A visit to the mall with the spouse on early Sunday mornings is almost like a ritual that cannot be altered. It is generally in the garb of buying the essentials as well as getting “urgent” groceries and vegetables that have miraculously exhausted over the week. I have tried weaseling out of it on quite a few occasions, the last one being the heavily overcast sky the previous Sunday.
I doesn’t work.
So what does a man do next?
Give in meekly, what else??
This time around, I got the orders to be ready at 9 am sharp since the kids were asleep – incidentally, I must clarify here that the “kids” she alludes to here are actually adults of above 25 years of age who have full control on their lives!
Thinking about the consequences of delay, I got ready sharp 9 am and even avoided glancing at the newspaper headlines, least it shifts the onus of delay being caused on me. I have learnt over the years that it is a woman’s privilege to delay and one should never ever mention it if she does. So I generally keep quiet as she goes about putting the last touches – you know where!
With age and experience, a man “ought” to also learn what certain gestures and syllables mean. Obviously, I have faltered in some of these aspects. Or maybe I know but it brings humor in life if one “forgets” selectively.
Consider this –
The wife enters the fresh vegetable wing at the mall, quite forgetting about the husband in tow and rushes to get a shopping trolly; which apparently is in short supply. Her energy levels are at their peak right now. I always felt that a wife has that “extra” energy level for shopping, which she keeps hidden as reserve.
As she gets a shopping trolley, my normal utterance at this point generally is – “A trolly? You mean, you will buy SO MUCH!! You told me it was just a few things!”
In our earlier days of marital disharmony this was almost always greeted with an angry sideways glance. These days, it is generally an amused smile of a winner- “caught you off guard, partner” sort of a thing.
“How many?” I ask.
“Just a few.”
“Few is as in … Is it half a kilogram, full kilogram or what?”
“Oh” she glances up from whatever she is doing. “Take about a kilogram.”
“And oh” she adds, “Pick out a bit of Okra and cucumbers too.”
I look at her incredulously.
“How much?” exasperated.
“A bit”, she repeats.
This time I give up, my sense of good humor taking a back seat and busy myself picking out okra and cucumbers. Then I select a few good sized egg plants, a tray of eggs, etc, etc. After all, I know the routine! I just want to get home and have a relaxing Sunday without brickbats on mundane things like shopping!
It is not over yet. I got to go look up if something or the other is available in the groceries enclosure.
And then comes the worst part of it all – standing in billing queue.
The most glaring difference in perceptions comes to the fore now. It is about the queue. I hate it if they are long and she loves it! Because it gives her a chance to keep the shopping cart next to me and shuttle about getting more and more items one by one while I wait my turn. Sometimes this causes a typical “between the spouse friction” which one gets used to with passage of years of disharmony.
The tastes never meet.
Who says marriages are made in heaven? I muse – must be a pretty funny guy sitting out there having a balcony view of his creation every Sunday morning! And smiling.
After all, life would be pretty much boring without such crazy togetherness.