It’s difficult to hold on to her best intentions when Himself seems to deliberately attempt to create conflict. First he does or says something he knows will make Fairweather uncomfortable – they’re at the bar for supper yesterday with his sister and brother-in-law, and he invites them home to watch the last half of a football game that is on the big screen at the bar – and then he makes a point of grinning, turning to her and saying, “Oh! I guess you won’t be very happy about that!”
Talk about turning up the heat! What is Fairweather supposed to say?
Lie? “I can sit through a couple hours of TV football; maybe I can get into it.”
Truth? “Indeed that may be a rather unpleasant way for me to spend the rest of the evening.”
Or a Bullshit attempt at humour? “No big deal, I can just put in some earplugs and go work in the office while you three watch TV, right?”
In the embarrassment of the spotlight Himself chose to shine on her, and not knowing how to handle it with ease and grace, she picked the third option. She couldn’t lie, as they already know she has no interest in TV sports. She couldn’t tell the truth, as that would make them feel unwelcome. She tried to keep her tone and expression pleasant, while her insides were roiling. Why was Himself doing this? Why draw their attention to her assumed dislike of the idea?
He wanted to spend more time with them and he wanted to watch the football game with them (“I don’t watch the games when I’m alone.”). Okay. He was knowingly being inconsiderate of Fairweather while putting his own sudden inclination on an equal or higher level of importance, and that’s normal enough. Why not? He has every right to invite people over, whether it please her or not. She couldn’t look forward to the next couple hours, but she’d try to make the best of it.
He then goes out of his way to help her on with her jacket, being a little more attentive than usual, as if to show her he’s aware of her discomfort and now will be a gentleman. She’s turned off by this phony remorse, but tamps her repulsion down; she doesn’t have to express it or make things worse for either of them. It’s not like a couple of hours of TV football will hurt her; a little boredom never killed anyone.
They drive away; the other couple is following in their own vehicle; Fairweather has time to dig some lip balm out of her purse and apply it before Himself says obsequiously, “So have I fucked up again?”
He pokes the goddamn dragon!
“I don’t know,” she says. “Have you?” She doesn’t want to have an argument. Why not leave her alone? But no. First he hits the gas real hard as if to drive like a bat out of hell.
“Don’t drive stupid,” she says. “If you do, it’s the last time I’ll ever ride with you.”
“Promise?” he says.
“Guaranteed,” she replies. “It’s abusive to drive so as to scare someone on purpose.”
He has the sense to slow down. But then he baits her.
Why shouldn’t I have people over if I want? I’m nothing special? You think you’re so special but you’re not. I don’t get any say in it when you invite your friends to stay at our place for a whole week. I provide the goddamn house. It’ll sure be nice when we each have our own house next week.
Unfortunately she takes some of the bait, which is stupid because he’s saying stupid things:
You think you’re special (Where does he get that idea?) and you’re not.
Why should it bother him when she has an out-of-town friend stay – does he help make any meals or do the cleanup or change the bedding? Is he even in the house much? He even gets better meals when they have company. (Not that she’s ever had anyone stay for a week, but one friend stays for two or three nights when she comes, and once when she came with a troubled friend to seek treatment from a local healer, Fairweather said they could stay as long as necessary and none of them were happy about that in the end, even though they only stayed one night, to the relief of all.)
Maybe I’d like to have no one around when I come home at night. (First time he’s told her this; was she supposed to read his mind?)
Oh my god yes it would be great to each have our own house, she says. Anyway, I wasn’t going to say anything about you inviting them over to watch the game. What’s the problem? You’re getting what you wanted and I wasn’t saying a word about it or acting pissed off.
Oh but you’re too good for it; it’s okay for you to fuck off into your office with all your computer friends while they’re there, right?
No. I can’t do that, much as I might like to. It would be rude. YOU do that when I have a friend staying over (which isn’t all that often, as none of her friends live around here) and we are all here in the evening. You can bugger off to the bedroom early (that is if you’re not bogarting the conversation by talking about yourself; she didn’t say this to him but he does have a habit of it; visitors probably find this interesting as it’s the first time they’ve heard his stories about, for example, his trip this summer, but she’s heard them many times already so tends to tune him out while keeping a look of polite attentiveness on her face) or you can sit on the couch and scroll through your Facebook page or fall asleep if we watch a movie, and that’s all fine and dandy because you’re a man and no one takes offence or feels unwelcome. If I did that when there is another couple visiting, I’d look like an ass. (Not that she could fall asleep sitting up, like he does.)
And who is he to accuse her of spending all her time with “computer friends” – what are those? If anyone has “computer friends,” it’s him, with his nose in his phone every chance he gets, no matter who’s there or where they are. She didn’t say this, but thought it. He used to bitch about other people texting and looking at their phones when they visited – but that was before he had a phone of his own. Now apparently it’s perfectly fine. It’s okay when he does it; but when other people do it, they’re assholes.
Anyway, after all the loud sarcasm he laid upon her (for having feelings she was struggling to keep to herself but no, he had to poke her till they came out; she hopes someday to be able to ignore his mocking, angry bullshit, but is not there yet), they drove home in silence and focused on their guests while the three of them settled in to watch the game and Fairweather offered, and made, tea.
They wanted plain black tea and she poured all the boiled water into the teapot, not leaving any for Himself to make the herbal tea she knew he’d prefer and not offering to make him any. She saw him check the kettle for water and set it aside, and thought “I was inconsiderate of you, wasn’t I?” She’s not above such spiteful thoughts or inactions; oh no. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
It seems to Fairweather that he was looking for a fight and doing what he could to pick one. Is it his way of trying to create drama or connection? All it does is make her long for her own home so she won’t have to deal with his shit. It destroys connection and creates distance. She hates it.