I’m Not Doing It! by Rich Paschall
In every relationship, there are agreed tasks that each person must do. These may naturally come about out of habit. One person cooks, and another does the dishes. One person sweeps the floor, and vacuums the carpets, while the other takes out the trash and cleans the bathroom. No matter how easily we fall into certain tasks, others may take some discussion.
For example, who is dusting, mopping, wiping down, and so on? Over time these will fall into place too. Certain tasks just seem to belong to a certain person. Those seasonal tasks may be shared or taken up by one mate or another. One may be cutting the grass and both may take part in raking the leaves. Snow shoveling may be broken up into so much time for each person. You rest, I’ll continue.
There are also negotiations. You know the ones: “Let’s put the sofa over there!”
“Why? It is fine where it is at.”
“I don’t like it there.”
“It’s been there ten years. Now you don’t like it? If you don’t like it, you move it!”
Of course, the discussion might fall off the rails at that point. If you wish to preserve domestic tranquility, you might want to just move the sofa. All decorating decisions are fine negotiations. Choosing new colors to paint the walls may take some time. Deciding which furniture to buy may also take careful consideration unless you are at my house. Roomie decided an instant decision was best. When he thought I had the living room sofas too long he decided they should go.
“Here are the sofas we should buy,” he said showing me pictures on his phone.
“They are very nice and you will like them.”
“They will fit in the same places.”
“Not much,’ he said with a smile. His idea of not much and my idea were a lot different. It turns out that did not matter. I came home from work one day to find the old items going out the door,
“The new sofas are coming soon so I got a friend to take away the old ones.” Periodically, roomie congratulates himself for the fine choice he made, mostly for my benefit, I suppose.
We had a similar situation with the living room drapes There are four windows across the front and two along the side walls on either side right next to them. It is a large bay area and 8 windows. Roomie did not like the drapes that were there and wanted me to replace them. Foolishly, I thought we should take measurements and go to the store together to pick them out.
“Can’t you just go get different ones?”
“Because I am not bringing something and then you telling me you hate it. Let’s go together.” So the translation into Colombian-English apparently was he would go buy them himself and put them up when I am not home. There are also occasional comments by roomie on how good they look, again for my benefit.
You should not get the wrong idea here. There are no arguments. Roomie hates arguments. He likes to be calm and happy. If you do not agree with his decision, then you are just wrong, no argument. Any hint that your tone is changing or your voice is going up in volume will get a quick rebuke. “No like.”
This brings me to the great Christmas tree dilemma. A number of years ago, five perhaps, roomie and I went to the Home Depot and picked out an artificial Christmas tree. It was as big as the space at home would allow. Roomies eyes were as big as if he had seen the real Santa at midnight on Christmas Eve. He never had a Christmas tree. This was a big moment. The tree had lights already on it. We bought A LOT of ornaments and a giant lighted star for the top. I thought we would put it up the following evening, but roomie did it all himself while I was at work. It had to be perfect, the way he had always envisioned a Christmas tree to be.
The tree went up on following years when I was not around. I guess whenever we decided it was time, it had to go up right away. I have never seen how it goes together or how it was packed away. I could probably figure it out, but I think this task belongs to the roomie. This thinking has led to a Colombian stand-off.
“When are you going to put up the tree?”
“You can put it up.”
“You put it up every year.”
“Then you should do it.”
“I don’t know how to do it.”
“It is easy.”
“If it is easy and you have done it before, it will not take you too long. I would have to figure it out, or we can have no tree this year.”
“I will do it on the 12…or the 13th…maybe the 14. No, that is no good., probably the 13th…or 12th.”
So there you have it. The tree will go up next week, perhaps, if someone is available and willing. The joy of my expensive tree purchase may have worn off a bit. Next week we may (or may not) be singing “O Christmas Tree.”