23 October 2015

I Understand We Understand Each Other

“There was that pregnant silence in the air, the silence between a husband and wife who have just had words, and it is unlike any other silence except perhaps the awful stillness you hear between the flash of an atomic bomb and the blast. Five, four, three, two, one.” *


I don’t nag. My mother nagged . . . about absolutely every single inconsequential thing. It did absolutely no good. I can tune-out a nagger as easily as I can tune-out Kardashian news. So I don’t nag Rusty. This isn’t always a positive. Once I asked Rusty to replace our aged baseboards that I willy-nilly ripped from the wall . . . and two years later when Rusty had yet to begin the replacement task, I exploded. So perhaps a few gentle, well-stated reminders might have been in order. 

We are trying to learn Spanish. That total-immersion-thing doesn’t work . . . believe me. At least not for this middle-aged adult. Drop me into Portugal for two years, and I promise that I won’t speak Portugese at the end of two years. I need lessons; and I’m getting them. And they’re fun. And in the typical Kathy-does-nothing-by-halves, I study Spanish for hours. My study time explains why we don’t have the baklava completed . . . though I did complete several chocolate desserts. Anyway, I told Rusty that I would forward to his email our Spanish lesson but absolutely would not, thereafter, nag nor mention the need to study. Two weeks passed. You know what happened.

Last Sunday we travelled to San Jose to pick-up a new passport for Rusty. I washed/dried his old one. What was it doing in his cargo shorts, hmm . . . riddle me that? I suggested to Rusty two choices: A) He could drive five hours to San Jose listening to me read my silly Spanish sentences (my dog brought bones as her gift for my birthday, and our cat brought mice  – yep, I can say that in Spanish); or, B) I’d drive and he could study Spanish. He chose B; and there were only a few little discussions about the study of Spanish during that four-plus hour ride . . . and a few of those pregnant periods of silence.

We arrived at our hotel, with our dog, with no bones, and went directly for the bar. Double gin and tonic, Scotch rocks, por favor. So there I am, chattin’ it up with the bartender; and Rusty is speaking Spanish, too . . . asking about our bi-lingual bartender’s name, why some sentences are structured so differently than English . . . you get the gist. Another round, por favor. And then it happened . . . and let’s remember that was a Sunday afternoon. 

Our kind and oh-so patient bartender looked directly at us, motioned behind him toward the mounted television (where the cash register and refrigerator were, too) and posed a question. I, with my so-much-more-advanced-than-Rusty Spanish, replied, Why yes, we would like the television changed to American Football. Turns out that the question was: would you like to start a tab? And Rusty understood every word. Guess who was silent while she drove home on Monday? Lo que hay.

**As so brilliantly written by my hero, Nelson DeMille, in The Gold Coast.