It’s been almost two years since Bubba moved in. Or is it three? There was some adjustment at first, but then we seemed to fit in like two peas in a pod. A very small pod.
We moved Bubba in slowly. First it was blankets and seasonal boxes. You know, the things no one really notices showing up at your house. Later, we would move in a knick-knack or two, maybe some boots or coats. I emptied out half of my dresser space and one of the bedroom closets. As those filled up, I hardly noticed he was starting to occupy what used to be my space.
Then one weekend, we piled the rest of his apartment into the back of a rental truck like it was a championship game of Tetris. *All at once I understood George Carlin when he said, “Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?”
By American standards we live in a small house. In fact, according to **Apartment Therapy, we live in a house much closer in size to the average French. For this reason, I prefer the minimalist look — you know, tuck all the clutter out of sight, so it looks like I don’t own any. Bubba likes the honest approach. His things are all out where he can access them. No matter what devices I employ to keep his useful shit hidden, he always finds a way to keep it out next to my pretty stuff.
My grandparents, who lived in an even smaller home than we, demonstrated compromise in the most basic way. Grampa would turn up the heat and Gramma would open a window. If they were displeased with the other, they never showed it. This was possibly my first and best lesson in cooperation.
Someone once said it’s never to late to teach an old pea new tricks . . . or something like that. Bubba and I are still finding new ways to live together in this wee pod.
When we make our grocery run, we share a cart; my food on one side, Bubba’s on the other. The fact that we disagree about whether to place the soda in the cart or underneath it, or how to park the cart in the bagging area fade in comparison to the system for which we have devised for loading it into the car. We are a well-oiled machine. If grocery-loading were an Olympic sport, we’d take gold.
Provided we take my car out on errands, I drive. When I’m backing out, Bubba yells out “Clear!” as if I’m paying him for it. If we take his car, he drives. When Bubba backs out, I just close my eyes. Keeping my eyes closed keeps me from gasping, which in turn keeps peace in the car.
I like listening to my audiobook during my morning routine. Bubba says absolutely nothing in the morning, preferring to grunt unintelligibly akin to a Neanderthal. This is how our mornings pass; him not interesting in speaking, me not interesting in listening. The perfect non-communication.
These are a just a few of the ways that couples such as us become a partnership through tolerance, teamwork, and cooperation. What works for one pair may not necessarily work for another, which makes it all the more fascinating. I would bet that some of the most retold stories in your family are those of couples coming to terms with their relationship. They are the lessons of life, fables for the future.
Bubba loves his treats, and once they’re in the house, I can’t resist. The thing is, Bubba likes his cookies and bars soft and chewy. I like them crisp and crunchy. One day he was breaking off the outside edge of the cookie.
Me: What are you DOING?
Bubba: Ish aw hard (with a mouthful of soft middle-cookie).
Me: That’s the best PART!
Bubba: Mmm . . . nooo . . Dish ish d goob part.
Me: Are you THROWING these OUT?
Bubba: Mmm-hmm (with a look of serious disgust).
Since then, Bubba and I buy one cookie between us. He eats the middle. I eat the outside. If I make a pan of brownies, I get the edges, he eats the gooey middle, and as it turns out we are quite happy. As happy, in fact . . .
. . . as two peas in a very small pod.
Peace . . .
*George Carlin was one of Bubba’s favorite people. He can quote several of George’s bits, and he hung a large poster of “An Incomplete List of Impolite Words: 2,443 Filthy Words and Phrases Compiled by George Carlin” in our bathroom. Just one more way we live together in this little pod fit for two.
**Thank you to Lois of Living Simply Free for leading me to this site.