Like most married couples, Michele and I have had our share of misunderstandings and, yes, it’s true that some of them may have involved a little bulging of the neck veins, by in large, most of them have been pretty benign. C’mon, what loving, caring couple hasn’t pelted each other with freshly made Tiramisu while travelling 60 miles per hours on the Thruway on Thanksgiving morning? And please show me the couple who hasn’t had a minor tiff when one of them attempted to demonstrate the other many, wonderful uses for whipped cream during an extremely rare amorous moment? Pretty basic stuff, no?
Those types of squabbles are over quickly and the proper term is Quiblets. You get your angst out of your system, you have your car detailed and you move on.
The more troubling arguments are a little more in depth. We refer to these as the Blood Boilers. One thing that I have noticed quite a bit during the shelter in place experience that we’ve been enduring is that disputes with spouses seem to be magnified. The reasons are twofold: 1) There is no escape route, and 2) How many times can one be expected to consume rice and beans before both you and your colon rebel?
The Blood Boiler often goes from a mere simmer to a raging boil in seconds, hence the name.
The frustrations that arise from this type of argument can cause heart palpitations, a temporary loss of mental acuity and in the most extreme cases, bodily shakes so severe that it could cause one to spill their beer. Allow me to briefly describe the Blood Boiler for you. It, of course, starts when one party says something that the other might possibly interpret as a veiled swipe, but isn’t quite sure and generally responds with ‘What do you mean?’ Now, this is very important so pay attention: when the one who tossed the first salvo (The initiator) retorts with “I’m just sayin…,’ the green flag has waived and you are off and running. Nothing good can come from ‘I’m just sayin’. The basic premise implies a misstep or misdeed of some kind from the other person. Eventually one of you will start to seriously feel that blood start to boil and will utter the words, “Screw this! I am done talking about it.” Oh, believe me, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not over but somebody seriously needs to take a break.
The tedium from the deadly silence lingers and generally after a period of time, sometimes lasting hours, both sides are so blinded by anger that neither one can actually remember how the argument started or even what it’s about but one thing remains solid: both parties are absolutely sure they’re right, damnit!
Okay, let’s resume, shall we. Now it’s time for one of you to say something that can be construed as vaguely relating to the topic of the argument. This infuriates your partner and over the lips will come those famous words, “What the #@! ^*! are you talking about?” Then, as if by magic, you’re hurdled right back to the original dispute. Yes, the argument you said you were no longer going to talk about. Yeah, that one. Funny how that works, huh?
Of course, no honest to goodness Blood Boiler would be complete without the following dialogue generally performed at high decibels high enough to shatter glass.
Person #1: ‘I didn’t bring it up, you did!’
Person #2: ‘Are you nuts? I was responding to your stupid comment.’
Person #1: ‘What comment was that, jerk?’
Person #2: ‘How the Hell should I know?!’
Person #1 ‘That’s exactly what I’m sayin’!’
Person #2: ‘What’s for dinner, anyway?’
Person #1: ‘Anything but Tiramisu, damnit!’