I am sitting on the couch fumbling around with a few ideas for a story to write about. The creative process is not easy. A few things I have written about have felt right. Most just seem okay. A few, I wish I had back.
On this evening I was feeling pretty empty. Then all of a sudden there was a noise from the kitchen that sounded a little like what I imagine it might sound like if armor piercing bullets went through the side of an Abrams tank.
The clamor was metallic for sure. But it was also splashy and splatty. I thought maybe my wife had shot a cantaloupe and splattered it against the wall. Although she has access to the gun case, this would not be her normal mode of action. I wondered why I thought this at all.
Whirring and grinding noises persisted. Right up until it got real quiet. Followed by what could only be described as a desperately long sigh.
Now, mind you, I’m generally pretty locked in when I’m focused on doing something. Noises from the other room don’t usually get my attention. But this one caused me to look up and squint as I listened for more.
I know what you’re thinking. I should have immediately sprung from the couch and ran to the rescue. But I have confidence in my wife. She can take care of herself during most kitchen catastrophes.
I looked for smoke. There was none. I listened for blood curdling screams. Nothing but silence.
So, I did what every faithful husband would have done. I kept my cool. Stayed on the couch. Fingers hovering above the keyboard.
“Everything okay in there?”
If you have been married for more than 3 minutes, you understand that “I’m fine” is sometimes code for “everything in my life at this moment is a disaster.” But after many years of marriage you also learn to distinguish between the different tones of “I’m fine.”
There is the cheerful tone. Which in most cases, the husband is allowed to assume that everything is fine as stated. Sometimes it is. Other times the husband is left with the lingering possibility that everything is not fine. It can be a tossup.
Then, there is the flat tone. This does not mean that things are fine at all. It means that at some point in the near future there will be a 4 hour conversation about everything that is wrong, including some of the insensitivities of the husband that have caused everything to be not fine.
Last, at least on my list, there is the guttural tone. The words “I’m fine” are spoken with the throat, as if Hebrew was her second language. It is best to give her time alone when this tone is used. But it is wise not to let too much time pass before exploring the meaning behind the words. Usually things are not fine, and your help is needed.
Her reply to me was a guttural “I’m fine.”
I immediately understood and waited the appropriate time before checking on the situation at hand. There were “busy” noises in the kitchen. Nothing frantic. So I assumed things were mostly under control.
“You sure you’re okay in there?”
This was my way of letting her know that I am sensitive to her needs. That I am willing to save the day. That I’m comfortable on the couch and if need be, I’ll come to the rescue.
“No, I’m fine. I’m alright.”
Two “I’m fines” require action. So, I got up and walked into the kitchen to see that my wife was wearing a T-shirt, which was not the shirt she had on when I saw her go into the kitchen to start with. She smiled. A good sign.
“What happened?” There was chocolate something on the ceiling. Splattered, accurately described various other surfaces and appliances in the vicinity. The blender was partly on the counter and partly in the sink.
She says to me, “You remember that time when we left that case of Sprite cans on the back seat of the car when it went to 14ᵒ?”
Which I remember well. Things exploded and spewed all over the interior of the car. Little Sprite stalactites dangling from the head liner. The kitchen looked a little like that, but in chocolate.
In the process of making up some blended delight, she let a spoon fall into the blender at hyper speed. Without the lid, of course. And the result was an armor piercing spoon tossed at some unpredictable and uncontrollable velocity toward her, the room in general, and the ceiling.
She had changed shirts. Soaking the chocolate out of her good shirt was the first priority. The counters were wiped. I got the ladder and lightly tried to remove chocolate ammunition from the textured ceiling. And we both totally forgot about whatever it was she was making.
All in all she survived. She really was fine. And I wound up with something to write about.
Win, win for everyone.
Be careful out there this Christmas. No spoons in the blender, please.