TThe end of the lockdown could not come soon enough for the Ranganathans. We have moved into the realm of actively searching for things to discuss, just to feel something. After long, silent days, we prowl the house, looking for any perceived injustice as an excuse for a fight. The other day we fell into a disagreement that it would be so pathetic to explain to someone that I have decided that it is a perfect material for public consumption.
I had to go to work. Normally, this is a cause for absolute joy in the house; On the one hand, it means that my wife is moving away from me; on the other, there is the possibility that I have some anecdotes that are not based on my last trip to the refrigerator.
Since the incident was based on a fundamental disagreement on the underlying facts, I am representing my side of the story here, and you can see my wife’s opinion in her next Telegraph column (no, not really).
I hoped I told him I had to go to work at 9:30 in the morning; what he heard was: “I am Romesh, and I am an inconsiderate idiot who will tell you the wrong moment only to make your life more difficult.”
Covered like that with babysitting over Easter break, he had assumed he could do his exercise class outside at 10am, so when he saw that I was getting ready to leave, shit hit the kettlebell. We started arguing who said what, at first quite calmly, then a little more heatedly. At some point, I’m ashamed to admit, we both went to different rooms. Then I did something clever where I did a show of saying goodbye to the kids in a loud and elaborate way that seemed like I was being very nice to the kids, but was designed to contrast how really short I was. I said goodbye to my wife. Not saying goodbye was not an option, that would be immature. But doing it abruptly is subtle, mature, and sophisticated.
Consequently, when I walked out the door I said “See ya” in a really cool way that effectively communicated my point. My wife replied “OK” in a way that I felt amounted to admitting defeat. At work, I spent the day imagining how overwhelmed she must be at how brilliant she’d handled the whole thing, idly wondering if she’d buy me some kind of gift to apologize for being so inconsiderate.
A short time later, what almost always happens when I have a disagreement with my wife happened; I realized that it was actually my fault. Thinking about it, I was pretty sure I had told him I could go to his class because I had the wrong time. I was faced with two options: keep my weapons and carry the dark secret to my deathbed, or do the mature thing and claim that there must have been a misunderstanding.
At home, I did what I usually do and apologized profusely, but also asked her if she had noticed and was impressed by my parting strategy. She said yes, and we talked about how embarrassingly childish we had been. We laughed a bit and talked about how we should try to avoid doing that in the future. And then we both fell silent. That had occupied us for a while … What could we discuss next?
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism