Friday, March 20, 2009

Snarky shorthand

Confession: me and hubs, we have a little snarky shorthand way of describing certain undesirable states of being. For example, on the day Helen was born, as we were rushing from my work Christmas party to Silas's preschool music program to the hospital, he snapped, "I feel like the Fosters*!" (=too busy) Or, if I am trying (VAINLY) to make an argument for holding onto some piece of furniture/ wood/ promising raw material, he says, "I don't want to live like the Macks*!"
(=in a total junk heap)

To be fair (to US), this is judgment with some justification. The Fosters are not merely busy; they're the kind of busy that leads them to flake out on people who need them most (Mr Foster has been a total train wreck of a PhD advisor to a friend of ours, the kind of advisor who ignores, then micromanages, then drops the ball on submitting a grant request so that our friend has no funding). The Macks are the kind of people whose house is surrounded by piles of old broken bikes, scooters, cars, etc. The kind of people who took the deck off their second-floor kitchen to decrease the fuel load as a forest fire swept down on their house--ten YEARS ago. And still haven't replaced it. They just keep the sliding doors locked. All of which, actually, would be totally their own business and even charming if they weren't ALSO the kind of people who get pissy/ verbally ABUSIVE when their WIDOWED daughter-in-law refuses a request for money from their drug-addicted daughter (GOD. I could go ON). Anyway. We judge, but for a reason!

I kind of regret this habit of ours...although not enough to really CHANGE it, if you know what I mean. It's very effective at cementing the pair bond (we may be lazy loaf-abouts who prefer to spend a weekend drowsing in the sun and playing reluctantly with the kids instead of finally finishing the damn tiling in the bathroom--but at least we're not the Macks!) It also kind of serves to usefully categorize ourselves, and helps ward off useless envy: the Fosters may be a highly paid doctor and professor who vacation in France and have a humungous house--but GOD! Their life! It sucks! All that RUSHING AROUND!

It does make me wonder, of course, how we as a couple serve to define OTHER couples--like, MAN, we're lazy, but at least we're not the MELOSPIZAS. What weaknesses of ours would other people pick up on? Our general tendency to let the kids fend for themselves? Our (my) fanatical position on when exactly it is okay to use the car (which doesn't actually lead to the car being driven any less so much as it leads to lots of haranguing and grief when the car is being driven)? Our leaning, as a family, toward friendships that are easy (we aren't real go-getters in the friendship department, though we're totally happy when someone does want to hang out with us)?

In a totally unrelated update, I finished Anna Karenina! Spoiler alert: she dies. Also, you kind of want her to, by the end. Or at least I did, because I am a judgmental bitch. All that hysterical indecision of hers drove me nuts: if you're categorizing couples, and apparently we are, here, Hubs and I are definitely Levin and Kitty. Or I am Levin and Kitty. I'm not sure what Hubs is; I think he might be from a different book. Anyway, that was two and a half months of my life, very well spent.

*Not their real name. Duh.

1 comment:

Tess said...

I am SO FASCINATED by couple-talk like this. In fact, one of my favorite comment sections EVER on the old blog was one where I asked people to admit the pet names they called each other. GOLD.