold his arms and stamp his foot with me, he will usually take the wise words of the CCs into consideration. That’s when I can expect the text or call, occasionally a face-to-face (more like face to windshield) apology when I pick him up. But more often contact is made ahead of time, most likely to ensure that I will remember (ahem) to pick him up.
He’s not the only one who thinks he has to get the last word in at the most inopportune time. I have been known to fly off the handle (though seldom, according to me) about something first thing in the morning and won’t let it go until after we’ve parted in the morning. To my advantage, though, is the fact that I’m a female and I work with mostly females (one guy and five women – he doesn’t have a chance to have an opinion, really). What are the chances of them trying to convince me that I’m wrong? Right. And let’s face it, most likely he did or said something to start it anyway. At some point. Within that same week, probably.
Funny how we can be in the same car for hours traveling to various destinations on the weekend, but there is something about that drive to work that can make a car seem like a verbal inferno, or worse, a cavern of silence. Seriously though, those days really are blessedly rare. I can honestly say that I miss our mornings together for the weeks he is on call and has to take his own car. That is, as long as he has been on his best behavior.
Now it’s the weekend and we are planning on getting out there and enjoying a break from shoveling or driving in snow (four storms in two weeks – is it any wonder temperaments are stretched?). There will be no harsh words, no conversation-ceasing sarcasm to ruin our day. It will just be fun and good companionship.
And I won’t even have to mention that I had the Eject button installed last week.