Me: Please take all the pliers from the junk drawer and put them in the toolbox.
Him: Okay. Where are they?
M: …please take all the pliers from the junk drawer and put them in the toolbox.
H: I heard you. Where are they.
M: What did I just say to you?
H: Take all the pliers and put them in the toolbox.
The other night, over dinner, Scott and I were discussing the fact that we have so many friends who don’t have children and how that’s been good for us, since we don’t have to be confronted with small children very often*. During the course of the conversation, Scott mentioned a chat he had with a childfree friend a few years ago. He told me the friend and his wife chose not to have children but were regretting it now.
I put down my fork and stared at Scott in disbelief. Eventually he ran out of words and realized I was staring at him. He mistook my shock as being about never knowing this about the friends and said, “What? I’m sure I told you about that. I think it was in Stroudsburg in the basement that time.”
“Babe,” I said, “that was my discussion with So-and-So. I had that talk with him, and I told you all about it. You’re appropriating my memories again.”
It’s rare that I can point to hard proof of this happening, as I can with this particular event because I blogged about it two years ago when it happened, but it’s not at all uncommon for Scott to steal my memories and pass them off as his own. Maybe it’s because we hear each other’s stories so many times that we think they happened to us, or maybe it’s because people who are together a long time really do share only one brain, but it happens more and more the longer we’re together and I suspect it’s a peculiar quirk of long term relationships. The lines blur between self and the other person who becomes an extension of self.
In my relationship, it’s generally Scott who does the stealing. Maybe it’s because he’s the more forgetful one by nature** and my memories just slide in and fill the gaps left in his own memories. Whatever it is, I think our memories are well and truly tangled together at this point.
*I’ve come a long way in acceptance, but being around lots of little kids or people who talk about their kids all the time can still be hard at times.
**I’m cursed with a horribly good long term memory. And yes, it is a curse, because I remember bad things as vividly as good.
Some years ago, Scott and I were lamenting our lack of money and looking around our apartment. One of us asked how we could make so much more money than we did years earlier and still be so broke, still have nothing. The other one replied, “Yeah, but it’s a higher quality of nothing.”
Since then that’s been a running joke every time we compare our present life with our life from years ago. We still have nothing, but it’s a higher quality of nothing. Recent developments, of course, have led us to actually have something. It’s still a constant striving, though, to go from a higher quality of nothing to something. A work in progress which is progressing slowly.
“I want cake.”
“We could walk to the diner for cake.”
“We could make this Bailey’s microwave mug cake.”
“Let’s just drink Bailey’s.”
So we did.