I get asked this at least once a week. Usually in a high octane voice accompanied by outstretched arms brandishing cupped hands to emphasise the gravity of the situation. The same way an average person would respond if they were to return home from work one day to find their house wasn’t where they left it that morning and/or had been replaced by a gigantic billboard advertising sausages. Any situation that would have your hands on standby next to your head in case you needed to bury it.
That this outbreak of apoplexy comes from one of the most unflappable, calm, men on Earth makes it even funnier. Christ knows he would need to be considering he’s married to me.
It all started back in the early days after I moved in. He would politely inquire about the possibility of me returning the teaspoons I casually exported from the cutlery drawer to work under the auspices of a packed lunch. Who the fuck notices teaspoons going missing? How…cute. Yes, we were at that early stage when the other person’s barely concealed neurosis is mistaken for an endearing idiosyncrasy, which is probably why I didn’t make every effort to prevent it from getting out of hand.
Over the years the teaspoons have taken on the life-cycle of socks, and dreams for the future. No sooner have new ones crossed the threshold than they’re swiftly sucked up by that great domestic vortex we call The Kitchen. Consequently, his voice began to veer close to the Joe Pasquale end of the scale when six went missing in one week. I know. What the fuck? *buries head* It turned out our toddler was dumping them in the bin after polishing off a yoghurt. I know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of yoghurts, but this is not the time for any of your sneering judgements on my parenting. Actually go ahead, I don’t care.
So now, we’re back to an average loss of three or four a month. Stop looking at me like that. It’s not me. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t curtailed the outbreaks of panic, or the intensity of them, but most times I nonchalantly avert the crisis by pointing out they’re on the draining board. Smugness moves in mysterious ways.
The secret to a happy marriage
My guess is he couldn’t give a monkeys about the teaspoons either. Deep-down we both know if he did, a psychiatric assessment would not be an unreasonable suggestion. Unflappable and calm on the surface, but he stills needs a valve to release the odd bout of pent-up of steam one adult accumulates from living with – and enduring the habits of – another. I positively encourage it, and might even accidentally hide a teaspoon occasionally. These outbursts are preferable to being challenged on any of the following:
“Why are you such a disaster at cleaning the house?”
“Why do you procrastinate so much?”
“Have you seen the phone bill lately?”
“What are you in a bad mood about now?”
“Do you want to get a divorce?”
“Did you eat all the cheese?”
“Where’s my other sock?”
Long may the teaspoon anxiety continue because “Well, you always put the empties back in the fridge” wouldn’t be a great line of defense against any of the above. And it would inevitably inspire him to ask “what do you mean?”