Thursday, March 05, 2015

Generational Differences

Yesterday morning I got  a phone call from an older friend of mine, a widowed lady who is 75 years young now. Not a fundamentalist Christian or anyone I've gone to church with ever. But someone who has been part of my life for many years now.

She caught me at a very bad point in my day, shortly after the latest bit of confloption screwball stupidity that is trying to book a a long planned vacation in Costa Rica with side trips to Panama and Colombia. She said she could hear the irritation in my voice.

The trip. I stumbled upon quite by accident a travel agency out of NYC that only does package deals to Central America and the Caribbean. They can beat anyone's prices and I've been doing the numbers and researching this trip for months. The problem being only that dealing with the young man with the heavy Brooklynese accent morphed into a nightmare on Tuesday night when he informs Jim and I that there are documents that must be approved by 7 pm at nearly 5 pm.

When I get the trip invoice he has our names completely misspelled even after I'd filled out all the trip information several times and emailed it to him. No excuse for the misspelling and you know sure as hell TSA isn't going to let either Jim or I on the plane with tickets that do not match our passports. It takes the rest of the evening for him to make the corrections and for me to approve the changes and invoice.

Wednesday morning I'm sitting at the computer working on NLQ when Jim calls up and instead of asking me about the documents immediately starts yelling at me that I failed to sign the documentation the night before. I look in my email box and lo and behold, there are NEW documents requiring our signature just emailed to me minutes before requiring more signatures.  We'd already been warned that all the documents had to be signed and in by 7 pm the night before so I end up having a conversation with the young man at the travel agency where I'm hissing and threatening to have Am Ex cancel the transaction if he tries to raise the ticket price due to the fact that we're late getting all the paperwork in. Not my problem, he screwed up the names repeatedly on the travel documents more than once well after I'd provided the correct information.

To top it all off while I was dusting minutes after the phone calls I accidentally dropped one of Jim's fantasy football trophies and watched in horror as it shattered into a zillion pieces. He treasures those things and I wasn't relishing having to tell him I'd dropped it. Ordered a replacement minutes later online, but still he wasn't going to be exactly tap dancing with joy over the destruction of the original no matter how accidental it was.

So I'm still steaming from that and from the angry phone call with Jim, so pissed that during my interaction with my husband at one point I'd shouted out my reply to him with a hearty F word between each and every word and she can hear it in my voice what type of a day it's already been even though noon is several hours away..

This little lady, this widow listens calmly as I complain about incompetent travel agency workers and husbands that do not understand I cannot control what the said incompetent travel agency guy is doing plus my butter fingered trophy smashing. Her response sort of floored me. She said that I should put on my prettiest dress, do my hair and makeup and then fix Jim's favorite meal and dessert and fawn all over him, wait on him hand and foot. Plus I shouldn't say a thing about the trophy, simply replace it without a word. Keeping hubby happy was the way to go.

I have a jaw drop moment upon hearing this advice. No way, no freakin' way would I ever been that disingenuous in my relationship with my husband. He might yell at me for the travel agent screw up and I might shout f*ck at him but at least it's honest, more honest than hiding what happened and my emotions.

This is really confusing to me at first because I know this lady isn't religious, yet what she's advocating doing is like something straight out of a Debi Pearl book on being a good Christian woman with the properly submissive attitude.

Once years ago during my old church days I'd been asking my prayer partner, a nice Mennonite lady, what to do about my (then) lack of feelings towards my husband and she gave me the advice to go home, get naked and being waiting in bed for him because in her logic 'No man ever threw a naked lady out of his bed.' Totally did not address the disconnect I was feeling towards Jim in those long ago days and seemed bizarrely out of place, just like this advice.

But the more I thought it, the more I realized this is generational. This woman would have been a teenager/young woman in the 1950s when this sort of behavior was expected and preached from society in general, not just the Quiverfull Fundamentalist Evangelical CPM.

I didn't take her advice, even if I did bake a pie. I like pie and I was in the mood for pie. Yeah, seeking to control someone by constantly placating them with things like favorite foods and making their lives as falsely smooth as possible is still trying to control them. Not for me.

Jim took the news of the trophy breaking in stride and was just happy I thought to order another one. I never did get around to cooking dinner. We watched 'Midnight Cowboy' and have popcorn for dinner. I'm sure my friend would have been properly horrified.

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