Every now and again someone sends me a message on Facebook or emails me and I kind of develop a crush on them. Wait, that came out wrong. I don't develop a crush on everyone who emails me, but every now and again someone composes a message that just strikes me somehow, you know?
I've met a lot of badass people on the nets here so I don't take folks emailing me lightly. I can't always respond to every, single email, but I read them all carefully. You never know who you might find in your inbox. Also, I once emailed this blogger I was crushing on and felt so totally stupid about it - so I know that it takes a lot to email someone you've not met in person, you know? Especially if you really like their writing because then you spend ten years editing your email because you're certain they will find your choice of words absolutely stupid.
That first paragraph up there in italics was a part of a message sent to me by a gal I've been corresponding with on Facebook. Without revealing too much, she found my blog and decided to email and we've been trading a few messages as of late. That bit about her boyfriend who would gulp the water... Yes. YES. Brilliant. Because OH MY GOD I can so relate. There are certain things Serge does that can instantly ignite hatred of volcanic proportions, proportions wholly unequal to his original transgression, but there it is: marriage.
Eating popcorn: Seriously. It's awful. It's like this times a million. I've tried to view it from a different perspective. Instead of watching popcorn missiles flying in all directions, embedding themselves in the couch and on the floor and in the creases of his shirt, I try to think how adorable it is that he loves popcorn and movies so much, that he's so effervescent, I guess is the polite word, about popcorn. (He even has a rule that not a single kernel of corn can enter his mouth before the movie starts, which is actually pretty cute.) It doesn't work. I start watching him instead of the movie, which, of course, fuels my hatred. The good news, I guess, is that my hatred dissipates the minute he's finished eating popcorn. Gone. Poof! Like that. But while he's eating that popcorn, man, I've got divorce documents printed out and signed in my head.
Listen though, before you write me off for good you should know that Serge feels the same way about me when I leave globs of jam in the peanut butter. I'm all, what the hell? It's peanut butter and jam! It goes together! It's meant to be together! He doesn't dig it. Ditto for when I use the same spoon to scoop sour cream and guacamole onto my taco. THERE'S SOUR CREAM IN THE GUACAMOLE, he shrieks as if I sprinkled - oh I dunno... rat poison? - in the guacamole. It's tainted, is what he's saying. Even though it all mixes together on the same taco.
So there's the popcorn. Which, really isn't so bad. It's just one of those things, like my friend said in the message, "it's what happens when you spend a long time with someone." Ultimately, I can deal with the popcorn.
And then there's the fan.
I've written about the fan before. But I don't think I've really impressed upon you how serious an issue it has become. For SO many reasons. The reasons are myriad. Did you see that? I said myriad. A myriad of reasons! I think you know I mean business. Also? Myriad is a noun and an adjective so both usages are correct. I know because I checked. Which means I Googled it and a random message board agrees with me.
The history of the fan goes a little something like this: Serge used to have to share shitty motel rooms while touring with his band, Marah, for all those years in his twenties and thirties. I don't think I need to tell you how gross drunk band dudes probably sound while sleeping. Snoring, farting, all manner of ungodly bodily functions, to be sure. So Serge took to cranking a fan to block out all noise. Additionally, he lived in Philadelphia for many years during which he used a simple box fan as a white noise device, blocking out all city sounds. **It's worse than I feared. Just now I let Serge read this before I published and he says the fan actually goes back to middle school. He's pretty much always used a fan to fall asleep, it's deeply ingrained in his sleeping patterns.
Anyhow, remember how we got married after a few weeks of knowing each other? Yes, well, we had never shared living quarters before moving to Brooklyn. So imagine my joy when I - a girl who enjoys being lulled to sleep by crickets and night breezes - had to come to terms with this tornating fan machine belching recycled air all over me. Not only that, but I'm the kind of gal who likes to fall asleep with the TV on. Serge, like many folks, does not enjoy the flickering blue light of a television while he's trying to sleep. Because he doesn't like the TV and because I couldn't even hear the damn thing anymore over the roar of the fan, I stopped putting on the television while in bed. But, when I expressed my disdain for his fan did Serge return the favor? I think you know the answer to that, dear reader.
I learned to live with the fan. I reasoned that since we lived on the first floor in the very front of an apartment building, our bedroom window mere feet from a busy Brooklyn sidewalk, the roar of the fan blocked out the hustle and bustle of New York living. And it did. It worked as a great white noise machine. In Brooklyn. Then we moved to a quiet suburb of Salt Lake City and because we no longer had to mask the obnoxious hipster conversations taking place inches from our bedroom window I thought it time, once again, to engage in the fan debate.
I mistakenly thought that someone requiring a fan to sleep is the same as someone enjoying the dulcet tones of television while drifting off. I stopped watching TV so it follows that because I don't like the fan Serge should stop his ridiculous affair with the airy bitch. He didn't see it that way. Still doesn't see it that way. Not even when Violet was born and I harassed him about how I couldn't hear her when she cried in the other room, did he see a need to stop with the fan. He simply suggested cranking her monitor to maximum volume. Which, if you've ever turned up a baby monitor you know the static, not to mention hearing every grunt and groan of your child, is worse than a fucking fan.
But I let it go. Kind of. Some of the biggest fights of our marriage, I swear to God, have been about his goddamn fan. One time, in Utah, I tried a compromise. Let's turn the fan on low, I said to Serge. It didn't last. He constantly switched it to high and got angry with me if I switched it to low. Some compromise.
Sometimes, when I want to throw him and his fucking fan out the window I just storm into the bedroom and switch it off. You can imagine how well that goes over. "Why are you the boss, why does it have to be YOUR way?" He asks when I try to argue my point. It isn't my way, I tell him. And then I present my theory, which is as follows: Turning off the fan isn't my way, it's the natural way. What I mean by that is, nothing on - no TV, no fan - would be the natural state of affairs in the bedroom. And that is what we should default to when both parties cannot agree on sleeping conditions. Serge completely disagrees, of course. He won't even entertain the notion of shutting off the fan because it's "his room too".
Y'all, he gets rabid, RABID I SAY, when we have this disagreement. Like, so intense about it that I think the fan must do sexual favors for him when I'm not around. There was this one time? In Utah? He was so upset about my hatred of the fan that he got out some scissors and cut the cord to the fan in half. I'm not sure why. As if that would spite me? Privately, I thought it rather poetic. About time he cut the cord.
We bought a new fan later that week.
Remember how I told you Serge gets the kids up and makes breakfast? That's because I am the night parent. If Henry or Violet wakes up, it's me that goes to them. Yet I can barely hear Henry cry and he's right down the hall, twenty feet away. I can either crank his monitor (in addition to Violet's) or I don't, but I end up kind of stressed and straining over the roar of the fan to hear if he's crying at certain points throughout the night. And still. The fan roars on.
It's to the point that I'll be downstairs finishing up some work or whatever and I hear him switch on that fan (in below zero temperatures, mind you) and I am filled with rage. For so many reasons. Because the fan is annoying, because Serge refuses to compromise, because it's been SEVEN MOTHERFUCKING YEARS OF FAN BATTLES.
As a revolt of sorts, this past couple of years I have taken to turning on a tiny DVD player next to our bed. I used to use headphones as a courtesy but not anymore. Not anymore, goddammit! I can barely hear anything over the roar of the fan, and still, he's telling me to turn down the TV. Ha! You want me to turn down something? In your dreams, asshole! Or maybe just when you turn off your stupid fan.
It's crap, man. My room is not a place I enjoy. A compromise isn't putting the fan on low because the motherfucker would still be there. A compromise would be one night fan, one night no fan.
Okay then. Who's being the asshole? Can a compromise be reached? I'm afraid he's so attached to his lover, the fan, that the very act of compromise will leave him sullen thereby ruining our bedroom environment. But it's already ruined anyway, I say. Are we both assholes? But how am I an asshole? I just don't like the fan. He's definitely the asshole, right? Besides, I was the asshole last week.
Also, what is THE THING you're life partner does that makes you super angry? Do they loudly gulp water while swallowing in the still of the night? Do they talk while brushing their teeth? Do they pick their toenails? Do they leave their disgusting hair in the shower drain? Help me feel better about this most trivial of concerns that is now one of the largest arguments of our marriage.