Most married couples have their fights. After you’ve been married a while, you realize that you’re really just having the same fight on a different day. Slightly different versions of the same fight. But still, the same fight. At least that is what Scott and I do.
A typical danger zone for Scott and me is when we are in a new place. He is driving, and I am navigating. I am terrible at navigation. He is terrible at patience. The first time Scott used GPS to navigate, he was alone with Eddie. When they arrived at their destination, Scott called me right away. He wanted to tell me that the GPS was marriage saving technology.
Another thing Scott and I fight about is stuff. Things. Objects. We treat stuff differently. Scott treats his stuff very carefully. He keeps it organized and in good repair. He holds on to his stuff FOR.EVER.
I’m not so careful. I think it’s just stuff. Here today. Gone Tomorrow. I usually want to get rid of our stuff.
Recently, we were driving somewhere in my car. Scott was in the driver’s seat. He found his sunglasses that he had been looking for in the pocket of the door. They were broken. He was a little irritated. He said, “Can’t we agree that you should just use your stuff, and I’ll just use my stuff?” Then, he added, “If you do use my stuff, could you at least try to take care of it?”
I’m like, “Can we agree for you to not be so picky? They’re just sunglasses. I don’t know what Scott gets all worked up about, anyway. They work, don’t they?”
I thought Scott would never change. For years we have been arguing about all this stuff. I try to haul it out the door, he tries to drag it back inside. He admits that one of his biggest fears is that we will be in need of something that we have given away. It’s not his fault. He grew up in the Great Depression. Well, he didn’t, but he certainly could have. He would have done well for himself in the Great Depression.
Scott has had an epiphany lately. This summer he is becoming a new man. He is finally ready to get rid of stuff. I’m shocked at what he’s finally ready to let go. We have been tearing through the basement, and hauling away bags of silly, old stuff.
He has had these slippers for as long as I have known him. He says he’s ready to give them away. He was thinking to charity. I was thinking to the incinerator. Think of the lucky young man who will stumble across these shiny slippers at Goodwill. The things our family does for those less fortunate. I didn’t mean to make you cry. I’m sorry. Let us just be an inspiration to you and your family. Give until it hurts.
The slippers were a huge indication of how serious Scott is about ridding ourselves of all of these things that are unnecessary. Something even bigger than slippers happened though. Scott said we could get rid of this:
You know what that is? That is a signed poster from the spokes model for Dubuque Star Beer. The model signed this for Scott when he was a freshman in college. Yes, that’s a cornfield behind her. In Iowa we laid out at the cornfield.
She wrote on the poster, “Dear Scott, you’re the hottest guy I’ve seen all day. Thanks, Mary”
This was a big moment for Scott. I know he had a lot of unspoken emotional attachment to this poster. Mary was a special lady. Scott spent some quality minutes with her while she took the time to sign this poster.
Over the years we’ve run across that poster several times. Scott never failed to show me what Mary wrote.
“Miki, did you see what is written on this poster?”
“Yep,” I said. “I read it. Again.”
I could tell it was a fond memory for him. I was always impressed. I felt like a pretty lucky person to have gotten the guy Mary thought was so hot. The hottest.
After we cleaned the basement and threw the poster in the garbage, I told Scott I was proud of him. I said that I knew it was a big deal for him to get rid of all that stuff, especially the memento from his special lady friend. I said, I’m sure you really were the hottest guy there that day.
He was watching TV when I said that. He didn’t bother to look away from the TV. He casually replied, “Oh, I asked her to write that.”
This whole thing. This life of mine. It’s all been a lie.