Anyone who’s been in a serious relationship long enough will eventually start wondering if their partner is crazy.
I think other married people will know exactly what I mean. It’s about getting too familiar with your partner’s quirks. See, we all do weird stuff we usually repress when other people are watching, but no one has the energy to cover up their crazy all the time.
So after spending enough time with anyone else, you’ll inevitably notice odd patterns of behavior. Like, my husband John is always convinced I’m sitting on whatever he’s looking for. A typical conversation about it sounds something like this:
John: Can you get up? I can’t find my shirt.
Me (sitting on the couch): I don’t have your shirt.
John (frustrated): Can you just get up for a second? You could be sitting on it.
Me (surveying all the clutter): Have you even checked anywhere else? I’m not hiding your shirt.
John (generously): I’m not saying you did it on purpose, but maybe you accidentally sat on my shirt. CAN YOU PLEASE JUST GET UP?
Me (annoyed but standing up): FINE.
John (baffled): Huh. I guess it’s not on the couch.
Since I can’t recall a single time he’s actually caught me sitting on anything missing, I’ve struggled to make sense of this ongoing saga. Did some part of John’s upbringing make him unusually paranoid about people sitting on things?
It just doesn’t make sense, but here’s the thing: one of the most surreal aspects of parenting is watching your own strange tendencies be karmically mirrored back in your face.
Like, it’s possible that Brontë got her habit of endlessly rambling from me and I finally get why hearing someone talk nonstop can be exhausting…
But earlier today, she also had the following exchange with her father:
Brontë (with authority): WELL, I CAN’T FIND MY MINNIE MOUSE BLANKET.
She stomps over to the couch.
Brontë: DADDY, I NEED YOU TO MOVE SO I CAN GET MY BLANKET.
John: I don’t have it. You need to go look for where you left it.
Brontë: IT’S UNDER YOUR BUTT.
Frustrated, Brontë puts both arms against her dad’s side and starts shoving with all her might, saying I NEED TO FIND MY BLANKET over and over again. She’s pushing on him with the kind of desperation you’d expect if she needed to move a boulder out of the way to exit a burning building before the monsters jumped on her eyeballs.
John sighs while tilting sideways so she can check. Not seeing anything, Brontë grumbles before running to John’s opposite side and trying to push him over from the other direction.
John (standing up): I don’t have it!
Brontë (baffled by the empty couch): Hmm, it’s not here. WHERE DID YOU PUT IT?
If Brontë truly got this genetic tendency from her father, then the fact she eventually found her blanket in another room entirely won’t do anything to make her doubt he’s crouching over her stuff in the future.
Still, you have to wonder if it even makes sense for something like this to be genetic. Was there ever a biological advantage to checking for valued resources under people’s butts? Was hiding stuff under your butt ever a viable strategy?
I wouldn’t have thought so, but Bridget did recently try to cover up the chocolate chips she’d stashed in our couch by sitting on them. We may be getting a window in to early resource competition, folks.
If only childfree people could get the embarrassing perspective of having to spend so much time with themselves…