"This is not life!" I said, with all the severity I could muster.
An odd remark, given the setting. Our bright kitchen on a lovely summer Sunday morning. My wife at the stove, preparing an iron skillet filled with salami, onions, eggs, red and green peppers. Me helping out, slicing Italian bread for toast, setting out plates and silverware, brewing coffee.
She had just said, "Could you put those cherries in a bowl? They're already washed,' and I leapt to do so, going to the buffet in the living room, selecting a whimsical handmade bowl from the Boulder Artists' Cooperative, pouring the bag of cherries in, and setting them on the kitchen table with my bold declaration.
"This is not life!"
Maybe it was too obvious. But she reacted not at all, not even a flutter of perplexity, which is sort of my goal. The remark, she knew instantly, even if the reader does not, was playing off the bowl of cherries. This bowl of cherries is not life, or, more commonly, "Life is not a bowl of cherries." She got it immediately, which I noted with silent satisfaction.
Another woman would have murdered her husband long ago and no one would blame her. But bless her, she tolerates it. Writers and their idiosyncrasies. In my case, I have a certain affinity for cliches in real life. You don't often get the chance, and opportunities must be seized. It's a kind of duty. I once cut across Grand Central Station in New York City, just so I could pause, look around, raise my hands and declare, "What is this, Grand Central Station?"
No it's not funny. But somehow, immensely satisfying. At least to me, and I'm the guy I have to hang out with all the time.
Over time—and my wife and I have been keeping company for ... 34 years now—some lines become, well, if not enshrined, then at least expected.
We were at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This was years ago. And my wife said, "Do you want to walk through the rose garden?"
I replied, "Well, I never made any kind of formal commitment that I would."
A curious remark.
"Excuse me?" she said.
"I mean, I made no kind of vow, or oath regarding the rose garden..."
A kind of a hint.
She chewed on that for a while as we walked among the beautiful roses, then realization dawned.
"I never promised you a rose garden," she said, and I smiled inwardly, pleased she had unraveled the little puzzle.
Now, whenever we walk into the rose garden, if I don't say it, she seems almost disappointed. Almost.
Then Sunday, it finally happened. She paused before a huge pink bloom, and gave it a deep sniff."
"It's important..." she began. "That we, you know, stop, and..."
Mere coincidence? Or is this proof ancient astronauts once walked the Earth, thousands of years ago? Exactly two years ago, I posted something also about punning marital wordplay, using entirely different examples.
|Roses, Chicago Botanic Garden|