– by Michael!
“Honey… why is everything… now, I like it. Don’t misunderstand me. It works. But… why is all of our furniture rearranged?”
“Well, I saw a bug.”
This was an actual bit of dialogue that occurred between my wife and I in our first couple of months of marriage. I had just made my way home after a day of teaching and bookstore-working and was prepared to throw myself onto the couch, only to find that – tada! – it was in another location.
Hence my question to my new bride, and hence her somewhat obscure answer. Turns out that she had seen a roach – one of those big critters that you’re sure has a knife, or perhaps a Glock, tucked away somewhere, because why else would they be both so bold AND so frightening? Anyway, this particular insectile abomination had already expired, so all Joanie had to do was clean it up.
Now, the only way that she will ever actually “pick up” a roach is with a glove made of at least one roll of paper towels, spread out and artfully arranged to ensure that she can neither see nor feel the offending bit of multilegged protein. This particular time, Joanie elected to be more fiscally conservative by using the vacuum cleaner instead of an entire roll (or three) of paper towels. However, to really get to the roach, she had to first move the couch over a bit. And if she was going to move it that far, she might as well move it all the way out and vacuum under it, since there could well be dust and crumbs and such.
And if she was going to move the couch to vacuum…
So she actually moved every single piece of furniture in the living-room, getting to all of the hard-to-reach cleaning spots, and then realized that… well… she liked it!
And so did I, once I got over the initial shock. And this has been a consistent theme in the last three years – Joanie likes to rearrange the furniture, and I pretty much always like the end result.
I just can’t be around while it’s happening.
For my part, I’m like a toddler. I do not like change. I like things to be the way they are, because that is the way they are. I’m never going to actually see any need to rearrange the furniture, because it’s fine the way it is. So when I’m asked to rearrange furniture, my “cranky-meter” instantly goes up a bit, because… well… because I don’t like change.
Joanie, meanwhile, tends to get inspired by new concepts and visions of how to best arrange our stuff in a way that may or may not make sense to me – and back when I was still trying to help out with things like this, I would try to offer opinions or suggestions, and she would let me know in no uncertain terms that no, the table would not go better over there, it belongs over here.
It’s important for a married couple to share things like tasks, or tastes, or interests. It is just as important to understand what things you just … don’t. It took us a couple of years, but by now we both actually enjoy the not-infrequent room-shiftings that magically happen while I’m out of the apartment. Joanie has a knack for opening up our home and making great use of what we have, and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t agree with her wholeheartedly.
So once every couple of months, I’ll come home and ask…
“Wow, honey, was it a big bug?”