April 28, 2007

Marriage Minus Shared Life Experiences

I got into work at my usual time this morning and went about my business of civil servanting. Around 8:00 I noticed that my boss, who was in her office when I arrived, had left for the day. Her desk was cleared and the office lights were turned off. It isn’t unusual that she come in for two or three or four hours and leave, so I didn’t think anything of it.

It was about 8:45 when I stopped by the office of my coworker Teddy to inquire about the mental stability of another worker with whom I had been having some conflict. I found out that the other coworker is indeed emotionally challenged and therefore the blame lay with him regarding our conflict. That gave me a very special feeling of satisfaction. Then Teddy asked if I knew about Bossy. “No,” I told her.

“She had Moo D. take her to the hospital because she was having trouble seeing. She called the eye doctor but they wouldn’t give her an appointment, so she decided she better go to the emergency room. She thought her retina was detaching.”

“Wow,” I said. “Did someone call Scruffy (Bossy’s husband)?” Teddy didn’t know.

Teddy and I sat around and discussed the latest office gossip for a while. Finally Moo D. returned from her trip to the hospital and subsequent breakfast. Bossy wasn’t with her. I motioned for Moo D. to join us so she could fill us in on the details of Bossy. Moo D. didn’t know anything, just that she took Bossy down to the county hospital emergency room and was instructed by Bossy to return to work.

Moo D. then returned to her own office to find a voicemail message sent from Bossy. It was a fairly long message, yet Moo D. couldn’t understand any of it. She said it sounded like Bossy had the receiver pressed against her chin or something. I suggested that she call the hospital emergency room and leave a message for Bossy to call again with her message. Moo D. did just that.

I returned to my civil servanting for several hours and was surprised when I heard and smelled microwave popcorn being made in the office kitchen. Bossy is the only one who makes microwave popcorn at 1:30 p.m. I went to investigate and sure enough, there was Bossy with her dilated pupils hiding behind squinting eyelids that protected them from the blinding florescent lights that grace not only the kitchen area, but the whole building.

“What are you doing here?” I asked Bossy.

“I wasn’t going to waste a whole sick day just because of a trip to the emergency room,” she responded.

Apparently Bossy wasn’t experiencing a detaching retina, but vitreal detachment. Look it up. I don’t really understand how it is different from retinal detachment, so I can’t explain. She spent the rest of the day working in her office with the lights off to protect her dilated pupils, complaining that she couldn’t read anything. Ninety percent of her job entails reading, yet, she wouldn’t just go home. “…no use spending a whole sick day…”

After Bossy left at the end of her shift, Teddy, Moo D., and I discussed the situation some more.

Me: Did she ever tell Scruffy she went to the hospital?

Moo: I don’t know

Me: Did you ask her about the message she left?

Moo: She wanted me to order some part for her washing machine.

Yikes, I thought.

Me: I guess Scruffy wasn’t called, or else he could have ordered the washing machine part. He works from home, you know.

The whole situation left me stunned. Here is Bossy, so afraid she is losing her vision that she wants a coworker to drive her to the E.R. She would rather be accompanied by a coworker in her fear than by her husband who is more than available to be by her side as he works from home and is his own boss. And she, in her fear of blindness, can think of nothing but concealing this information from her husband so vehemently that she asked a coworker, instead of her husband, to order the ever so unimportant washing machine part. What’s wrong with her? What’s wrong with Scruffy? Why can’t Bossy let go of ordering the washing machine part while she’s in the E.R.?

I found out the next day that Bossy never did tell her husband she went to the hospital. She also told me he’ll never find out about it because she is the only one who sees and pays the bills in the house. Why is it so important to her that he is left ignorant about her health?

“That’s too much excitement for him,” she told me with a smile.

I can’t help but wonder about all the reasons people marry. Bossy obviously doesn’t respect her husband enough to share little snippets of her life, like going to the emergency room, with him. Her priorities lie in washing machine parts and keeping her whereabouts and health a secret from the man she married. Did her relationship start out this way, or did it mutate into something that appears to be as far from intimacy any two people can be?

Upon further consideration, I realize it is entirely possible Scruffy is incapable for one reason or another. Perhaps he has gone soft in the head, and instead of being Bossy’s partner he has become another child-figure for her to care for, or perhaps something like an aging parent. I guess it’s not up to me to judge their relationship. But in my heart of hearts I know Bossy is an obsessive codependent who needs to be in charge of everything at work and at home, and that Scruffy is a mealy-mouthed swish who will fall into any position Bossy demands. It doesn’t tax my imagination to consider them a completely asexual couple; Scruffy is probably subservient in hopes of sex, and Bossy probably withholds sex until everything is absolutely perfect, which it never will be. Sex is the motivation, but never the outcome. Ever.

Romantic dynamics never cease to amaze me.

No comments: