Yes, my husband is busy. (And I’m okay with that.)
Last summer a salesman questioned me about it.
The amount of personal information that salesman needed for a new account, and the wasted time that was taking up, annoyed both Dennis and I. Indeed, if you are just sitting around waiting to sign a few pieces of paper, you may as well return the customer’s call in your buzzing pocket. Which is exactly what Dennis did. And that may have looked impolite to some.
Years ago I would have cared a lot more about that stranger’s impression of us. I would have been unsure of myself and unsure of our marriage. I would have picked at my husband’s seemingly rude behavior and tried to change it. All to fit into some idea in my head of how I thought other people would view us, judge us, accept us.
But those are obstacles we’ve already fought our way through.
One perk of growing older is that you stop caring so much about outside impressions. You focus more on the inside stuff. You try to keep the core relationships in harmony, and slough off the presumptions.
Better to have your partner’s back, share fully in the risks and the rewards, than try to impress others.
Even though I was capable of answering all the questions for the paperwork, the salesman was puzzled by us. After the third time Dennis got up to go outside, the man questioned, “Is he always this busy?”
His eyelids had narrowed and he was intently watching my face for my reaction. I didn’t even blink. I stared openly at him. “Oh, what, that?” I motioned behind me at Dennis’s retreating backside. “He’s having a slow afternoon, actually. You should see him when he is busy.”
The man’s fingers typed faster. We were out of there moments later.
Now and then I get questioned about my husband’s busy-habit. Squinting eyes and pointed questions tempt me to outright criticize the person I pledged to defend.
This past June, though, one woman’s questioning was a bit different than usual. After mingling on the other side of the room I returned to my chair at Roscoe’s annual fish fry. I heard a local girl say, with obvious laughter present on her face, “Well I know what Dennis thought about it, now I really want to know what Andrea thought about your honeymoon!”
Dennis was also laughing at her question so I knew that he had been reminiscing. I was certain I knew exactly what they’d been discussing. Hence I delivered the perfect punch line: “You mean our honeymoon at the Super 8?!” She seemed delighted that I’d gotten it right.
We got married during spring’s work. There was no exotic trip following the ceremony. And our single wide trailer hadn’t been moved into town yet. We were temporarily living with his parents, which is why we escaped to a hotel near the fields that Dennis was busy planting.
There had been a fire at the Pugsley’s sandwich factory the prior week. Which meant the Cenex was out of sandwiches. Dennis was devastated because Pugsley’s were his field meals, and they were supposed to be my meals as well. Meanwhile I’d never heard of a Pugsley’s sandwich prior to our ‘honeymoon’… Dennis said that made me lucky because I didn’t know what I was missing.
Indeed, neither one of us knew what we were missing, well beyond Pugsley’s sandwiches. We were very young, deep in debt, and about to start a family. Working was our only way out of the pit. Yet the pit was still fairly comfortable and I don’t recall it being miserable. We were pretty happy just to be together. Had we known some kind of leisurely lifestyle prior to that, then it would have been hard. And when we looked around it seemed we didn’t work any harder or have any less than anyone else.
Some version of what we lived through is still an endearing story being told throughout the world. The young woman who asked, herself recently married, got a charge out of hearing it. Because they too had a ‘hometown honeymoon’, living in a little camper while they waited for their house to be moved.
When we finally outgrew that trailer he didn’t have to work as hard as he once did. Dennis has slowed down, a lot. Yet he still maintains a speed that has some people questioning, me, at times. Their hint of concern is not lost on me. Too much work can ruin a marriage. They want to make sure I am okay; that we are okay. And I’m glad so many people care.
But, seriously, if you think he is busy now…you should have seen him during our ‘honeymoon’.
Andrea Beyers lives in Roscoe. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.