For the last three mornings when I wake up, the little toe on my right foot is numb. I refuse to give in to temptation to look up symptoms on the internet for little toe numbness. I know from experience I’ll find it’s a symptom of a disease that rots the body starting in the little toe of the right foot. Likely, I have leprosy.
I don’t see myself as some sort of paranoid pain complainer, but apparently others do. My lovely wife said the other day. “My dad thinks you’re such a princess.” Hmm. I wanted to argue her/his premise immediately. Then I reflected on the evidence.
When we were in Colorado this past summer on vacation with her parents, there was the one morning I told Robb I couldn’t go walk with him because it was “too cold.” The man loves his morning walks like oxygen, and I could have worn a jacket and sucked it up. He has a wide assortment of jackets for every type of cold imaginable and gloves to go with them.
Also, when we were dragging suitcases back to the car at the end of the vacation, I was fumbling with my wife’s large suitcase. Robb noticed this. He quickly produced a weight scale, convinced she had over-packed the suitcase so that it must weigh more than the 50 pound limit everyone is desperate to fall under for airport weight limit purposes. In addition to jackets and gloves for every occasion, Robb also has gadgets for every occasion. It was 49 pounds.
“Huh,” he said. “When I saw how much you were struggling with it, I was sure it weighed more than 50 pounds.” “Nope,” I said. “I’m just a weenie.” Robyn has gotten so good at packing suitcases just under 50 pounds without the aid of mechanical devices that I was not shocked to learn at the airport that her suitcase weighed 49 pounds and mine weighed 48. It’s one of her many unsung talents.
The news that I am a princess is not the first time my lovely wife has passed on secret information never intended to be communicated to the person who ultimately receives it. Back in Wilmington, Robb and I would sometimes find ourselves blindsided by pointed character assessments we had made of each other in front of Robyn. At an appropriate moment, she would let one of these conversational bombs drop. It was a way of using someone else’s criticism to make her point while she stood well clear of the shrapnel. No doubt she thought to improve us with this information, but on our near daily walks Robb and I would then talk things over.
“I never knew you thought I always buy somebody else the gift I really want in the hopes that they will tire of it, and I will get the use of it,” I told Robb after one of these ordinances exploded. “But that’s probably true.” Robb would nod. “And I never knew you thought I had a plan to improve everybody else’s life and just thought they were too dumb to learn from my advice.” He paused a beat. “But that’s probably true.” We both made a pact never to complain about each other in front of Robyn. But sometimes we slip up.
So, the other day I was going to go to my free Pilates class in Chelsea. But then it was really cold. 55 degrees after a long spate of pleasant mornings in the mid-60s. I found reasons not to go, although I’m sure Pilates is the single best exercise I can do. Later, I realized it’s not going to get any warmer this year. Only colder. I live next door to Canada. If I don’t go because it’s cold now, am I never going again until Spring rolls around?
I like to push uncomfortable information about myself away. Living in a state of overt denial. I acknowledge an inconvenient truth, but then I try very hard to forget about it. But now I find I have to ask myself a hard question.
Where’s my tiara?