The Fine Art of Marital Conversation

the-awful-truth-cary-grant-irene-dunne

My husband and I are pulling the minivan out of our snowy, icy driveway on a cold winter’s morning.
I’m driving.

Him: All right. Here we go. Gun it!

Me: What? No. You’re crazy.

Him: Do it.

Me: No. I’m not gonna gun it!

Him: GUN IT!

Me: NO IT WON’T WORK! NO!

Him: If you don’t we’ll be stuck here. We’re gonna get stuck at the top of the hill. Oh, god. Nope. You need to punch it. We’ll get stuck on the hill! PUNCH IT! PUNCH IT! WE’LL GET–great. We’re stuck. Don’t spin the tires, nope that’s not how you–you’re digging us in deeper!

Me: AHHH! God! I hate this! I hate this! WINTER SUCKS! WINTER SUCKS! Why do we live here? WHY?

Him: Steer into the snow. INTO the snow. Just steer and hit the gas! The gas! Don’t brake!

Me: What’s happening? OH GOD!

Him: PUNCH IT!

Me: It’s not working! I’m sliding! Holy shit! We’re gonna die! We’re gonna die! Oh, god, we’re going into the ditch, we’re GOING INTO THE DITCH, WE’RE–

Him: [screaming] STEER INTO THE SNOW!

(The car suddenly shoots forward and fishtails out onto the main road, smoke pouring from the engine)

Me: Oh. Good. Thank God in heaven. That was close. Jeezum crow.

Him: You did it.

Me: No thanks to you. Pfft. Steer into the snow. What the hell does that mean?

Him: You like my beard?

Me: What?

Him: You like it? (scratches his chin)

Me: What do you mean, do I like it? You always have a beard.

Him: No, I do not!

Me: Always. You are always in a perpetual state of beardom.

Him: It’s nice. I like it. Keeps me warm. My five o’clock shadow.

Me: More like eight o’clock. [snickers]

Him: I think I’m slipping into midnight with this thing! [grinning gleefully] It’s out of control! God, I love my beard.

Me: Yeah. Good for you. I’m not kissing you anymore. Too prickly.

Him: Aw, c’mon!

Me: It is. Like kissing velcro. [sighs] I should grow a beard.

Him: Y’know, you really should.

Me: Aw, dammit.

Him: What?

Me: I have to go pee.

Him: We just left the house.

Me: Yeah. Like, duh. I know that!

Him: Two minutes ago.

Me: So?

Him: And you JUST peed. Right before you got in the car.

Me: Yeah, what’s your point.

Him: I think you pee more times in the day than I breathe.

Me: So I’ve got a bladder the size of a thimble. So what? [cringes] Ooh! God! I don’t think I’m gonna make it. I have to go really bad. Like REALLY REALLY REALLY BAD!!

Him: Pee in the coffee cup. Here.

Me: What? Ew. Gross. No.

Him: Once I peed in a bottle…

Me: Do I have to hear this story again?

Him: …I was on the longest mail route of my life. Harpswell island. Had to deliver to like 100 houses. During a blizzard.

Me: I know, I know. You had to pee and there was no bathroom so you peed in a water bottle. I know. Congratulations. Isn’t that against some kind of Post Office law?

Him: I did it. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Me: Lucky bastard. Must be nice.

Him: It was one of those pees where you’ve held it in so long, you think you’re going to die. Just explode. Pee everywhere.

Me: You’re not helping me…

Him: You know the kind. I call it The New Man Pee. Because once you finally pee, you feel like you’re reborn. Like a new man again.

Me: Shut up.

Him: I love you.

Me: [sighs] I love you, too.

[silence]

Me: Oh thank god! A Dunkin Donuts! I’ll pee in there!

Him: Wait, don’t drive in there! You’re gonna get–

Me: Stuck. We’re stuck in the parking lot.

Him: Winter sucks.

Me: Yeah.

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131 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Marital Conversation

  1. I don’t drive but it doesn’t stop me giving driving instructions to my other half. They don’t like it one bit. The y have a point, I wouldn’t dream of standing over a surgeon telling him what to do.

      1. Never sat behind the wheel. He’s in Vancouver for work for 6 weeks and told me to start his engine once a week to stop the battery dying. Needless to say I haven’t done it. I would be a terrible driver

          1. We drive the the supermarket which is a 5 minute walk away! Completely pointless but he’s lazy. I live in Camden Town, it’s about 8 minutes on the tube or about 10-15 on a bus to the West End. I always get the bus or overground trains, I hate being underground. I was gonna blog about it and take some pictures of my neighbourhood. Madame Weebles knows it well, she lived around here years ago.

          2. Oh! Please do blog about it and show off the neighborhood, I would love that. I’ve always been drawn to England. I suppose it’s because my family is from there. (My maiden name is from a town in England) I swear I’ve lived there in another life. I had no idea Weebles lived there, too.

          3. It’s certainly no Italy, I’d still go there first!

            Yeah, she lived in Kentish Town the next stop up from Camden Town, London is basically loads of villages connected, it’s why I love it rather than some sprawling mass. Every neighbourhood is unique from the next. I did a photo video for her birthday post on Le Clown’s blog, they weren’t my photos though just a hastily scraped together one from google images.

          4. My mother just got back from Italy on a cruise, she said avoid Naples – it’s filthy apparently! They are going to Venice next (didn’t take them long to start spending my Nan’s inheritance!)

            Then again London is filthy, people don’t know how to use rubbish bins, and there are always obstructions in the road and pavement, constant works going on, it’s chaos. Maybe I should take up an offer to move to Vancouver….

          5. I don’t think I know any Vancounven? (is that the word) bloggers, some advice would be handy. My partner is working there now for 6 weeks and was offered a whopping pay rise to move permanently. I would have no job but I think I’ll just walk the city all day and tell people I’m a writer

          6. Good plan. Can’t go wrong there. People will avoid you in droves. If I ever want to stop a conversation dead in its tracks I just tell people I’m a blogger.

            I would say if a huge amount of money is involved, go for it. That’s always been my motto.

          7. That sounds more promising! Like the Tube drivers i the UK, they get tons of holiday, tons of pay and then go on strike for not getting enough pay and holidays

          8. You bet! They always coincide it around the busiest days of the year, last year they were doing it on the Queens Jubilee, the Olympics…they got their raise.

            I’d understand if they were badly paid but they get loads, probably double what a nurse gets. My friend is a tube driver and it’s hilarious winding him up and seeing him try to justify it.

          9. Oh it’s my fall back if I ever have to leave my job. Knowing someone means he can get you a leg up the interview process, I would have thought that illegal with all our equality laws but he has done so before. Though it does take a while to get to train driver, first they put you on the platforms and ticket concourses to deal with the general public…..actually it’s losing it’s appeal pretty quickly.

            They also get signed off a couple of weeks when someone jumps in front of your train. He says it’s traumatic but then he just spends it in the pub.

  2. Thank GOD I live in FL. Eyelids freezing shut, steering into the snow, sliding into ditches . . . at least with as much as I hate the FL summers, I don’t have to deal with THAT stuff!

    1. First off: you’ve got an avatar pic! yahoo!

      Kim, this morning was so nerve-wracking. I drove Jim to work (our Santa Fe is dead and in the shop) and I think I fishtailed and slid on the road every few minutes. We only got three inches but it was slush. At least it’s balmy today. We might even hit the freezing mark!

  3. So do you really say Jeezum Crow, DP? I’m not trying to say you’re turning into your mother, but…

    New Man Pee. That is perfect.

    P.S. – Let me know when you start growing your beard. I want in on that.

    1. Y’know in all honesty, I don’t say Jeezum Crow. But Jim does! He really does. I say um…something that’s not quite as nice. (and take that back about me turning into my mom! Oops, too late, I’m already her. Damn!)

      I cannot BELIEVE I told all of you about the New Man Pee thing. Good thing Jim will never ever know about this….

      The beard thing? I’m hoping in 15 years it’s a reality for me. I want to keep my face warm too, it’s not fair.

  4. My husband and I have similar car conversations about how bad winter sucks–right after a big meal and it’s too cold to roll the windows down. Sometimes I would rather brave frost bite on my face than be trapped in a haze of noxious fumes.

  5. I howled. If he’s going to give you driving instructions so much, he should be driving. That way you could put a camping porta potty in the back of the minivan for emergencies. Kissing a guy with a beard is totally like kissing velcro.

    1. Now THAT is a brilliant idea, JM. I could make that work. The velcro beard thing is driving me batty. It’s all he talks about. It’s like, OK! I get it! You stopped shaving and now your hair is growing! WOW! Can you just go shave it off again please? thanks!

  6. Driving in the snow isn’t my favorite, but I’ve done it enough over the years that it doesn’t freak me out except for once in a while when there’s a particularly bad storm. Maybe because I’ve gotten myself out of a lot of pickles by doing things like…and I hate to do this to you, Leonore, but… – punching it at the bottom of the hill, or you know, um..*coughcough* putting one side of the car into the snow. (Sorry! So sorry!) I even drove on a sidewalk – well, half on the sidewalk and half on a lawn – to get up one particular hill that was completely iced over.

    Like I said, it’s not really and enjoyable thing, but I can deal with that a LOT better than I dealt with driving on long, straight, flat Florida roads. I swear, half an hour in the car in Florida and I thought I was going to lose my mind. LOSE MY MIND. If you ever move somewhere else to avoid dealing with Maine winters, do yourself a favor and at least choose a place with curves in the road!

    1. Normally I could handle the snow thing. But this was slush. The worst. And the town plow left this huge ridge of snow at the edge of our driveway. So Jim was right, I really had to gun it to get over/through it. It’s a good thing there wasn’t a huge truck coming at the time because I fishtailed right into the wrong lane. I was a wee bit anxious driving back without Jim too. I went about 20 mph the whole way.

      And you’re right about the flat roads down south. I have a brother in Jacksonville and one in North Carolina. Plus, I drove across country twice and let me tell you, the midwest isn’t much better. until you’ve driven 12 hours four days straight seeing nothing but endless flat cornfields, you really haven’t lived.

      1. We had that kind of slush yesterday. Not too deep but really slippery. Thankfully I didn’t hit it until halfway home and school was closed early so I got through it before it got too bad.

        I always drive slow in bad weather, not so much because of something happening when I’m at speed, but people forget that you still have to stop, and that involves brakes, and hitting the brakes hard means sliding. They think the anti-lock is going to save them. I try to avoid my brakes as much as possible.

        I definitely want to drive cross country, and I know I’m going to have to bring some serious entertainment when I hit the midwest. Oh yeah. Hour upon hour of cornfields is going to require drastic measures. I’m not sure what those measures are yet, but I’ll think of something. Just warn me if you ever do it again because if you go through the same towns as I did, you might not want to remember that your name is Leonore, not Darla 😉

        1. Ooh, but there are a couple cool things to see. We saw the Green Giant statue somewhere in Minnesota, I think. Yup, smack dab in the middle of a cornfield was this huge Jolly Green Giant statue. We also saw lots and lots of billboards for WALL DRUG. So exciting! We took I-90 (I think) the first time to Seattle, then on my way back to Maine from Portland Oregon I took I-80. We ate peanut butter sandwiches and listened to farm reports on the radio in Wyoming, it was awesome.

    1. I timed it just right. I made sure once the car started to slide through the intersection to cut the wheel to the right and fishtail straight into the drivethru so I could get my jumbo coffee and glazed donut.

  7. Ah, to get to be a certain age … I just heard Wanda Sykes say:

    “I used to carry an extra pair of panties with me in case I got lucky. Now I carry an extra pair in case I sneeze.”

    Had to share.

    1. And I thank you for that. God, I love, love, love Wanda. She’s the best. Did you ever see her stand up where she talks about women going jogging? That made me laugh so hard I burst a blood vessel.

  8. That’s awesome! If you want, you can buy an adaptor that women can use to pee into a bottle. They’re mostly designed for camping situations so you don’t have to get out of your tent in the middle of the night. But you could probably use it in a car… as long as you’re not driving!

        1. I am SO glad I checked my spam for this link, Steve. For only 13.99 my dreams of having a smooth drive with my husband are within my grasp. (although, there is the problem of balancin….and multi-tasking what with the peeing and the driving and the bickering and all)

  9. Oh I just hate it when I’ve barely left the house and I have to pee… again. At least I’m not alone. Love the conversation thread.

    I have found that one of the most fun things regarding driving in the snow/ slush, is to find a parking lot with few to no cars in it and push your car to the limits. Get going at a moderate clip, haul your wheel over hard to port and jam on the brakes. Do doughnuts! Also, when our roads are slippery, the first thing I do when I get out onto our road is to hit the brakes faily hard to see if I’m going to slip or not, and to see how slow I need to be going to stop when I want to stop. Obviously I do this with no one around.

    Or if your rear bumper needs a new paint job and you don’t want to pay for it, jam on your brakes when someone is close behind you, let them slide into your bumper, and let their insurance pay to fix it. You can always say a critter ran across the road and you just reacted.

    1. Damn, girl! You are fierce! Doughnuts? I would only do a doughnut in my own driveway (we have a huge driveway) and even then, I’d be too scared. God, I’m such a wimp.

      And you’re last tip sounds a tad shady. It might work around here, we’ve got loads of varmints running around.

  10. that is just perfect – I know that conversation–though my husband will not sit in the passenger seat when I drive– he did once and his hands are forever printed in the dashboard–I ask him why he lets me drive the children around if he is afraid of my driving

    1. You are good. Way better than me. For starters, I hit and killed a moose when I was in my 20s. Also: when I was 17, I backed my car up and left the door open slightly only to have it catch on the porch railing and it ripped the door clean off, just like opening a sardine can. This was right in front of my dad, too.

  11. Yeah, I rarely drive the hubs. And he knows better than to give me driving instructions. Me, on the other hand……

    The hubs grows a vacation goatee. So for random weeks in the year, he’s all scratchy and leaves little red dots on my face…and other places. I am not a fan. I won’t kiss him with that thing. Velcro indeed.

    1. Yeah, and his beard is always in the in between stage, not a full beard, not stubble, but mostly a prickly mess. The poor guy can grow a beard in 10 minutes though. So he has to shave every single day and he gets sick of it. I can’t blame him. But I won’t kiss him much until his beard is like ZZ Top length.

  12. Man, this sounds eerily familiar. Not about the snow or the beard (Mr. Weebles is clean-shaven) but about everything else. The bickering, the insistence on one person’s way being correct, the weird sidebar conversations in the middle, the arguing over directions or driving technique. Yup. Very very familiar.

  13. This conversation sounds SO familiar. My husband seems to be a little preoccupied when he drives. He’ll start talking and ease up on the gas until he’s going 40 in a 55 zone. THat drives me bananas. I have to bite my lip to keep from shouting. “Speed up! You’re THAT annoying driver that I hate to get stuck behind!” But I still let him driver everywhere we go together because, you know, it’s a lot easier for me.

    Today it’s in the 60s. In Illinois. In January. It poured rain half the night and I just heard thunder. That must mean the world is coming to an end, so whether or not we bicker is a moot point.

    1. Global warming is really messing up my wardrobe selections. Why, today it’s supposed to be in the 50s. What the heck am I supposed to wear? Fleece over my shorts? It’s so confusing, Pegonacious.

  14. OneHotMess

    I am from Montana, but live in Maine now. Come visit my luge run of a road down to my cottage for some real fun and game! As an aside, this winter sucks!

  15. I don’t drive (I’m a bad pedestrian with spatial problems so I’ve never tried to inflict myself on the general public from behind a steering wheel) so don’t have these sorts of conversations, but your post made me giggle (and nearly swallow the cough lozenge I am eating, not because I have a cough but because I’ve started watching my diet again and damn it, it’s got sugar in it) and that’s good enough for me! 🙂

    1. I also have severe spatial problems. Depth perception isn’t very good. Never was great at sports because I always thought the ball was about five inches further away from my head. Tell me, Val–what is this cough lozenge diet you speak of? Because I’m only one month into my New Year’s resolution and I’ll try anything at this point.

      1. Ah, the cough lozenge diet. You have to put yourself on a normal diet and then, when the sugar cravings get really bad, you eat a cough lozenge. Or an indigestion tablet. Or a dog biscuit. Or a bee’s thingies… whatever has sugar in it! 😉

          1. Do you like licquorice (I mean the real one not the black rubbery candy type)? If so, get some or put it in some tea or something, as it’s very sweeet and leaves a sensation of sweetness on the tongue. It might help. I use a lot of herbal teas and nearly all of them have it as an ingredient. (You don’t need much, though). The flavour is not as strong with the natural form.

          2. I’m not a big fan of the yucky rubbery candy type, but I’d try anything. I LOVE to drink tea. I drink it all dang day. Of course, I end up putting sugar in there…or honey….

  16. Yup, winter driving sucks, but I love being tucked away inside all nice and cozy warm while there’s a snow storm brewing outside. As long as I have enough to eat and all systems are functional… 😉

    And why do me insist on telling us how to drive?

  17. Awesome, DarDar. Your husband must be some kind of bearded stud. My husband has my permission to grow a beard if he wants to face a life of celibacy. I cannot stand kissing next to that thing. Why can’t it feel like cornsilk? Or like Barbie hair? A chinchilla pelt? No, it feels like a boar bristle brush.

    Winter blows.

    1. He thinks he’s a bearded stud. He’s even got some gray hairs in his beard. I told him once he starts looking like Kenny Rogers, we are getting divorced.

      By the way….How do you do it, Angie? How? Every word in your comment made me bust a gut laughing. Too bad you couldn’t find a career in commenting, you’d be rollin’ in it.

      1. Maybe I should lose the blog and go to a Twitter account? I could kick back then. I’m practically in retirement anyway.

        My hubs has a major patch of gray in his beard! Another reason for him not to have it.

  18. My wife hates my stubble. She acknowledges its awe-inspiring sexiness (those might be my words), but that means nothing to her at this point.

    And it’s true – peeing in a bottle while in the car is one of those moments you think, “You know, being a man is great. It’s just great.”

    1. Awe-inspiring sexiness means nothing to hear at this point? Yeah. I get her, I really do.

      And so! you’ve peed in a bottle in the car, huh. (shaking head knowingly) Yup. Not surprising. All you tattooed-clad beer-crafting fitted sheet-freak Oregonians know how to live on the edge.
      I’m still not so sure if I’d rather pee in a bottle or not have to shave my face every day. It’s really a toss-up.

    1. Ah, yes. If there’s anything I can say with certainty, it’s that my husband and I have the best, most vivid conversations. I told him we should be in a reality show. Just us driving around, bickering and talking over each other. It’d be a serious hit, Judy. People all around the world would feel so much better about their own lives.

  19. As a postal worker I have to drive in whatever weather – snow, sleet, whatever. It was hard at first but I’ve adjusted. Now I sing loudly to remind myself not to put foot on brake, which is such a natural reaction to sliding around. It sounds like you two have a fun relationship.

  20. We just spent two weeks driving down from Victoria to Arizona. Peeing on a road trip is not for ladies, but like you say, at least we don’t have to shave our faces every day. The awkwardness of road peeing is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

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