Sunday, June 21, 2009
Last week my husband told me he just ordered himself the new iPhone.
This is exactly the kind of information that makes me think I’ve married a crazy person. “I have to go out,” I said. And I got in the car and headed to some supermarket or other to recreate some equilibrium in my cerebellum. When I returned, I calmly stated all the reasons that we don’t need another iPhone, and then not so calmly declared that I just this day passed up a new Swatch that I’d been coveting for years because it seemed like an extravagance.
To my surprise, Scott agreed, and he said he was going to cancel his order. And on top of that, he made a special request: “Buy yourself the Swatch. That’s what I want for Father’s Day.” I said I didn’t need the Swatch. And, of course, I felt very small.
Days later, I noticed him walking through the house with a small brown box. “I was too late to cancel the iPhone,” he said. “It had already shipped. I’m just going to return it.”
The new iPhone has a voice application that the old one apparently doesn’t have. This comes in very handy for Scott, as he can’t see very well in general, and can barely see a phone screen at all.
“Go ahead and keep the phone,” I said.
Later that evening we were on our way to a party and I was feeling particularly merry and generous. “I really meant what I said before,” I told him. “I think you should keep the iPhone.”
Apparently no need to reassure. He’d already charged it and transferred his contacts. “Well, consider that your Father’s Day gift,” I said, a little surprised he took me at my word.
This is what it’s like to be married to me. The “gifts” I bestow are basically promises not to harass him for buying himself what he wants. It’s not enough that I deny myself most everything I fancy, I need to take him down with me.
It might seem like this is an easy solution to gift giving, but it’s not. Similar to his Fiftieth-Birthday-Flatscreen-TV, it takes considerable effort to hold my tongue.
I went for a walk with one of my best friends this morning, and in her usual considerate way she asked me if Father’s Day was hard for me. I thought of the iPhone and then of my own father, gone from my life for over 30 years already, and my response was quick and glib. “Nope. It’s really easy.”
But there I was, lying again.