Sorry for the late continuation of last week’s post. I know I left you with a Cliff-hanger (I’ve wanted to use that for the last 16 years- don’t roll your eyes at my moment).You probably thought the neighbors up and buried us in their backyard after the whole The Burbs comparison, but rest assured, that is not what happened. I was just really busy this week. Promise.
Let’s cut to it, shall we?
The dinner …
Were the neighbors nice? Of course.
Was the food good? Outstanding.
Was it awkward? Abso-friggen-lutely.
So that’s pretty much it. What I had wanted to elaborate upon was how I traded places with my husband for one whole week and it was SO. MUCH. FUN.
You’ve seen Freaky Friday, right? Vice Versa? Like Father Like Son? There was a slew of 1970s and 80s films that played out a bodily switch up of sorts between the two main characters in the movie. Whether it was a wish made at the exact same moment, or a weird African potion, or some Thai souvenir skull, the bottom line was that the protagonists swapped bodies for however long and got to experience what it was literally like to wear the other person’s shoes.
So yeah, that didn’t happen to Clifford and me – the swapping bodies thing, to be clear. BUT, I did get to play his role in our lives for one week.
As I’ve mentioned countless times, Clifford hates people. He is the introvert of our twosome. He hates public functions. He hates family dinners. He hates the movies because there are people there. He hates stores because there are people there. The list goes on … And when it comes to more intimate events where the likelihood of him having to interact with another human being increases exponentially, his desire to delay, throw a tantrum, do or say anything to avoid said interaction increases exponentially as well.
He’s been this way since I met him, though I feel his Grumpy Old Man demeanor (because that’s what I call it) has gotten worse over the years. Sometimes I know he does it just to mess with me, but other times, it’s just a habit that he automatically rejects any social proposal I throw his way.
For instance, let’s discuss time. Clifford goes by what I call “Geiselmayr Time”. He is perpetually late. It’s part of his stalling tactics. It’s also one of my top pet peeves. If Clifford isn’t at least 30-40 minutes late arriving wherever he needs to be, then he’s too early as far as he’s concerned. I, however, go by “Gross Time”: If you are five minutes early, you are actually late. I thank my father for instilling that in me. I’ve mentioned the family synchronizing watches at King’s Island before, right?
At least 2 hours before we need to be somewhere, I begin with the reminders. He usually continues to just do whatever it is he’d doing while blatantly ignoring me. Sometimes he whines. Actually, oftentimes he whines about not going and not wanting to do whatever it is we’re doing. Whining about hating people and whining about wanting to stay home. Actually, sometimes the whining is substituted for outright defiance. As I repeatedly remind him where we need to be when, he repeatedly reminds me that he’s not going. I was the one that committed us to xyz, not him, so he doesn’t have to go. This drives me nuts!
About an hour out he might nod as an acknowledgement that my words did not fall upon deaf ears, but he still actively avoids preparing to leave. Usually still whining or reminding me that he’s not going to go and I might as well leave now without him.
30 minutes out, I begin to panic slightly for fear of being late while I begin to nag.
10 minutes out, I go from panicked to fully agitated as I know now, officially, we will not be on time.
About 5 minutes before we need to leave, he starts to move. Finally stopping what he’s doing, he drags himself upstairs and decides he needs to shower. Wherever we’re going, he wants to be clean. Ulcers continue to develop in my stomach as I’m caught in a mix of emotions – frustration, embarrassment, FRUSTRATION, depression, frustration, anxiety, and frustration. Every time we are set to go somewhere, he does this. Every time, we are late.
When I was newer to flying and wanted to be sure we were at the gate in plenty of time so we could be one of the first to board the plane (so not how I fly these days), Clifford, who was quite seasoned in flying the friendly skies, would humor me — at first. He would settle himself next to me at the gate. He’d pull out a magazine or play with his phone while we waited for the attendant to call our zone. Just as they announced our row was boarding, Clifford would turn to me and say, “I’m going to go grab a drink. I’ll be back.” And he’d head to the bar as we were supposed to be entering the plane. I don’t know how I didn’t have a complete meltdown in the middle of the airport back in those days.
So when Clifford came to me about the neighbors and going to dinner with them, I realized this was my golden opportunity for a little payback.
First, I told him in no uncertain terms would I even consider having dinner with the neighbors we actively avoided for the better part of six and a-half years. He didn’t think I was serious. I totally was. He laughed at first like it was a funny har-har kind of thing but then when he realized I was serious, I witnessed the panic slowly creeping in behind his eyes.
As the week progressed, I insisted I wasn’t going. OR that I had something else to do. OR that fine, maybe I’d go, but I’d be on “Geiselmayr Time”. He begged and pleaded and bribed. The day of the event he sent constant reminders which turned into nagging as I ignored them all. He was desperate.
15 minutes prior to, he was speedily pulling in the drive from work so he could quickly change clothes. He rushed upstairs calling to me (I was finishing my makeup in the bathroom, but the door was closed). He asked me if I was ready. The neighbors would be picking us up shortly. That’s when I explained through the door how busy I’d been all day and still needed to take a shower.
Clifford went from this.
In 5 seconds flat. It was awesome. I felt …validated. For one week, Clifford saw what it was like to be me living with him. It was fantastic.