Our Quiet, Quirky Life

This is Carl’s “runway” walk.

I saw it debuted one night last year after Project Runway, a smooth sashay in pajama pants just creeping up the ankle from too much washing and a snap-up plaid shirt—all the better for dramatically ripping it off in one swift tear at the turning point of the catwalk.

Good times.

I’m not sure why he started tying our throw blanket together into a cape the other night. I am, on the other hand, usually pretty good at knowing when Carl’s being serious and when he’s not. Except when it comes to stories of childhood deprivation. I tend to assume a sympathetic expression and believe those.

“We weren’t allowed to do this when I was little,” he says, tying the ends together. Knowing that Carl wasn’t allowed to leave his closet door open as a kid because his parents “weren’t paying to heat the closet”… I don’t find it hard to believe he wasn’t allowed to play with throw blankets either. Maybe it stretched out the fabric or something ridiculous like that. “We weren’t allowed to play imaginary games,” he says, now laying it on thicker. I am suspicious as he slips the blanket over his head like a cape. “We weren’t allowed to pretend to be other people.”

Now I know he’s pulling my leg, and I laugh as he stalks to the bathroom in his superhero cape, glad to have a minute to grab the camera before he comes back. He sees the camera as he rounds the corner and voila, the runway walk returns.

I do like this quiet, quirky life we have together.

So affectionately placid, in fact, that while I absolutely love receiving early birthday presents (a box came yesterday and he thought I would like and use the gift so much he couldn’t hold out on me), I admit there is something deeply satisfying, if not exactly joyous, about our occasional disagreements—most lately over the prioritizing of certain features in our potential new home. I am all about layout and yard, he’s slightly more concerned about location and neighborhood. Nothing major. Just one of those conversations that requires actual communication to make sure you’re both on the same page in the end. Something to prove that your usual compliance and affection isn’t just a veneer to hide reality… even from yourself.

Things you don’t have to worry about if you have a marriage of two confrontational types.

Although I also hear people talk bullishly about marriages with one confronter and one peacemaker. That’s probably the most common arrangement, which is why we tend to make up all these mutually exclusive gender stereotypes about it (“men are less relationally aware, which is why she has to confront” sits comfortably, if strangely, on the shelf right next to “men are so direct, you know, which is why he has to confront. Woman tend to be peacemakers.”)

I suppose the good news is that there seem to be happy marriages in every possible configuration and if any of us has a favorite, it probably just says more about our marriage and temperament than anything else.

I like having lots of overlap in our personality profiles. It works for us.

Although I don’t think I’m going to be styling a throw-blanket cape any time soon. That’s pretty much a Carl thing.

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3 thoughts on “Our Quiet, Quirky Life

  1. Love, love, love your quiet, totally fun life! My personal theory is that people get along best who share similar values and truly love each other. I think you tow have a great match!!

  2. Yeah, I kind of wonder what a marriage between two confrontational types would be like. My parents totally weren’t. And Gene and I totally aren’t. We are both painfully agreeable on nearly everything, and the stuff we’re passionate about, we nearly always agree with each other on. Someone once tried to tell me how important it was to have marital help “in the heat of battle.” I looked at them blankly and searched for some sort of reply. I think I could count on one hand the actual battles we’ve had in eleven years of marriage. Even when times were really, really hard, we usually weren’t screaming about it. Here’s to quiet life. It may not sell too many marriage books, but it sure is comfy to live with.

  3. We are a definite mix of confrontational and avoidant….mostly I try to sweep things under the rug and A pushes the buttons and insists on discussions but sometimes we switch roles depending on the topic. Quiet and quirky is not us…wild, raucous and quirky…yes. 🙂 I love that Carl layers elaborate and fictional grievances to keep you on your toes. He is such a stoic joker. Gets me every time. Tee hee.

    The boys think his cape is the bomb, and they’re right…it is.

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