In the new movie Funny People, Adam Sandler is at a friend’s house for Thanksgiving when he walks out on the patio and interrupts an intense argument between buddies.
“Now it’s starting to feel like Thanksgiving,” he quips.
That feeling — of being surrounded by people who alternately bring you the greatest joy and most exacerbating irritation — is known universally as, well, family.
I mention this because one of my favorite people in the whole wide world — my husband — can drive me batty.
During the first couple of weeks of marriage, I was rushing around, readying for work, when I placed my toothbrush and toothpaste on the sink counter. I walked away to fetch an old tshirt to throw over my blouse. When I returned, the toothpaste and toothbrush had been neatly placed back into the medicine cabinet. Before. I. Even. Used. It.
Given that one of my degrees is in literature, the ominous soundtracks of foreshadowing should of instantly cued in my ears. But those pesky lovestruck stars twirling around my head distracted me. Sigh.
There were other signs. His clothes, arranged by type, then by color, were perfectly aligned in the closet. When we folded laundry, his pile resembled a giant stack of neatly placed dominos to my Leaning Tower of Pisa. His office desk was stark, save for a few key items, lovingly placed at 90-degree angles. He typed iteneraries for our out-of-town guests.
Just for the record, I am no Oscar Madison. I keep my house and work areas neat and tidy, but I am not — how do you say it? — a detail person.
As a result, I often gloss over the little things, like leaving those tiny plastic tags on my clothes. For years. And so what if my entire family is deathly afraid of the abyss that is my purse? I also have self-diagnosed myself with Freethrow-itis — a serious disease that causes me to miss the trashcan by miles when I’m throwing light items, like gum wrappers and tissues.
That particular ailment also prevents me from picking said items up off the floor. Bless my heart.
Not a problem. My husband, for more than 20 years now, took care of it. Of course, what I once thought was cute, started getting on my nerves. To wit:
• There was the time he objected to the Colonial-style G.I. Joe outfits I purchased on clearance for the kids because the dolls were World War II soldiers. (“They can’t carry bayonets,” he insisted.)
• After I shove all the cups and plates in the dishwasher, he sneaks into the kitchen and rearranges them.
• He instituted a recycling system in our house, complete with a family workshop (which, by the way, the teenagers LOVED) and now inspects the trash every night for any flagrant violations.
Last weekend, though, he pushed me over the edge. I was born with Beverage Container Dispose-ism, which forces me to have several drinks (a mug of coffee, a Diet Coke) at various levels of consumption strewn around the house. But sometimes I come back for them.
So last weekend, ready to workout, I went searching for my blue Powerade Zero, which I knew, for a fact, had 75 percent drink left in it. (Let it be noted here that I don’t like plain water. And this was my LAST Powerade Zero.)
“I drank it,” my husband said, rather smugly, I might add. “You never finish them.”
It’s possible I pitched a fit. Just a little, tiny age-appropriate one. Until my daughter discovered a new container of Powerade Zero tucked behind the kitchen island.
A few days later, I had cracked open another Powerade Zero in anticipation of a gym class, took a sip and placed it on the counter.
I turned my back for a moment, and swung around to catch my husband guzzling it down. “You were done with this weren’t you?” he asked.
Just as my blood pressure spiked, he stepped away from the counter to reveal my beverage still sitting there, where I left it. He had opened a new one.
I have had several fantasies about how to hurt him. But the truth is this: He always makes me laugh. And he is, indeed, the ying to my yang. I would have it no other way.
We are the perfect match.