It’s easy to get into the mode of being in our own little world all the time when we’re actually in our own little world most of the time. The cab of the truck is George and Wendy universe, a place where inside jokes, innuendo and laughter rule. We don’t have to censor ourselves or even finish our sentences most of the time, we know each other well enough to get the punch line without having to complete the joke. Things like that happen when you’ve been married 20 years. It also happens when you spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week trapped in a 8-by-12 box with someone, so we’ve got a double whammy on the familiarity front.
After five or six days out, you kind of forget other people exist. When you go into public places, the humans populating it don’t seem real, and sometimes it’s hard to readjust to being around them. This became painfully evident as I watched from the other side of the store while my husband asked a perfect stranger for a dollar at the Pilot in Von Ormy, Texas.
We had been wandering around for a few minutes, stretching our legs and looking at the discounted sunglasses. We were standing in line, waiting to make our purchase – I was waiting behind George, I had already handed him my selection of items. I saw something shiny and walked off to look at it, without telling him I was leaving.
I trailed off, back to the sunglasses, and looked up just in time to see a very bewildered-looking lady attempting to hand George a dollar bill, and I knew exactly what he had done. Instead of being a good wife, and going back over to bail him out, I hid behind the glasses and sniggered at him while being simultaneously awed at the level of hell-red his face had achieved.
I watched him apologize profusely, and decline her dollar. He finished his transaction at the counter and scurried over to me.
“What the hell? You just walked off, I didn’t know you were gone – I asked that lady for a dollar because I thought she was you – I didn’t know until I turned around you were gone and she was standing behind me instead. Quit laughing.”
“I thought she might have been soliciting you, lot lizard. Ima call the law.” This sent me into gales of laughter. I crack myself up sometimes.
“Oh ha ha, Miss Funny Pants, it’s always sooooooo funny when it’s not you.”
“OK, remember a couple days ago when we were walking through the parking lot and the air brake went off and it scared me so bad I jumped and spilled my Dr. Pepper and you and the Crete driver had a big ol’ laugh about it?”
“We’re even. But I don’t think I even came close to achieving the level of embarrassed red you did today, so you win on that one.”
“Damn right. I’m a winner.”
“Yes you are. And strangers will give you dollars. That’s got to count for something, right?”
“That’s right. Now let’s get out of here before your new girlfriend finds us and expects some compensation for her dollar.”