I’m a schmuck and my wife knows it.
Her favorite past-time? Watching me jibber jabber my way into a spike-filled corner only to realize too late that I’m bleeding from 30 different places and crying for mercy.
Now that I’ve tipped you off as to how this is going to end, let me begin my story…
I used to commute on the Metra train into the city for my last jobby job. I enjoyed the mile-long walk except days when my nose hairs froze solid or old-lady Gertrude’s teenage snow shovel-boy decided to take the day off. Other than that, it was my time to listen to damn good tunes, people-watch, and occasionally “accidentally” miss a train so I could squeeze-in a quick beer at the Union Station bar.
Now, I drive three days a week along the paved toll-road pathway to the west filling my mornings and afternoons with NPR, good tunes, and views of ladies putting on make-up, guys picking boogers, and the occasional douche camped out in the left lane going the speed limit.
But the most important thing about that last paragraph was the word "toll-road."
Yeah, I have to stop to pay a toll two times each way every time I go into work. Now, they do make this amazing little magic box called an “IPass” that attaches to your windshield and automatically deducts the toll amount from your bank account so you never have to slow down or stop at a toll booth.
When we first moved to Illinois the wife didn’t work at a job…instead, she had the lowest-paying, most difficult job there is—stay-at-home-mom. One weekend after going through a toll road with her I said, “hey, I heard you can buy an IPass at the grocery store. Next time you go you think you can snag us one?”
I did all I could with that sentence…I used positive words…words like “snag,” “us,” “next time”—seemed harmless.
But what the wife heard was, “hey wife that I own and tell what to do all the time. Go fetch us a toll booth thingy now…and take the kids and fucking like it! And while you’re there, wrestle us some food and beer woman!!!”
Months passed and the IPass never came to fruition. Weekends passed where we’d roll-up to toll booths with no change or cash. We’d blow through them only to frantically go online days later hoping we hadn’t missed the deadline to pay them.
The “fuck you, you do it” dance had begun.
The wife didn’t want to feel like she was being “told” to go do something. I wasn’t going to give in and go buy it myself because…well, because I’m a guy and I never give in.
Except for that time I painted every wall in our entire house…all 1,700 square feet of it and asked the wife if she’d just toss some paint on the spindles going upstairs. Four years later we go to sell the house and who was on HIS hands and knees along the stairs holding a paint brush?
And this was no different. This past week I filled out the paperwork online for an IPass, pressed the “submit” button, all the while knowing damn well what the true meaning of the “submit” button meant in this case.
Twelve years and you’d think I would have learned my lesson by now. You’d think I’d know not to fight battles I know damn well I’m going to lose. You’d think I’d know when to give in because at the end of the day…I’m just slowly backing myself into a corner filled with pointy, sharpy things while the wife kicks back, Shiraz in hand, pointing, laughing, and patting herself on the back and saying, “you silly silly man.”