Being married to the same person for over 40 years one sometimes run out of meaningful conversations. We rant at the same political nonsense. Repeat the same old jokes. Finish each others sentences. Communication, which used to include paragraphs or complete sentences, is now reduced , at times to a few simple words. Yet, these simple words convey deep understanding of complex topics.
For example. Just yesterday we had the following conversation. It went like this.
Me: “Is it?”
Now, you can probably imagine any number of scenarios in which this in depth recitation of ideas may have taken place. Let your imagination run wild. Just remember we are in our 60s. Well, late 60s. That should severely limit the possible scenarios.
These three words conveyed not only a simple question and answer. Below the surface they included an unspoken reiteration of a multitude of previous conversations. These three words are , in reality, an end point. A conclusion of a rich, complex series of questions, answers, criticisms, apologies and discussions.
Background. When I finish eating I have the habit (which some would suggest is a “bad” habit, as if habits could be bad) of leaving my dishes in the sink. There is a dish washing machine next to the sink. So, I could just put my dirty dishes into the dish washing machine. And I try to remember.
However, sometimes when I do remember to put my dirty dishes in the machine, there are dishes in the machine which are clean. Hence, putting dirty dishes into the machine would be a major faux pas. So one must be careful.
I try to be the one who empties the clean dishes out of the machine. I do this because my reach exceeds that of my bride so it is easier for me to reach the top shelves. But sometimes I don’t.
Needless to say, Betsy and I have had this discussion (is it called a “discussion” when one person talks and another listens quietly saying “yes, dear”?) many times. I am usually considered to be at fault for either (A) not putting the dirty dishes in the machine, or (B) putting the dirty dishes in a machine with clean dishes in it waiting to be put away. On either score, I lose.
Back to the 3 word discussion. In all it’s richness, this is what we really said:
Me: Is it? (Is the dishwasher filled with clean dishes or dirty ones, since I don’t recall if we ran it today and I know I didn’t empty it? If there are dirty dishes in there I will put my dish in with them. If there are clean dishes I will empty the dishwasher now so we can put our dirty dishes in there.)
Betsy: Dirty. (It is filled with dirty dishes. So, take that dish in your hand and put it in the dishwasher where it belongs, not in the sink. I will run the dishwasher tonight and you can empty it in the morning. Although I doubt that you will remember).
Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, I expect we will commence the day with another in depth discussion of our plans for the day.
Betsy: “Are you?”
You figure it out.