M went to town to run errands. He did not share with me why he was going, which will be relevant in just a minute.
He called about 6:00 to let me know he was on his boat and would be heading home shortly. He was spoiling for a fight and made several comments about what I might have been doing when he called and that after living with me for years, he has learned that things will get done or not, it’s all up to me, and he can’t count on me to do anything he needs me to do, but he is letting it go, not worrying about all the things that he insists are important, and blah, blah, blah.
I said I would get dinner started. I do all of the grocery shopping and the majority of the cooking, so I tend to keep track of what groceries we might need to plan the week’s menu. I pointed out the grocery list (it sits on the kitchen table, alongside a pen for convenience) and asked M to add anything he thought we were running short of. I asked again on Sunday if he could think of anything I should pick up at the grocery store on my way home from work. His answer was no.
I got out the ingredients for burritos (the standard Tuesday meal so he can have easy leftovers for Wednesday when I go knitting with the gals) and discovered that there were only two tortillas left from a package of 10. I called M on his cell phone to see if he has passed the grocery store yet. No answer, so I knew he was close to home.
Now, M likes to have two or three burritos for this particular meal. I had to make a decision about the tortillas.*
M sat right down at his computer. I patted him on the shoulder and said, “I’ve got some bad news about dinner.” In answer to his quizzical look I said, “there are only two tortillas left, so we each get only one burrito and if you want more you’ll have to eat the filling straight up.” I thought there was no problem.
As we were eating, M brought up the subject of tortillas and whose responsibility it was to make sure we had enough for the meal. According to M, since I have “taken over” all kitchen, menu and grocery duties (in spite of his protests) it is my job t make sure the ingredients are present for whatever meal I chose to make. He has nothing to do with it.
“So, if you are eating the tortillas and notice that there are only two left, you are under no obligation to let me know that we need more?”
“Even when I ask if we are low on anything before I go to the store?”
In fact, it’s a huge hardship for him to have to think about something that is not his responsibility and I have no right to ask him to keep track.
“How often do I cook a meal that involves tortillas?” I asked.
“How would I know.” He’s annoyed now, but I just can’t help myself.
“Okay, how often do you eat a meal that I have prepared for you that involves tortillas?”
Blank look, frowning face, he’s trying to decide where this is going.
“The answer is once a week, on Tuesday for the last couple of months so you can have easy leftovers when I go knitting. If we are running low on tortillas, the adult thing to do would be to say something before I go to the grocery store, don’t you agree?”
And we’re off. He came home in a bad mood, ready to start a fight and he was determined to make it my fault.
He went into town with a sheaf of papers to “beg for benefits” at the local health clinic. He took the paperwork with him so that the lady at the desk could help him fill it out to be sure it was all correct and he could get disability benefits. I am a horrible person for not being supportive to him in his hour of need. I reminded him that I offered to help or to completely fill out any paperwork that he was “confused**” by, but he does not remember me offering any kind of support – he is out here on his own with no support, emotional, financial or otherwise. I have no compassion or empathy for him at all. I do nothing but tear him down and blame him for trivial shit like insufficient tortilla supply.
And on and on. I tried very hard to look at the floor and not respond. He made a comment about how the “10,000 pounds of obligations are all on [his] shoulders” and I don’t take on any responsibilities at all and that is very sad for him. He asked me what I thought of what he was saying.
“I think that all the weight you talk about being on your shoulders is largely a product of your imagination.”
Insert crickets here.
He got up and left the room without responding. I put on a movie, which he watched almost to the end and then went in a laid on the bed. Whatever.
After the movie and walking the dog, I got undressed to take a shower and he started in with the pity party. When I told him that I had bad news, he instantly got upset, thinking it was about one of the rabbits, or something worse and so he was upset. And then when I “hammered” him about the tortilla shortage, well, it was just too much on top of a really trying day and I owed him an apology and some compassion. Of course I did to keep the peace.
Laying in bed he starts crying. “I could really use a hug right now. I’m feeling very low and you have no empathy for my situation.” I complied in the hope of getting some sleep.***
Poor baby. I rolled away from him when he started to snore and watched the numbers click over on the clock. Fun times!
* Insane? Yes. What kind of bullshit is this? Why do I let myself get crazy over this trivial shit?
** Total bullshit! The man is sharp as a tack and able to work any minimum wage job if he wanted to, but it’s “humiliating” to work for so much less than what he’s worth. It’s perfectly fine for me to work two part-time minimum wage jobs.
*** I’ve had a headache for well over a week and have not been sleeping well. Turns out I have a cavity that finally ate through enough of my tooth to leave a gaping hole. Dentist Thursday AM, but until then I am in pain and feeling mean as a snake.