October 10, 2010

When Did We Become Our Parents?

Last night Beloved Spouse was doing his laundry and I was in the kitchen. (Note I did not say I was cooking or cleaning in the kitchen as that would be a lie. Let's say I was rummaging for Wheat Thins and Coca Cola.)

The dryer is running, the laundry room closet door is open, and there are at least three televisions on, probably all on the same channel. But since only one of them has a digital box, there is that dissonance that exists when the audio is slightly off-kelter from the others. These are the excuses I'm making for our recent onset of spousal deafness.

He says something to me, and I say, "What?" And he screams back, "What?" and neither of us can hear the other. And the devil of it is, that he said something incredibly important like "Wheel of Fortune is on."

I remember when his words flowed out of his mouth like golden lava. And then I screamed "Whadda ya want?" and found a piece of jalepeno cheese to gnaw upon.

"Where's the label maker?" he says.

"It's in the third drawer on the right side of my desk where it always is," I say back.

"What? I can't hear you. Come back here."

"No, you can find it."

"It's not here, there's just a bunch of jumbled up cords."

I go back to the office and open the file drawer and hand him the label maker.

"Why do you need the label maker when you are doing laundry," I quiz him.

"I need to make labels," says this Master of the Obvious.

We have become our parents.

We are now the people I made fun of thirty years ago, the people who eat supper not dinner shortly after 5 p.m., watch the Nightly News (Central Time) and then fall asleep in their comfortable, overstuffed BarcaLoungers or Lazy-Boys.

We used to stay up all night discussing the Big Ideas and the Great Books. Now while reading the paper, I might stir all the romance I can think of, look across the room at his baby blues, and whisper, "Green beans are on sale this week, do you want some?"

In my twenties, thirties, and forties I never fell asleep in my chair. I didn't have a chair. I could hear and see clearly. I didn't think it was important to put my ankles above my hips. Pepperoni pizza didn't make my stomach upset and I could eat it on the run. Now the phrase "on the run" is involved but in an entirely new way.

At least I know after Wheel of Fortune we can have that truly stimulating discussion about "Where's the remote?"