About every two weeks, my husband and I engage in the black hole of house projects; we clean the garage. Again. Once we get it spotless, it seems overnight it gets overrun with pizza boxes, rags, cans, and trash. We enjoy the cleanliness for approximately 32 seconds before the inevitable happens.
This morning we walked in the garage to discover Mr. Nobody (also the stealer of socks) came in overnight and performed a tornado spin. We each blame one another on why this is happening.
Husband: “When do you plan on doing something with those boxes? That’s the whole problem.”
The garage is packed full of manly things: tools, lawn equipment, aircraft mechanicky things, toolboxes, ropes, boxes of wires, bikes, bows and arrows, fishing poles.
And my four boxes.
Me: “So my four boxes are the problem here?”
Husband: “What gave you the impression this was a two-way conversation? Piss off lady. Please don’t hit me.”
So then we engage in a tit-for-tat, toxic marital repartee in which we decide neither is getting any later so don’t even freaking try it. But we bravely trudge on through the muck and mess and eventually end up with what any other homeowner would be totally jealous of. For 32 seconds.
The thing is, no one ever sees that version of the garage. People only come over when it looks like hobos have been cooking meth over a campfire in there. They look at us like we’re trailer trash, and we each secretly express that it’s the other spouse’s fault this is happening. They shuffle their feet uncomfortably and dream of better friends, but we’re all they have. So suck it, friends. We’re all you have.
I’ve decided, though, that I’m no longer taking the blame for the garage phenomena. I have a secret plan, and since my husband doesn’t read anything I write, he won’t be on to me and it’ll totally work.
I’m going to take two markers: one blue, for him, and one pink, for me. Now, each time I walk out there and find an object that he has added or moved around, it will get a blue mark on it. Similarly, each time I walk out there and leave an object, or move an object, I will put, again, a blue mark on it. I will use the pink marker to draw pretty flowers on the dry erase board on the extra refrigerator.
This will prove to him that he’s the whole problem and I will walk away the victor of this whole thing. He will be full of shame and I will tell him he needs help, and he will say piss off lady, but he’ll still feel wholly responsible. And that’s what marriage is all about: assigning blame. Winning. Conquering. Symbolically bitch-slapping the other every chance you get. If you don’t believe me, just look it up.
I’m already preparing my victory speech, and it will go something like this:
I, the wife of this marriage, in order to form a more perfect union, have established justice, insured domestic tranquility, provided for my own defense, promoted my welfare, and secured my place in heaven, do ordain and establish that everything is your fault.
For four score and two days ago you brought forth on this concrete, a new box, conceived in sloppetry, and dedicated to the idea that you could just blame it on me.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether this marriage, or any marriage so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on the great battle-field of this garage. We have come to dedicate a portion of that garage, as a final resting place for all your shitty excuses. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
It is for us to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which we who fought here have thus far failed like a big dog. It is rather for us to accept that it’s all your fault and work together to conquer the great task remaining before us -that this garage, under renovation, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that empty space with no boxes, by the boxes, for the boxes, shall not perish with pizza boxes.
With liberty and justice for me. BAM.