Monday, April 6, 2009

Must NOT Deviate: Or, The Pot Calling the Kettle Clint Black

Clint Black almost got kicked off “The Celebrity Apprentice” last night for his inability to deviate from a plan, even when it was obviously tanking. His laser-like focus prevented him from taking into account anyone else’s perspective. I looked over at Tom at key points, because my beloved husband is also not a frequent “deviator.” Is that a word? He’s certainly not surly or self-righteous like Clint Black was. But still.

I had hints of this very early on. On our first date, he took me to a charming combination Café/Bookstore. He knew the English major in me would love this. However, we didn’t get there until after my shift at Blockbuster, and the place was beginning to shut down.

Two surly waiters, ready to get home, informed us that they only had one item left: Shrimp Lasagna. Rather than taking this as a hint that we should try a different restaurant, Tom asked if I liked shrimp, and when I said yes, settled himself down at the table for the long haul.

You remember first dates, right? The longing looks, the laughter, lingering over a glass of wine, sharing family stories and anecdotes that seem fresh and new with a new person.
I am a people person, meaning that I possess eyes, and the servers’ huffs and puffs and foot tapping were not lost on me, but Tom didn’t notice.

All was going according to plan. After dinner, when he wanted to browse in the bookstore portion of the restaurant, I put my chunky-soled foot down and said we had to leave. It was a beautiful, romantic first date and I ignored the foreshadowing…

Almost 5 years later it was time to get our marriage license. I rushed out of work and met Tom at the county courthouse at the appropriate time. He had been busy with law school, and I was planning a wedding without a mother, in between grading papers and meeting yearbook deadlines. When we got to the license window, the clerk informed us that they accepted cash only.

Tom looked shocked. He looked at me. I didn’t have cash, for I had no intention of purchasing my own marriage license. This was HIS wedding detail to take care of, having figured prominently on his VERY SHORT LIST.

He looked down at the scrap of paper he held in his hand. There, in his very own handwriting were the words: “Marriage License $35 CASH ONLY.” Aargh. He looked crushed. I asked about a cash machine and found out there was one across the rather busy street.

This did not fit in with Tom’s plan. No, he would not go across the street to the ATM. Did not compute.

At that moment, a woman I knew from work entered the building. She was the chair of another department. We said hi while I tried not to glare daggers at Tom. Tom immediately brightened, “Anna, why don’t you ask your friend to lend us the cash?”

First of all, a random colleague is NOT a friend; second, do I really want to expose myself as someone willing to link herself for life with someone who can’t even comprehend simple instructions about how to obtain a marriage license?

But Tom dug in his heels in his happy, ignorant bliss at having found a solution, and I asked my colleague for the money.

I’d like to say these are my only two examples of Tom’s inability to deviate from a plan and my frustration therewith. I won’t go into details about THE WHITE KITCHEN FAUCET INCIDENT or the $5,000 CARPET STAIN at this time, unless, of course, you ask me to.

All I have to say is, Lisa Hartman Black, I feel your pain. And Tom, when you get on the kids’ case for not being flexible, think Shrimp Lasagna.


Kate Coveny Hood said...

This was very funny. I particularly liked "chunky-soled foot" since I remember my clunky heels fondly. They went so well with my "Rachel".

Oh - just focus on the flipside of the coin: reliable, steady, committed... There is a good quality for every bad and a bad for every good.

Poor Tom.

Christy said...

Oh this was funny - I love it. Just remember your shrimp lasagna. And I'll bite - tell us about the white kitchen faucet and the $5,000?!?! carpet stain!

Madge said...

i dated my husband for 15 months before we got married. now i look back and see all the signs. oh the signs i saw. and ignored. or didn't recognize. sigh.....

Shawn said...

Well, now you got my curiosity up about the other incidents.

Come on, do tell, do tell... :)

Hit 40 said...

Can't cross the street? I am worried for you. You may not want to breed with this one. But, my hubby is not much better. Don't know what to tell you.

Debbie said...

That is very funny. I'm like everyone else, I'd love to hear more stories.

Gretchen said...

Hee hee You are so funny and witty and adept. Now we all want to know the other stories too.

And I don't care how many bad qualities you must have, I'm sure his are worse. I'm on YOUR side ANNA!!! (just kiddin around. I always say that I can expect perfections out of my husband as soon as I start being perfect.)