It’s safe to say everyone is getting a bit tired of it.
My parents, both in their eighties, were going a little stir-crazy in Florida. They missed their house in the woods and so they filled the RV with food and water and drove 2000 miles north. I was worried about them, naturally, but they only left their RV to fill up with gas and they are now in their home up north and a lot happier. My mom explained how they were able to make it in record time.
“Usually, your father would want to stop at every Waffle House along the way. But they were all closed!” I could tell this was not entirely bad news, as far as my mother was concerned.
I read advice columns every day and this enforced closeness is putting a lot of strain on relationships. Couples are discovering annoying habits in their loved one, habits that might have gone undetected for months or even years but now have come to light and—given enough stress or boredom—suddenly become sufficiently aggravating to write to an advice columnist.
Readers write in because their partners are messy cooks or they breathe too loudly or they interrupt them when they are trying to work. It seems there are a lot of folks wondering what the heck they ever saw in their beloved in the first place. There’s a lot of tension out there.
The advice columnists counsel patience. “Don’t do anything rash in these times.” “Assume that you might be a little over sensitive and try to be more tolerant.” I suspect this is good advice even in the best of times.
My husband, Peter, is a good person to be in isolation with. He has good habits and leaves me alone to write and, unlike me, he doesn’t get wound up over nothing. About the only thing that ever bothers me is that, very occasionally, Peter snores. He tells me to wake him up when he does this and I try. But that’s when the trouble starts.
Peter starts to snore and I nudge him. “Honey, you’re snoring,” I tell him.
Peter stops snoring. There is a long pause. Peter is thinking this over, I can tell.
“I don’t think so,” he finally decides. Then he falls back to sleep.
A few minutes later, I nudge him again.
“Honey, you’re snoring again.”
“Well… wake me up!” Peter says, sounding a little exasperated.
“I just did.”
“Huh.” Peter sounds doubtful, then falls back to sleep again. We can have this conversation several times in a single night.
I know I have it easy. An old college buddy of Peter’s is married to a woman who grew up quite poor. Having enough of the essentials on hand has always been more important to her than to most people and so, understandably, having enough toilet paper is a pretty big deal.
She had a fairly good supply, enough to get through a few weeks, when her husband (who was going a little stir-crazy) took all her toilet paper and hid it in the garage.
“Where is all the toilet paper?!” she asked in alarm.
“I traded it for a case of wine,” he told her.
I don’t know how long he persisted in this charade—and I don’t know if his wife will be writing into the newspaper or not—but I’m pretty sure this is exactly the kind of behavior the advice columnists would advise against.
For my part, I’m feeling mighty grateful. Last night, Peter was snoring. I let him snore.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.