notquiteold

Gracefully Aging – With Resistance

Just My Imagination

Cut flowers in a vase

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Every once in a while I wish I could think like a man. Because I’d really like to know what the heck my husband could possibly be thinking.  So I decided to give it a try.  Here’s an incident from a few years ago, told from what may be my husband’s point of view. I’ve changed the names and dates, but it’s not much of a disguise.

 Most of what I write on this blog is true, and this may be too.


THE ANNIVERSARY

Ah, damn.  I did it again.

MaryAnn had that hurt puppy look that she reserves for only me.

“I just don’t understand you.  What is so difficult about remembering one single day?”

“I’m really sorry.”  I tried hard to keep my eyeballs stuck right in their sockets, as she always accuses me of rolling my eyes when I am insincere, and I was in enough trouble already.

Years ago, MaryAnn had this framed embroidery thing—she called it cruel, but I never really got that, since I thought it was kinda pretty—that her great-aunt Florence or Flora or some such old lady name—I know, Mildred—gave us for a wedding gift.  It was all little silver bells, and in fancy writing it said, “The bells rang for joy… For MaryAnn and Frank… On this day… July something nineteen something.”  It hung right above the dresser, where I saw it every morning when I put my wallet back in my pocket for the day.  It was sort of like the emission sticker expiration on your car.  It’s not like you really notice it, but it sort of gets absorbed, so you have this physical sense of the date.  But about five years or so ago, MaryAnn redecorated the bedroom and she took the damn thing down.  “It’s way too sweet,” she said, confusing me even more on the cruel thing.  Anyway, there’s been hell to pay ever since.

The first year the embroidery came down, I forgot our anniversary.  MaryAnn was upset and I took her out to eat at one of those too-expensive restaurants, and the next day—well, the next weekend—I went out and bought her pearl earrings.

The second year, I got credit for remembering.  I think MaryAnn must have been complaining at the office because Mike, this guy who sits near MaryAnn in the next cube, calls me at work—at WORK—and says, whispering-like, “It’s your anniversary.  MaryAnn would really like flowers.  And sent to the office, so everyone will know what a prince you are.”  “I owe you,” I said.  “No shit,” said Mike, “a case of Rolling Rock.”  Man, I was in good shape for weeks that year.

But Mike transferred to Claims a few months later.  And I haven’t remembered since.

So MaryAnn was sitting across the table from me, with a look on her face like she just broke a toe.

“I really am sorry.  You know I have a terrible memory,” I tried again.

“You don’t seem to have a bad memory for other things.  If this was important to you, you’d remember.  You just don’t care.”

Now it was taking real work for my eyes not to be pinging around my head.  Why can’t she just TELL me?  Why can’t she just warn me a day or so ahead?  But no, she’s got this goddamn idea that if I don’t remember myself it doesn’t count.

“No honey, it’s real important to me. The best day of my life.  I’m just shit-for-brains with dates.”

“Oh, yeah?” she countered.  “I bet you remember the day you bought your first car.”

“Um, not really.  A Ford, maybe.  I don’t remember much about it.”  I added, “I’m sorry I’m such a fuck-up.  I’ll make it up to you.  I will.  Would you like to go to Newport for the weekend?  I could buy you one of those tennis bracelets.  Not with little tennis racquets, like I thought at Christmas, but with the real diamonds like you showed me.”

“I know you love me,” MaryAnn said.  I think I had softened her a little.  “But it hurts when you don’t remember our wedding day.”

If I could get her to smile, I would be past the quicksand part.  “Can we hang up that embroidery thing that your aunt made?  How about in the bathroom?”

She laughed.  All set for a year, except for the diamond bracelet part.  There goes a grand.

It was June twenty-first, 1970.  I was sixteen.  I wanted a car so bad.  “How much money do you have?” my old man asked.  I had three hundred and twenty dollars.  We went to the used car lot that one of his poker buddies ran, and we picked out a 1963 Ford Galaxie 500.  It had a police intercept 390 and a two-barrel carburetor.  We took it out and it went one hundred and ten down Route 72.  No problem.  My dad handed over my money.  We changed the automatic to a 3-speed tranny, and then it went one-thirty-five.  It had silver gray interior, but the exterior was a girly cream color.  I re-painted it this great Mopar color, Blue Fire Metallic, although I have no use for any Mopar product now.  Man, I wish I still had that car.  I loved that car.

1963 Ford Galaxie photographed at the Rassembl...

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26 Comments

  1. My dad seems to forget my parents anniversary too. My mother seems to over it and I get a spa weekend out of it with her so I’m not complaining either.

  2. That was so funny, but i am the wife and it is ME who forgets!! I am terrible with dates!! c

  3. I don’t claim to understand how men think either, but the comparison to the emission sticker expiring is absolutely hysterical!

  4. this cracked me up! great post

  5. haha! Ain’t that the truth. My husband can recall ever hunting trip to a T, and has shed full of deer horns (the ones that fall off each spring). He can look at that deer horn and tell you when he found and what piece of ground it came from. So far he’s been pretty good about our anniversary; hope he keeps it up! Great post. :)

  6. Love the concentration on keeping his eyeballs front and center!

    I knew he remembered all the details of the car!

    • He remembers all the details of every car he ever owned. And every car his father ever owned. And every car his brother ever owned.

      • hahahahaha! Can he imitate the sounds of the engines, because OF COURSE they all sound different!

  7. rose

    Enjoyed this! My husband only has room for sports facts in his brain and we were married on my birthday so it won’t sneak up on him.

    • Getting married on your birthday is a wonderful strategy… if he remembered my birthday. Maybe if I got married on HIS birthday!

  8. My husband never forgets….but this year I did so I had to write that post about it a couple days ago. We don’t do much other than maybe go out to eat and sign up for another year. He isn’t big on cars, but the sports thing…he might remember that kind of stuff.

    This was great!

  9. So far, so good here for the past 32 years or so (that day is coming up in just over a month), but it is the gift stuff that he just doesn’t understand. Did I want cash for my birthday? Not so much, but that was my gift one year. Did I want both of us to get new cell phones? No, that was what he wanted, and this was the excuse to get them.
    Oh, well. It could be so much worse.
    He’s one of the good guys, for all the limitations of imagination.
    Thanks for a great example of seeing things from another point of view!

    • My husband is one of the good guys too. But he makes be crazy too.

  10. ha! I’m still stuck on the cruel embroidery. If you’re wondering if they’ve gone out of fashion as wedding gifts…they haven’t. Ours is hiding in, I mean, brightening up, the guest room.

    • Maybe someday this “art” will die out. We can only hope.

  11. I love your blog, and named you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is outlined on my blog. Thanks for all of the smiles you give me!

  12. Alright – I’m dying to know – he did NOT buy you a bracelet with tennis rackets dangling off of it?!! LOL!

  13. Selective memory…???? You have such a way of laughing at life’s moments. Who knows what goes on in their heads??? I’ve often wondered that myself. And – great ol’ car!!!

  14. They are a different breed entirely. Happy belated anniversary!

  15. Great post, I love the final paragraph!

    My current partner is wonderful at remembering anniversarys but, since we are not yet married, he’s been spared that one so far!

  16. pharphelonus

    OK, you need a male voice in here defending us men.
    Ah, forget it. We’re swine. LOL
    Sweet car tho …

  17. MEN!!!

  18. I wonder what it is about male brains but I do understand about the forgetful part because I’m more forgetful myself and have forgotten my daughter’s anniversary this past year.

    I like how you got into your husband’s shoes and tried the approach from a male perspective. Nice analysis and witty.

  19. You’ve nailed that voice, Mary Anne! I don’t bother hoping anymore. I announce it days in advance, and sometimes put it in his diary. Still, I had to walk my husband round to the jewelry store on our 25th anniversary, where he said, with some surprise: “Do people give jewelry for the 25th?” The woman behind the desk said, “Well, duh”

  20. JSD

    This is hilarious!

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