May 19th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Thank God she’s not like me …
At the time, it was the maddest she’d ever been at me. Two years into marriage, we were moving from our first apartment. Before I get to why she was so mad, let me set the stage. First of all, I’ve always had an exceptional ability to underestimate the time required to accomplish a given task. I’m really good at it. It’s a gift. I think it’s due to a rather generous combination of two distinct traits: procrastination and minimalism. I can procrastinate with the best of ’em. With a deadline rapidly approaching, I have no pulse. Never did. My “timing” antenna is so broke, by the time I realize it’s too late, there’s not even time to panic. I jump over panic and go straight to resignation. Assisting in my procrastination is my natural tendency to whittle things down. I’m always asking, “Do we need that?” If we don’t need all that, well, we don’t have to start so early now, do we?
With an apartment full of stuff, my wife, who is not at all a procrastinator, got us started packing the place early. With the move set for Saturday, she had us packing the kitchen up Monday night. By Tuesday, we had most of the kitchen packed and ready to go. When I surveyed the apartment Tuesday evening after work, I thought, “We’re pretty much done.” My broke antenna told me that we were way ahead of schedule. If anything, we needed to slow this thing down. I kept telling her the procrastinator’s mantra, “Look. There’s the bedroom. Mostly big pieces. And then the bathroom, which we can pretty much throw in a couple boxes. The living room – big pieces. And … (Here’s the key part of the mantra) we have ALL DAY Wednesday, ALL DAY Thursday … and so on.” I supported my argument with minimalistic reasoning, “And we don’t need to pack everything in boxes. Some of that stuff can just get thrown in the car. We don’t want that stuff in the U-Haul anyway.” Did I believe anything I was saying? Yeah, sure, like an alcoholic believes he’s only going to “Wet his beak.”
The day of the move, I decided I had time for a quick, early morning surf. A truck wasn’t available until after 3PM – I probably called too late. By the time, I got around to “Doing some last minute packing” it became apparent that a good deal of the apartment wasn’t ready to be moved into a truck. You know moves, the day of, all kinds of stuff just keeps pouring out of every corner. When a bunch of our friends arrived to help us move, they ended up helping us pack first, which is a definite “No no.” In the midst of the stress of being late – did I mention my wife is not down with being late? – and the embarrassment of imposing on the goodwill of our friends, my wife was pissed. I think I really did see smoke coming out of her ears.
Years ago, I heard someone say, “One of the most important truths: Not everyone is like you.” Sixteen years in, I can attest that this is indeed true of me and my wife. In many ways we are not alike. Sometimes those differences are the source of our conflicts. But more often, although unfortunately not as readily observed, they are what fills out our lives. We have grown to understand and appreciate our differences. She makes allowances for my quirks. She’s learned to laugh at my idiosyncrasies. My wife does not procrastinate. She’s not a minimalist. She’s merciful, humble and kind. Thank God she’s not like me.