Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bundle Up

Marriage is about respect.  Marriage is about mutual respect and approbation. (Approbation is a fancy word meaning respect and is supposed to impress you with my big word brain—also my ability to use a thesaurus.)

Marriage is about laughing in all the right places—respectfully, of course.

My problem with the whole respect deal is my husband, Sherwood. He’s a nut. He’s a traveling nut, who might be mildly frightened by big city street vendors.

I called my husband in New York City, yesterday and was shocked when he answered his phone out-of-breath and gasping. He sounded like he was either running from panhandlers, in the middle of being mugged, or dodging Pedi-cabs.

“What is going on? Are you being mugged? Say ‘uncle’ if you are.”

“No.  I’ve . . .  (sounds of gasping) . . . just been . . . (tearing cough) running down Madison Avenue.”

“What? Is it the street vendors? I know how you hate those guys. Are they after you? Say ‘cheap crap’ if they are.”

“No, no . . . (sounds of fifty year old lungs trying to expand) . . . I just thought I knew where my work conference was being held—but it turns out I don’t, and it’s like a minus three degrees around here. No self-respecting mugger would come out in this weather."

He sounded a bit introspective.

"You know, after I left my hotel, I walked for a couple of blocks and thought, ‘Hey, this isn’t too bad. I’m okay.’ And then I thought, ‘Oh no! What happened to my ears?’”

“Honey, that means they fell off. Your ears are off. Check. Look around on the ground.”

He did not follow up on his ear status.

“Oh my gosh . . . people are freezing to death up there, while out walking their dogs to make yellow snow.” I knew it was entirely possible that my husband was wearing the equivalent of a windbreaker in single digit cold.  “You’re going to die. Do you have a hat?”




“A scarf?”

“I looked for a scarf before I left Florida. Does that count?”

"Have you found your ears? When you find your ears, we'll discuss the impact of good intentions on a blizzard."

I had a vague memory of Sherwood pawing through my underwear drawer looking for a blue scarf he had owned—TEN YEARS BEFORE in another state, possibly another universe. I remember telling him, “Honey, don’t you remember we used that scarf to tie a towel on a shepherd’s head for the Christmas pageant? That thing is long gone, probably one of those three kings absconded with it.”

He continued his tale of survival.

“And then,” he said, “I saw a woman with a scarf the size of a blanket wrapped around her head, and I thought seriously about snatching it and running for it. You know like on Seinfeld.”

“Babe, Jerry snatched a loaf of bread, not survival gear,” I said, firmly. “Now listen carefully, I want you to look for the steam coming up from the underground through the grates and head for those. You may need to roll some homeless folks around—homeless folks that, by the way, will probably be more appropriately dressed for the cold than you are.”

“I’m way ahead of you. I’ve been running from grate to grate; that’s why I’m breathing like this.”

I ignored him.

“And, you’re not going to want to hear this next bit, but you’re going to have to BUY yourself a hat and what not—to stay alive, which is the opposite of dying.”

He groaned. “But there’s no where around here to get anything, nothing, no where.”

My worry turned to confusion then to suspicion and finally to frustration.

“I thought you said you were in New York City. Madison Avenue—the pulsing heartbeat of the world’s pacemaker of commercialism, right? That Madison Avenue?”

“Un huh.”

“Buy yourself a scarf! Before you die! Find a street vendor! Find a guy that opens his trench coat and says, ‘Want to buy an electric blanket or maybe a blow torch?’”

I spent the rest of the day afraid to watch cable news for fear that I’d see my husband scuttling like a hermit crab along the streets of New York City. The news anchors would be pointing at him, mocking, and saying, “That guy is going to die.”

Respect in a marriage is a funny thing. I know it makes me laugh quite a bit.

I’m just wondering where Sherwood is going to prop his glasses, what with his ears falling off and all.

Linda (Bundle Up) Zern

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