I’d marry her a thousand times over if I could.
That being said, the woman could not tell an interesting story if her life depended on it.
Seriously, if some random hooded thug had a gun to her head and told her to tell him an interesting story or he'd blow the head clear off her shoulders, well, let's just say I’d be scrubbing her blood off the carpet and picking pieces of her brain out from our stucco walls.
What? You think that was mean of me? You believe I might have gone a little too far with the whole "brains in stucco" thing?
Well, you’re wrong.
Honestly, I didn’t go far enough.
To better illustrate my point, I ask you now to follow along as I give you an example of the type of conversations my wife and I have on a fairly regular basis.
"So how was work today, T?"
That was, me. I was doing the good husbandy thing and asking my wife how her day was. I used to ask this question a lot when we were first married because I loved her and I was genuinely interested in hearing how she spent the hours we were apart.
I don’t ask it so much anymore – for reasons that will soon become clear.
She’d usually pep up upon hearing this question. Her eyes would get big and her smile would widen. It’s the same expression a puppy makes when you offer it a piece of cheese or the leftovers from the morning breakfast.
"Yeah, of course. What happened today? How'd everything go?"
When she said "really" I should have responded with, "no, of course not…I'd have to be an idiot to seriously want to put myself through that," but I didn't.
Hindsight is a mean son of a bitch.
Hindsight is that kid you knew growing up that had a bike, while you were still scooting around in your stupid, plastic Big Wheel. Hindsight likes to rub shit in your face.
As she started her story, she was all smiles and butterscotch. She had stuff she wanted to tell me and she was anxious to tell it. "Well, today we had an IEP meeting about, Martin. His parents and their advocate were there, and you know it’s really important that parents have an advo…cate…there…be…"
As quickly as she started, she was fading away.
The upward curls on the corners of her lips flattened. The stack of bills in her hands had garnered her attention. There was an electric bill, a cell phone bill, a credit card bill, a thank you card for the mostly awful gift we bought my brother and his wife for their wedding shower. There was too much for her to look at and take it. It was sensory overload and she was unable to stay focused.
In a matter of seconds she’d stopped talking altogether.
I tried to bring her back. "Hun?" For a moment, anyway, it worked.
"Oh? What? Oh…yeah…so…what was I talking about?"
"Something about, Martin and IEP or something like that…"
"Oh, yeah, yeah! Oh! You'll never believe what Lisa told me about, Janice and Debbie Menn!"
I had no idea who Janice was - or Debbie Menn for that matter. Neither of these facts were of interest to her.
Everyone knows background information is a wildly overrated aspect of storytelling anyway.
"So, anyway, it turns out Debbie has been having an affair with Lewis. You know Lewis, right? Lewis who teaches fifth grade…you know him."
I had no idea who Lewis was either – despite her insistence to the contrary.
"Well, I guess they’ve broken it off now and…then…there was some…other…stuff…"
Shit. She’d finished flipping through the bills, tossed them aside and moved onto her fingers. She was examining the nails and picking at the polish, and seemed absolutely absorbed in the process. "I can't believe how bad my fingers look. Can you believe this? I broke this nail at work today…"
In less than three minutes she’d managed to change subjects no less than three times. That’s a subject a minute for all the math geniuses out there. Her complete lack of focus was astounding. If someone, somewhere happened to be offering up an award for lack of focus (possibly called The Focuseys) she would have been a lock to walk away with a statuette of some sort.
I think my wife’s brain might look a lot like a scene from, Hitchcock’s "The Birds." I imagine thoughts and ideas flying around, slamming into each other without rhyme or reason, chirping and squawking and leaving piles of Oreo cookie colored poop all over the place.
I bet it makes for one hell of a CAT Scan.
"Hey! Don't let me forget! I need to call your mother and ask her how formal the Christmas dinner is going to be."
Holy crap. She actually finished a thought.
With the examination of her broken nails and painted fingers apparently completed, she actually managed to construct something resembling a partially coherent thought. The sentence had a beginning and an ending, and it even called on me to participate in the conversation on some level. This was a remarkable change of events.
If I had a big red marker handy I would’ve drawn a smiley face on the calendar, or something. At the very least she deserved a gold star, or maybe a rainbow sticker or som…
"What's on TV tonight? Is it "Project Runway?"
Ooh. Spoke too soon.
She switched conversations so quickly it gave me whiplash. I could have sued, but we were married. Her money was my money and I would have just been suing myself.
With a heavy sigh and a shake of my head, I turned to walk away.
"Hey! Where are you going?"
"Upstairs. I suddenly have a really good idea for a story."
“Wait! Wait!” She snagged her purse with one hand and tossed it in my direction. “Can you do me a favor and take this with you. Just put it by the thing…in the room…”
“The thing in what room?”
“You know, the thing on the desk. The gumanta.”
Gumanta? I didn’t respond, because there was no response.
“You know what I’m talking about. Just put it by the magic music maker, Steven.”
She was talking about the little radio in the bathroom – or maybe the alarm clock. Don’t ask me how I figured it out. I didn’t bother to narrow it down.
As I was about to leave the room she stopped me again. "What's it about?"
“What’s, what about?”
"It’s about how you can't tell a good story."
"What are you talking about? I tell great stories! Just today I was telling, Angie about this one time when…she…and then some…thing…else…"
She was flipping though the channels on the television and slowly fading away once again. It was 4:15 and Judge Judy was on. The old broad was telling some kid to stop pissing on her leg and calling it rain, or something equally idiotic. Whatever it was, my wife found it hilarious.
Content that our conversation had concluded, I headed upstairs.
I’m not entirely convinced she even knew I left.
I had a story to write – you know, after a quick stop at the magic music maker, of course.