If I had to pick one thing I miss the most about my job, it would be lunchtime. No, that’s not a tongue in cheek indicator of how things were before I quit (well, not intentionally). Those thirty minutes (which usually turned into 45) could be intellectually stimulating, intellectually dulling, entertaining, hilarious, scandalous, and very rarely boring. The lunch group was filled with mostly married people, and a lot of us had kids. We solved the world’s problems (about raising kids) at lunchtime, shared kid stories, advice, grievances, and what not. It was also a great place to work out the stupid and petty things in our marriages that drove us nuts. Not the big issues, but things like wadded up socks, empty milk cartons in the fridge, stuff like that. I learned here that pretty much (in a good marriage), every wife is the same, and every husband is the same. Here at lunch, we could bring up something petty that wasn’t worth the argument at home, and get it worked out there. And no one got mad or offended because it was just in good fun. We were weird.
One day at lunch I brought up a funny discussion I had with my husband the night before. We were in the kitchen, and I was opening a jar of spaghetti sauce. It went like this:
Josh: Why don’t you ask me to open jars for you?
Me: Um, because I’m not a wuss and can do it myself.
Josh: But I want to do things like that for you.
Me: Even if I can do it myself? That’s dumb. I’m not incompetent.
Josh: I’m not saying you are, it just makes me feel good to do it.
I bring this up at the lunch table, expecting everyone to think this was ridiculous. In actuality, the wives agreed with me, but the husbands just shook their heads. One husband, Joe, said to me, “Sara, just let him open a jar for you once in a while.” Of course the stubborn, independent woman in me is saying “WHAT? WHY? I can do it myself!” Then another husband, Wally (who I might add is a wealth of knowledge and humor) added, “Do you kill spiders yourself?” To which I replied “Of course.” Wally said, “Then in your husband’s mind, you don’t need him. He’s given you children, you can open jars on your own, and you can kill your own spiders. That’s pretty much all we men are good for.” I’m exasperated at this point, but the men are adamant. “He just wants you to need him a little. If you do everything for yourself, that doesn’t give him much room. Seriously, what’s it going to hurt to just let him open a jar for you?”
So I relented. I asked Josh to open a jar, and he did it for me. He was happy, and I could finish making a sandwich. Win win. So I started asking him to open more jars, and kill the random spider, and even get something off of a high shelf. We were in very non-traditional roles at this point in our marriage, where we were both bringing home the bacon and both frying it in the pan. It’s not as though we needed to establish dominance in our marriage, but he was looking to be the provider and protector, so I gave him that. Every now and then I indulge him and hand him something to open. I have also handed over spider killing duties when he’s around. And we’re both happy. Thank you lunch group for making this marriage a little happier.