Monday, March 5, 2012

Sometimes I am rude.
"I haffa go potty!  I haffa go potty!" my son says loudly in Friendly's Restaurant tonight.  "OK, let's go."  My husband whisks him off to the men's room  My daughter is coloring and hedging in on my territory again.  She likes to sit as close to me as possible, leaning on me if she can, while sticking both elbows out away from her when we sit together in a booth.  It drives me crazy.  I think it must be because when I was growing up we each had individual swivel chairs (four) around a table so that there was only one person to a side and no chance of touching.  When I am in a place to eat, I have discovered that I do not like to be leaned on, snuggled, climbed over, or to have a small head thrust up under my elbow and arm as if my child were an anxious dog.  My daughter is unable to sit next to me and not do all of these things in the course of dinner.  I've tried to explain to her that I love her very much but that mommy just needs some space when she eats, but it has yet to stick.

Anyway she was at least entertaining herself, so I pulled out my iPad and checked on a conversation I'd seen was continuing over the same sex marriage issue in Maryland.  I'd put my two cents in as for it after the initiating post indicated dismay at the changes going on.  So they were obviously against gay marriage and probably on religious grounds.  So I paraphrased scripture saying as far as I was concerned (I was not even going to get into the whole atheism thing and went ahead and capitalized the G although I was dying not to do so) let Caesar have what is Caesar's and let God have what is God's.  I got a very polite response from a friend of the poster who respectfully disagreed but was so pleased that I wasn't angry/mean/overbearing/antagonistic in my response.  Anyway, it had gone on a few more responses from other people and I wanted to point out that wildlife biologists have documented homosexual behavior in many animals and instances of rape in ducks, so I started on that and looked something up.

My husband and son came back.  I was trying to finish and get my wording the way I wanted it and kept at the iPad.  Now, my husband and I had discussed that I have a tendency to do this sometimes and we agreed it was rude (I was thinking more that it is rude for others to do it to other people of course) and we'd try not to model that behavior for the kids.  So I'm trying to finish and I get a couple of hints from husband that I should be done.  But I wasn't done and I was defending the human rights of a persecuted segment of society, and wanted to finish my thought darn it, and kept on.  I didn't really think it was that long.  Husband and kids were busying themselves with coloring and didn't need me, no big deal.  Wrong.  Husband announces that he can't think of anything quite as rude as having a conversation with someone who is not in our presence in preference to attending to the people who are actually with me, the offender.  He's not shouting or anything but he's straining the bounds of one's "inside voice" and is just really intense about it.  When he gets mad he puffs up a bit and has some eyebrow action going on and it very often gives the effect of pomposity to me, I don't really know why.  Anyway, for someone who has such a thing about politeness and is always telling everyone else what is and isn't polite, he said, it was just really kind of shocking that I would continue on with this most extreme form of rudeness despite his having hinted at me to stop.  This comment comes from some of our history and the fact that I grew up with our family trying to always catch each other doing something incorrectly at the table as a sort of sport.  I made some inadequate protest about having been offline all day and then just quit and shut up.  I put the iPad away.

Well, yes, actually, composing that post was more engaging to me than sitting there doing nothing while the kids and he colored and I continued to get elbowed.  I'd wanted to finish my thought and I took too long.  He wasn't wrong about the fact that I was there doing exactly what we'd discussed as a behavior we didn't want to model.  However, I said that I thought calling someone out on an etiquette matter somewhat loudly at the table to shame them in front of their children did, despite his inability to think of anything possibly more rude than Facebooking at the table, I thought, outrank my offense.  He didn't agree.  Of course he's wrong.  (ha ha)

A little later I said that I didn't think that I was always criticizing everyone's behavior, except to instruct the children.  He said it'd been a "thing" with me even before we married, back in college.  There was more he wanted to say but I could see him restraining himself.  This was good, because when he is angry, which is very infrequently, he is capable of hurling some verbal ammunition I usually consider as below the belt.  So he was either really really offended, which seemed out of proportion to the offense to me, but then I was the offender right?  He had more to sling about and was not going to get into it because we were in a public place and he wouldn't think I could handle it anyway.  Many times he would be correct on that analysis.  I've been a bit fragile lately.  Though today I was actually kind of under-responsive.  Tired.  I noted his microexpressions of contempt and let it lie.  I think I might have protested once more in the car as we left but was again rebuffed with a look that said he was holding back again and I let it go again.

I don't know.  He seems to be over it now and I didn't actually get upset about it, which was weird, although I do have some misgivings about what he was holding back.  I suppose I'll find out sometime when I've made a more egregious error and he explodes and lets me have it...verbally I mean, of course.  Whereas there was a time when I shut down from any conflict, I'm actually pretty good now at defending myself and doing some zinging of my own, something of which I'm kind of proud.  I came from a more of a "silent treatment" sort of household.  The worst was when they (parents) didn't say anything.  Every weapon was one of expression, timing, or tone, not volume.  Also, personal attacks were considered unseemly and the sign of someone with no valid ammunition left.  There was never any shouting, except maybe once that I remember, not including the period of craziness after I'd left and was in college and my sister was getting into trouble.  The point is that I was unused to direct conflict when my husband and I met.  Every time we argued I thought we were breaking up!  So at least our kids get to see us disagree and deal with each other, hopefully, respectfully, and we can model actually dealing with conflict for the kids.

I still haven't gotten to finish my comment and post it.  I won't until tomorrow.  I'm too lazy to go downstairs and grab the iPad and do it.  And I have baggage about it now that makes me want to avoid it.  Whatever.  He can bring the iPad when he comes up (we use it as our alarm).

I am still annoyed that he was right about my offense and that he is not going to recognize that I was right that his laying me out in front of the kids so people stared was more egregious.  He's not going to like this post.  Sorry, sweetheart.  But we're over it now anyhow, at least he is acting like he is.  I am.  I'm tired.  I'm going to bed.



  2. For the record, husband apologized to me about getting so worked up and "being mean" at the restaurant. Then I meekly mentioned that I'd blogged about it. He'd figured I had and didn't care. What a guy!