Though I take care of the majority of the household tasks, there are a few things that I leave up to Chris; light bulbs, outdoor hose maintenance, the barbeque grill, anything in the garage, anything in the basement, and the trash. Not that I mind doing any of these, it is just important to share household responsibilities. And besides I have no idea how to use the grill, cannot reach most light bulbs, and these days even walking down into the basement I just shake my head at the mess that has settled down there.
Most of the time, Chris takes care of these tasks without a reminder (in my opinion) or constant nagging (in his opinion) from me. But this morning, as it approached 7 am, and clock inched closer to garbage-pick up time with Chris still curled up in bed, I felt a gentle reminder was in order.
“Don’t forget to put the garbage out this morning. The truck usually comes by 7:15,” I reminded him. Whether he was annoyed or gently reminded was to be debated as he shot an ambiguous look back at me. The night before, I suggested he take out the trash around 8 pm but he quickly remarked that it was a task better done in the morning. Honestly, to me, it didn’t matter when the garbage made it to the curb, it just needed to make it there by 7:15 am. But of course I knew better than to say that to him and also knew that I had probably already said too much.
A short while later, after he showered, Chris walked into my bathroom, clothed with nothing but clearly there was something draped across his mind. He turned around, bent over, and spreading his naked butt cheeks wide apart he asked “What do you see?”
Now, being married to a cyclist, this is not unusual behavior. In fact, at least once month, I can count on Chris walking into my bathroom, stark naked, looking for me to look at something or recommend a product to clear up something in the neverland part of his body; as in never sees the light of day, never should have been on display to someone in the first place, never do I want to see that again. Spend enough hours in the saddle and it is not out of the ordinary to even find yourself on the bathroom floor, legs splayed in front of you, with a mirror trying to catch a glimpse at what on this good earth has settled in between your legs that could cause so much pain or itch or burn. Clearly, having a spouse can be quite handy in these situations.
Wondering if I was looking for something in the saddle sore category, I quickly scanned his posterior region for anything red or inflamed. Finding nothing, I honestly answered “Uh, your a**hole?” After all, that was the only thing I could see. And I was looking pretty hard because I’ve heard stories about saddle sores gone amok, mostly on men subsequently forced to give up cycling for a short period of time while the pain and infection subsides. Chris not riding for a few weeks, especially during cyclocross season, would be like me not having coffee for, oh, a day, and I knew better than to walk myself into that trap. So I looked, I looked close, and I looked hard. But I found nothing but what was anatomically and ordinarily there.
After announcing my findings, that upon inspection I had noticed nothing but his poop-chute, he turned around and said “Exactly. Now stop acting like one.”
Oh that was a good one, I thought to myself. And to that I laughed. This is the type of thing only married couples can get away with and perhaps only married couples find funny but you’ve got to admit it was a clever and succinct way of saying “STOP NAGGING ME ABOUT THE TRASH.” And with Chris standing naked with cheeks on display directly in front of face at 7 in the morning on garbage day, it was a point well-made.
But I’ve got to admit, it’s not the trash that provoked me into nag mode this morning. It was the Tupperware filled with a piece of stale seasoned meat that has been sitting in our refrigerator for nearly 3 weeks. Since the barbeque grill falls under Chris’ jurisdiction, it is then logical for me to assume that anything produced on this grill is also his responsibility. Disposal of meat products included. After about a week, realizing we would not eat the meat, I felt the meat was ready to go. But I knew better than to throw it out. Oh, let it sit there, I thought. Because if I dispose of that meat then who knows what else it would lead to. First, the meat, then I’d be barbequing, then I’d be changing light bulbs, then I’d be disconnecting the garden hose in winter, and then all of a sudden I’m doing everything and he’s doing nothing at all. Not a scenario that I wanted to see play out any time soon.
But of course I have more faith in Chris than that. And last night when I kindly reminded him that it might be time for the meat to go, he said “I’ll do it in the morning. That’s the best time to do things like that." At this point, I just wanted the meat gone - like 3 weeks ago - but I could easily wait one day longer and, after all, I did not realize that morning was when meat was best disposed. In fact, I just kept quiet on that one, politely biting my sharp tongue and smiling. We’ll see where that meat is by 7:20 am, I thought to myself. We’ll see.
To my delight, the garbage – and meat - did make it out to the curb courtesy of Chris by 7:15 am. And it was just in time because right after he left for work I heard the heavy huffing and puffing of the garbage truck outside our house. By the time I was ready to leave for work, the can was empty, dumped on the ground with the lid nearby, and ready to be brought back into the garage. So, I picked it up and going to put the lid back on I noticed something stuck in the bottom of the can...
The damn piece of meat.
Laying there in the most quiet but profane of gestures was the most desperate, forlorn, and rancid looking piece of meat; laying there so small but saying so much. Obviously it had not been bagged and instead, in an effort to dispose of it quickly, it was tossed directly into the can. Two weeks worth of large kitchen garbage bags and other assorted waste made it out of the can and into the truck but there sat the meat, the only remnant left behind, staring me right in the face and shouting at me in big bold letters.
Ironic, isn’t it? Ironic that the meat was left behind and hanging right at the bottom of the can, almost as if it was purposefully planted there to prove something to me. Indeed, this piece of meat was a martyr, a manifestation of everything that was different between men and women and the way they approach life in general or everyday mundane tasks. To prove this point, the meat would now sit and fester in the can for yet another week. It makes me think that perhaps the meat would have been better off staying in the refrigerator. Perhaps it’s time had not yet come, perhaps Chris was not yet ready to throw it out. And maybe if I had waited for Chris to dispose of the meat at his discretion, at what he felt was the appropriate time, I wouldn’t be sitting here with a 3 x 2 inches of meat rotting at the bottom of my garbage can.
There’s no way to tell how smelly this situation will get, or if the fate of the meat will make it’s way out of the garbage can next time. Until then, there the meat will sit, and rot, and show me that sometimes in marriage, and in life, it is better to be patient, bite your tongue, and never ever get between a man and his meat.