Up or Down?

| July 15, 2009

The great toilet seat debate

Dear Carolyn,
Why should I put the toilet seat down? Why shouldn’t she put it up?
I am seriously pissed about this.
Corky

Dear Corky,
I assume you want an explanation for why you should do the right thing and put the seat down? Because if you are looking for a logical, fair accounting for the pros and cons of up or down, I’m not your gal. Relationship stuff is not always fair or equally divisible by two. And make no mistake; the great toilet seat debate is always about the relationship.
Just put the seat down.
I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,
My wife and I are retired from professional careers. Unfortunately, due to the bad economy, our nest egg is not what we hoped it would be. Now that our children are grown, we are thinking about getting our CDLs and team-driving around the country. This question is not about how hard it is to make a living as a trucker – I got that. What I’m asking is do you ever get any success stories about trucking couples who make it work? I don’t want to wreck our good marriage. We get along great and have always enjoyed each other’s company.
Kyle

Dear Kyle,
What? You want me to give you the green light to put two people together in a space no bigger than your biggest closet; add job frustration, tedium, congested roads, road rage, bad food, disrespectful shippers and unrealistic demands; and tell you it’s going to be bliss in a box? Wait. That’s not your question. (Smacks self on head.) Your question is whether I’ve heard from happy trucking couples. Well, actually, you’d be surprised. There are lots of happy team drivers out there. They do see the country, work and play well together. They divide up the chores, eat healthy, stay fit and even make a little bit of money. It takes teamwork, patience and a sense of humor. I doubt I’d last for 24 hours with any partner other than my dog.
So here’s what I think. A happy marriage is not dependent on circumstance. If you are happy with yourself and the state of your union, you’ll be happy in a truck. If you are considerate and compatible now, there’s no reason to believe driving together will erode the foundations you’ve already established. You could practice in your closet for a few days, see how that goes. But other than that, it’s all attitude. You’ll get exactly what you expect to get. No more, no less.
Good luck to you both. I have a feeling this is going to work out just fine.
I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,
I found out my husband had been unfaithful to me while on the road. We went to counseling, he expressed deep regret, and I’m now trying to forgive and move on. My problem is that most of my friends and family are furious with him and want me to end the marriage. It’s very difficult to try to explain to them how I believe he’s sorry and that the marriage is worth saving. Advice givers like you don’t help. You are always saying, kick ‘em to the curb. That’s fine, but it’s not the right advice for everyone.
Please help me come up with a way to explain my decision without looking like the fool.
Janey

Dear Janey,
For every “kick ‘em to the curb” I dole out, there’s an “everyone screws up now and then” piece of advice to go with it. Because, really, that’s what being human is about. And for everyone who says they would “never” do something, the universe has a wicked way of shoving that person right off their perch. I wouldn’t say your marriage is not worth saving. Or your husband is not remorseful. Or you are a fool. Because only you and your husband know the depth of your capacity to forgive and then, mercifully, to try to forget or at least to move forward.
When someone (other than me) gives you unsolicited advice, just do what I always do. Say “hmmm” and change the subject.
Never underestimate the power of “hmmm.”
I’m just say’n.

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