Dale and I both like pretzels, although he gets extra salty, and I like extra dark. We usually keep them in stock, but somehow both kinds mysteriously disappeared from the drawer where we keep them. I was away Monday night for a golf outing, and when I returned Tuesday, I noticed a bright new bag of extra salty pretzels but none of the extra dark.
Here we go again.
I said, “I noticed you replenished your pretzel supply. Why didn’t you get me any? You know I like the extra dark.”
He went into this harangue about how he doesn’t pretend to keep track of what I eat from day to day, and I’m always changing, and how can he be expected to know whether I want them or not? I said I’ve been eating them for six months and have never complained, so one would assume I still enjoy them and might appreciate a bag if you are already at the store anyway … buying some for yourself.
In the end, I caved. I agreed he can’t be responsible for knowing what I want. He is not to buy pretzels for me unless I specifically request them. He said perfect, that’s the way we will proceed. For the record, it was not a nasty conversation. We’re both a wee bit argumentative, but we come by it naturally.
Part of the problem is Dale was an award-winning debater in high school, and I was quite successful as a persuasive speaker in both high school and college. We met in the military, we were both leaders in our careers and we both like being in charge. However, our energy for the duel has waned with age and retirement, and we have gotten better about quitting before one of us gets a sword through the chest.
The next day he says he’s going to the store for pickles and will buy me pretzels while he’s there. I said, did I ask for them? I thought we had an agreement, or was it a dream? I mean, we went through all that only so you can ignore the new policy? He said no, you didn’t ask for them, but I’ll get you pretzels anyway. I said, no, that’s not what we agreed to. He said OK, no pretzels.
A few minutes later I heard his keys jingle and asked, “Are you going to the store now?” He said yes.
“Will you please get me some of the extra dark pretzels?”
I could hear him laughing all the way down the stairs, and it didn’t stop until the front door closed behind him.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.