Three weeks of staying home because of COVID-19 and I am ready to break out
Tensions between husbands and wives are hitting new highs. After being at home for the past three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, I can understand why frustrations are mounting. I’m ready to escape. Published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group: Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, The Regional News, and the Reporter Newspaper.
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By Ray Hanania
There have been a couple of times I went out to work at one of my offices because of the coronavirus, but over the past three weeks, I’ve spent most of my time working out of my home.
Sounds like a “vacation,” but it’s not. In fact, many media have been reporting that domestic violence has been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And, I understand why.
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Recently, I went to the ice box (my wife calls it the “refrigerator”) to get one of my favorite drinks, Cascade, a seltzer-like fruit flavored drink that has no calories, no carbs and none of the carcinogenic chemicals that plagued my former favorite drink, Diet Coke.
Right away, my wife chirped, “You’re not going to have another one, are you? You just drank one.”
I slowly opened the ice box door and put the unopened drink back on the shelf.
We were having dinner for Easter, and I reached out to grab some more of the delicious meal that she made, only to hear that familiar echo, reverberate in my brain.
“You’re not going to eat another one, are you? You have to watch your weight,” my wife said matter-of-factly.
My extended arm slowly returned to the perch next to my empty plate and my hunger.
Watching one of my favorite TV programs the other morning, my wife walked past with a basket of laundry and asked, “Are you planning to do anything today?”
Of course, my wife works hard and being home I see how much. But I have been working like a maniac these past few weeks writing columns and helping clients. I don’t carry laundry baskets, but I am working, I thought.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked my wife in a very polite voice.
I have asked some of the most fearsome politicians questions that sent them off into tirades, like Mayor Jane Byrne, Mayor Rich Daley, or Mayor Harold Washington. But I have never watched my words more closely than I do when asking a question of my wife.
I have learned through marriage that there are some things that remain unspoken. Or, when a wife asks, “What do you think of this dress?”
You think I’m stupid enough to say, “I don’t like the color. It makes you look fat”? No, I give her my go-to response. “Wow. Beautiful. Love it. Great. Amazing.”
Of course, there is always the comeback line she has of hesitation, even after the most generous compliment. “Or, maybe I should wear this other one?”
“That looks great, too,” I am smart enough to respond. Who am I, Bob Mackie?
Marriage is not easy. And no matter how long you have been married, marriage has its moments.
But, these past few weeks in the home, going nowhere, I have had to watch my P’s and Q’s.
“Who you calling?” … “What are you doing on your cell phone?” … “What are you writing?” … “Wash your hands.” … You going to get out of your pajamas?” … “Didn’t you just eat a few hours ago?” … “That drink of your (the Cascades) have so much sodium in them. You’re drinking too many.”
The question that gets me most, “Are you planning to take a shower this week?”
Oy vez mir, I want to scream! (A Yiddish expression of dismay or exasperation, which is also Ya Rubbee in Arabic.)
I have to get out of the house. No amount of babbling from President Trump, Gov, Pritzker or Mayor Lightfoot – why do I have to watch Lightfoot at all I wonder as a suburbanite? – is going to add comfort to this unusual circumstance in which a husband and a wife have to spend so much time together.
“What are you writing about this week?” She asked.
“Nothing honey. Nothing about you or our relationship, or about tensions. Just happy stuff,” I replied. “You know me, I just love happy stuff.”
I figure if the coronavirus doesn’t nail us, staying at home just might.
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