Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Half-Step Prance

Walked to the library yesterday afternoon. Had to go through downtown where there are a lot of people and cars.

My husband was wearing his big, black leather duster, a coat that is about as long as he is tall, and a black leather cowboy hat. He looks impressive. I was wearing my rabbit fur Russian hat and a knit purple scarf over a blue wool coat. The coat is cut in a very strange style. It ties once, at the bottom. Thus around your neck and chest the coat can gape open. The big, purple scarf is then needed to fill the gap and keep your chest warm against the winter cold.

My husband was doing something funny with his feet. Every now and then he would prance. He would jump up, up into the air, and make a little half-step shuffle. I knew what he was doing. He had learned it in the army and I had learned it in drum corpse. It is what you do to change the order of your steps when you are marching out-of-line with your comrades. He wasn't sly when he did it. It seemed like some sort of complicated dance step.

My husband is 6 feet 2 inches and I am 5 feet 8 inches. There really is a difference between the lengths of our legs. We can't walk in synchronicity all the time. Yet my husband would like this to be so. As he holds my hand and we walk together he would like our steps to be landing on the sidewalk together. When they are not, he knows it, and it vexes him. He claims that when our feet fall at different times, with different feet hitting the sidewalk first, he can feel it and it feels off balance.

I am part of this hand holding, side-walk walking team. And it bothers me not in the least what our feet are doing. What does bother me it to see a gigantic man dressed fancy (because my love does look like an eccentric) doing funny things with his feet while he walks. The image is simply too much. He will attract attention, and the attention will not be kind. I prefer, when we walk together to attract less attention.

So we had a brief couple's quarrel. My husband expressed how good it feels to him when we are exactly in step with one another. Personally, I think the "goodness" is a quality that is mostly in his head - he likes the symbolism. A couple that is physically twins, must be, emotionally twins. I expressed not what I thought, that a tall man dressed mostly in leather prancing looks like a fool, instead, I said, if it doesn't bother me how our feet are landing it shouldn't bother you.

You can think, being a wife, that your husband is being foolish, but convincing the fool is hard because fools do what they do out of joy of life. My husband pranced with joy that he was twinning with his wife.

It is hard to be the realist in the relationship. It is hard headed to trample on someone else's glee. Isn't being in step with your best friend (who also happens to be your best girl) a childhood game, a childhood whimsy, a childhood triumph? My husband was being a boy at heart and there is a little dark spot in my soul because I said no, I will not play your game.

I am sad because I am so self-conscious and practice censorship. It would be a better world if people let people act out their odd little notions without saying, "you don't fit into society". I don't know if I am a bad wife for curbing my husband's new enthusiasm, or whether I helped him save face.

Last week I took a pair of tweezers and my husband lay down in bed. He shut his eyes. I studied his face and found the spots where wild hairs were growing within his eyebrows. Then I plucked. Apparently, at 50 years of age, he is becoming an old man and in some spots on his body the hair grows at an accelerated rate, and then, curls. I am helping my husband beat bushy eyebrows. On this homage to social norms we are in agreement. I assume that soon I will have to cut bushy hair that is growing out of his ears. But already, he tends to himself, and cuts the bushy hair that is growing out of his nose.

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