This week my wife mothered our kids (including two baths nights), cooked all our evening meals (getting better all the time), worked her job in the Justice policy sector (one day commuting to London and back), sold our car (made a heavy note wad at it), studied evenings for her post graduate degree (late into the nights), hoovered (for fun apparently) and otherwise generally put up with me.
Forgiveness is important with this kind of wife, as it’s no wonder she didn’t have time to thank me for doing the washing up one evening, which I did do fairly loudly.
I would have done more this week, but I was too occupied watching her in astonishment. In honesty, I would have been watching her regardless of how many tasks she was doing, as she is invariably my favourite thing. I even like her handwriting, and I know I like her handwriting, which is an odd thing to know you like about someone.
What don’t I like about her, aside from her husband?
She’s got a bit of a temper. Only a bit, because she tends to leave the lion’s share of her temper about my head and neck following a dispute, such as me suggesting post-graduate education is less important than washing up, by me.
Then again, it is that same temper that I find oddly charming, on those rare occasions I see it make its way towards other poor unfortunates.
It’s somewhat as I’d imagine it to be, if I were the Arizona deserts watching little planes flying very fast towards and even faster away from little island in the French Polynesia sea.
I remember in an Australian town called Hahndorf, we’d been to a local petting zoo to pet some lambs and camels, ostrich and emu. Both ostrich and emu, this is important.
Afterwards, we were in a little sweet shop on the main road, and my wife mentioned in conversation with the owner that we’d been at the zoo.
“What did you see?” he asked.
“Well, an enormous ostrich!” my wife remarked.
The owner paused, leant back in his chair and looked out the window in a manner that suggested he just read the gospel of instructional manuals of ‘how-to-be-arrogant’, and said with his hands behind his head:
“Yeah, we call ‘em emus over here, love.”
He ran a sweet shop. Once. Who knows what’s become of him since?
He’s probably being arrogant somewhere, deceased.
All the same, I all but giggled as I clutched my candy canes in a trembling and sticky fist, watching my wife slowly lean over the counter in an all-encompassing manner and gently ask him:
Good question, if confusing in that way questions you’re not meant to answer can be. He answered, and he was incorrect in and of his very being, dialogue aside, though I’m pleased to say I did my duty as a husband and global citizen of sweet shops and coaxed my wife out of the shop with the promise of there being some enormous ostriches out there someone which might match her temper, so she should try it. Also, I had some fudge.
Fudge heals all wounds. Apart from those that happened to that sweet shop guy. He needs hypnosis.
My wife then shared the fudge with me, and it was brilliant, in-Australia-and-not-in-trouble, fudge. We ate it together.
She has many other qualities I also adore, but now I’m hungry and the washing-up really needs doing loudly.
Sometimes a thought enters your head, and then you hear yourself saying it to someone.
In some of these ‘sometimes’, you might find yourself muttering it aloud, causing others to get off the bus quickly.
Other ‘sometimes’, the preferable ones (unless there were no spare seats on the bus), mean you do what I did, which was to say it to my wife. In a museum. There were many seats.
In fact, there were so many seats, you could tell that some people weren’t sitting down, but not due to seeing anyone standing. Just, lots of chairs really.
You might also find yourself typing such things on a blog, causing people reading it on smart phones to get off of buses all the same, but perhaps it’s still best to revert to my what was going to be my original point.
I said something to my wife. And now I want to share it with you.
“Jenny, which fruit looks best in mid-air?”
My wife has a wonderful capacity to both humour and wither me with a look. She doesn’t do that for just anyone, but perhaps not many other than myself can draw such infuriated pity. Especially in a museum (lots of chairs).
Choosing the ‘humour-him’ route (there were children present), she indulged me, saying “I don’t know Sam. Bananas?”
I had hoped she wouldn’t say that, because I worried she might be right, which meant I was too with my first thought.
The punch-line fruit.
A very applicable fruit, certainly, but still the go-to fruit in the historical contexts of people using a fruit for something a fruit shouldn’t be used for, and for things that don’t actually need to be done.
I think it’s a blend of the shape, colour, peel, consistency and pronunciation. Everything else is just legend.
Certainly over-relied upon, and as such, I didn’t want it to be the answer to my question; I didn’t want banana/s (singular or plural it really doesn’t matter at this point) to look good in mid-air.
But, damn it, they do.
I expressed this all to my wife, who by this point had chosen her well-practiced alternative to humouring me.
“Pineapples?” she ‘fuck-offed’.
Unfortunately, perhaps more of the same with Mr Pineapple. Certainly not the jobber of mid-level fruit expectations, but they’ve at least been put forward for their obvious attributes.
Pineapples, really are just trying too hard.
A silver-placed friend with the wacky green hair-do, trying to talk to women at a party where women are really in-to fruit but getting ignored in favour of his friend shaped like a big penis with a healthy yellow glow.
I wanted to tell my wife this, but she’d been through enough today, even though earlier we’d practically had a bus to ourselves.
So I continued my thoughts and settled on a fruit (phrasing you can’t use in reference to bananas or pineapples because it is inappropriate and, more so, already been done) with a degree of subtlety.
Bear with me.
A lime, emerald green, backed by the bluest of baby boy skies, suspended in mid-air, just for us to see.
I thought that was nice. I told my wife that I’d concluded, and this cheered her up immensely.
Then again, maybe all fruit are pre-determined to look good whilst falling. If they drop from a branch, with few-enough leaves, on a clear autumn noon with strongly sunlit blue skies, any fruit looks good, because they’ve been doing it for centuries.
Bananas, pineapples, limes, maybe even a tomato.
A sense of style, doing as the ancestors did it. Dropping, and looking good.
THAT is good museum conversation, but I couldn’t continue as my daughter needed help eating her apple.
It was a good one. You should have seen it go.