My husband and I had a tiff the other day. We got a little snarky with one another over…well, I can’t recall what it was over. That says something, doesn’t it? Hopefully not about premature senior moments.
R marched down to his office. I sat on the couch and stared out at the remnants of fall foliage in New Hampshire. I glanced down and saw our cat Kimball, also called Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. I decided to be Good Tammy.
I went to the top of the stairs and asked if he’d come to the bottom of the next flight for a moment. He did. I said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t say that very well. Can you help me understand about…” I recall brilliant use of all my good mediator tools, including artful questions and reflective listening.
R was clearly not yet ready for this conversation. Me, Ms. Fast-Paced New Yorker, wants to finish it now. He, Man from the Midwest, wants to finish it later. He said it was taking more time than it was worth. Probably true, yet I hated hearing it when I was trying so hard to be Good Tammy.
I returned to the couch and fumed for a couple of minutes. Why am I always the one to extend the hand of peace? Why am I always the one who goes trotting down there and clears the way to working it out? Why can’t he step up for a change?
The voice in my head replied, Because, you idiot, you’re the one who wants to have the conversation right now, on your timeline. And because you’re better at apologizing than he is. Who else would be better to do it? I both love and hate it when the voice in my head has so much clarity when the rest of me hasn’t caught up yet.
I knew there was only one thing I could do. Especially since it was fresh in my mind after writing about it so recently. I walked down to his office. He didn’t look up. I said not a word and stared at him for a moment. He still didn’t look up. So I did it anyway.
I did the Elaine from Seinfeld dance move.
He didn’t look up. His face was set in stern stone. I did the dance move again. He still didn’t look up.
But the edge of his lip quivered ever so slightly.
A ha, stone man, it’s all over now! One more dance move. The quivering increased. Then he guffawed.
And then he said, “I’m sorry too.”