Friday, April 29, 2011

The Chatty One


{Self portrait. From here.}

Every successful relationship needs balance. Typically this comes in the form of contrasting personality traits, skill sets and tendencies. My marriage is a perfect example of this, in a very by-the-book-almost-hilarious-it's-so-much-like-that kind of way. You would like some examples, I'm sure. So here are a few:

I'm Type A.
My husband is Type B.

I'm anal-retentive.
My husband is laid back.

I plan everything ahead of time.
My husband waits until the very last possible moment--with a typically identical outcome.

I'm outgoing, loud and chatty. I often stick my foot squarely into my mouth.
My husband is inverted, calm and speaks when he has something important to say.

I don't think things through, follow directions or mull over possibilities.
My husband thinks until there are no thoughts remaining, always reads directions/instructions and researches things to death.

You get the point.

But humorously, our contrasting traits are never more obvious than when we visit any sort of retail outlet or place of business together. We both had the day off on Good Friday (we rarely have the same days off from work, so we took advantage of it) and decided to fill the day with errands and tying up some loose ends.

We visited the bank. We went to the cell phone store. We went grocery shopping. And all the while, I was talking to people--and it was embarrassing. It all began, allegedly, at the bank. We met with our investment guy and he began his boring talk about boring stuff like the stock market, Fortune 500 companies and the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh I'm sorry, I fell asleep because just talking about that boring conversation was so boring. In my opinion, personal conversation livened up the atmosphere.

It started with the funny questions. "Are your parents aliens?" he asked. Then, somehow, we got on the topic of cars and I insisted this grown man who is likely old enough to be my father look at us and guess what kind of vehicles we drive. I mean, that's a funny game right? And he was right on the money--he could just tell my husband drives a pickup truck because he said (after said husband left the room) "He has that utilitarian look about him." Ha-larious.

After departing the bank, we went to the gas station. Because that truck we've been discussing was out of gas. And I had to pee. Badly. So, I went inside to use the facilities and the lady behind the counter complimented me on my shirt. "It's from Target!" I said. "What's Target?" she responded. I fainted. What's TARGET?!? Clearly, this requires a conversation.

Then, we moved on to the Verizon Wireless store to purchase a 4G hot spot for our home Internet service. When the salesman realized I still had my "city" cell phone number, we began talking about sports. And our mutual love of the same football team. And the NFL lockout. And how expensive beer is at the stadium. And how he sneaks liquor into the stadium in his jacket. And he showed me photos on Facebook of him, wearing a jacket and drinking alcohol. I could actually feel my husband's eyes burning holes in the back of my neck with laser-like accuracy.

When we returned to the car, he explained his frustration in the following way: it's not that my chatting with strangers is annoying, it's that it takes up time. Slows things down, if you will. Makes us less efficient, if you please. I, on the other hand, feel strangers appreciate all the talking. Plus, I find silence to be intolerable and awkward.

So, as we headed to the grocery store I took a vow of silence. Until we ran into someone we know. So, I was pious for like 10 minutes. Does that count for anything?

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