Overheard in a motel lobby:
Him – “You want me to get a luggage cart, or?”
Her – “Yes, let’s get one, because we’ve got…”
Him – “…I don’t need an explanation! I just need to know what to do.”
My first thought upon witnessing this exchange was simply dayum, why’d he have to bite her head off?! I felt sorry for her, especially because the lobby was crowded and several people besides me must have noticed.
I wished that she would have called him on it – would have said hey, there’s no need to talk to me that way. But she just bit her lip… or worse, maybe was so used to such treatment that she didn’t think anything of the incident.
As the afternoon wore on, I found my thoughts returning to their interaction, and it occurred to me that she had been very ‘us’ and ‘we’, whereas he had been all ‘I’ and ‘me’.
And I wonder how common this is in relationships, for one partner to be more self-focused, while the other thinks of the two as a unit more.
Or maybe even if it’s a common man vs. woman sort of perspective dissonance, women tending to think ‘we’ more, while men think ‘I’ more…
It’s easy to misinterpret the conversation between couples or perceive more than what is there. It reminds me of the time my husband and I got free dessert bc a family at a neighboring table thought he was being abusive to me. We staying at a resort and having a vey late dinner. We’d had several drinks before dinner and were already a bit drunk. Being clumsy when sober, I am especially clumsy when drunk and I managed to spill my wine. My husband made a comment that I didn’t even hear. Our table was cleaned up and I got a new glass of wine. Later, the waitress came up and said the manager wanted to speak with me. I was taken aside and asked if everything was ok. I was confused so I simply replied yes and then went back to my dinner. We called the next day and I asked the waitress about it. She said that someone had said my husband was being verbally abusive. Neither of us could figure out what he’d said but laughed it off. A couple months later, we were again having a weekend away. We got out of a cab and as the next couple climbed in, they found my wallet on the seat and promptly returned it to me. My husband’s instant comment was, “Jesus Christ. What the fuck is wrong with you!” A phrase he and I have both used when we do something particularly boneheaded. I realized then, that was the phrase the family found so abusive. To me it was nothing other than a stupid comment but I can see how others might perceive it as particularly cruel.
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