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The Artistes much suffering domestic partner

I’ve just spent five minutes yelling at my husband.

It didn’t really start out that way. Of course, it never is supposed to end up that way. On my drive home from school, through rain that is supposed to turn into sleet which will then turn into forty two inches of snow, I thought about how I’m struggling with this life concept of being a writer and how some close friends have mentioned that I might be afraid of success (or whatever fruity new age psychobabble is on Dr. Phil this week) or how I think I just might be lazy. And I came up with a plan which involved getting Computer Room #2 finished, complete with a floor, and then setting up a desk, and demanding that Esteban either fix my printer or I will just buy myself a new one. And then I will go to the warehouse store and buy five hundred manila envelopes (preferably self-stick because I loathe licking envelope glue ever since I found out that it wasn’t vegan. Not that I’m vegan or even vegetarian, for that matter, but for some reason, knowing that the envelope stickum is, you know, meaty really bothers me.) and then print out a million labels containing my address and the address of no fewer than fifty carefully researched short story markets. And then I’d start sending out submissions, like a mail order business. And I’d have a bunch of postage all there and waiting. And maybe I’d get a postage scale. Yeah! I’d get a postage scale and presumably also learn how to use said postage scale. And it would be a lovely office and then there would be nothing stopping me from being the next Douglas Coupland or Jincy Willett or WHOMEVER.

But then, I decided that the real problem is that sometimes I just don’t have time to write. And when I do have time to write, I’m having guilt or distracted because there are other things I should be doing instead. The real problem is that I’m the wife. I’m the wife. That means that I have to remember which prescriptions need to be filled and I have to know which bills have been paid and which bills need to be paid and I have to call the lawn service to make sure that they aerate the lawn and I have to decide who is getting what for Christmas and send back the RSVPs for wedding invitations and keep the Netflix queue up to date and pick up the dry cleaning and bring in more dry cleaning and take the cat to the groomer (note to self: make appointment with groomer for the cat) and carry around a grocery store savings card and send in the renewal for our auto registrations so that we don’t get pulled by the police and then arrested and have to go to prison.

Because that would be my luck, as I am apparently catnip to lesbians but also stinkweed for cops.

So I decided that all of this mental baggage was bogging down my creativity. And isn’t it the way in every artistic relationship in the history of EVER that there is always the Artiste and The Other One? And the Other One pays the cable bill and makes sure that there is clean underwear and that the children don’t run off to become Cirque de Soleil acrobats so that the Artiste can go and do whatever it is that they do? And maybe that’s my problem. I’m the Artiste and also the grease that keeps both my and Esteban’s lives rolling along smoothly. No wonder I do not have a Pulitzer by now! I was too busy fishing one of Esteban’s discarded seltzer bottles from beneath the couch.

Excuse me for a second while I finish climbing up on this cross. Could you hand me that railroad spike and hammer? Thanks.

So I walked into the house, my brain busy with a million and twelve stories and novels that I could write if I didn’t have to be the perfect everything on top of being a writer. And then Esteban, bright and smiley and very supportive, greeted me with a huge smile and questions about how my day went. Then, sensing trouble in my furrowed brow, he asked me what was the matter. And then I said some words. They weren’t supposed to be bad words, but in essence, there was something about passports and how many rolls of toilet paper we had (‘But why would I care how many rolls of toilet paper we have? I’m not the one who uses it all the time.’ ‘That’s my point! I don’t wear your underwear’ ‘I should hope not!’ ‘Arrrgh!‘) and there was pointing out the window at the garbage sitting neatly at the curb (courtesy of moi, as Esteban is blissfully unaware of the circle of garbage, much like the circle of life, only without being an annoying Elton John song).

And while I wasn’t specifically trying to be an offensive tool, I now realize that in essence I said, ‘I need you to stop sucking, ok?’

Understandably, things escalated. Esteban took offense, I took further offense. Offense was passed back and forth like a hacky sack at a Phish concert. The more I tried to explain my points, the worse it got. At one point, I was actually bent over at the waist as though trying to blow my side of the argument through a large Alpine horn (Ricola!).

And honestly, I just want to stop being the only one who cares if we’re going to have a hotel room when we go to England or not. I want to stop being the planner. I want to be the person who just shows up. Then there was an aria of Doest Thou Not Know For What The Need Of Clean Laundry, followed by Esteban’s accusation that the Wendy Method of House Cleaning does not work (the method being that I do not enjoy spending an entire Saturday cleaning the house for ten hours straight and would rather clean in several shorter spurts throughout the week) and wanted to go back to having the ten hour PineSol Death March each and every weekend. To which we then culminated with a rousing chorus of ‘Fine.’ ‘Fine!’ ‘FINE!’ (which is really the best way to end any argument ever. I like the ying and yang. Is it a passive aggressive acquiescence? Is it the Italian word for ‘finished’? It’s two, two, two dysfunctions in one. Very succinct. I highly recommend it). Then I stomped into the computer room to work on my manuscript and he stomped off into the bedroom to go to bed.

Five minutes later, he wandered into the computer room, wearing only his boxer shorts, and said ‘Make a list of what you don’t want to do anymore and I’ll do it.’

Rule Number One for The Other One: Expect the Artiste to be an unmitigated asshole.

Later, I got over myself and decided to go to bed and apologize for being an ass. I wandered into the bedroom, expecting him to be either asleep or watching CSI on the Tivo, and when I got in there, the television was indeed on.

Martha Stewart was showing Esteban how to make holly leaves and berries out of felt.

I took one look and started laughing.

‘What?’ He said defensively.

‘Martha STEWART? You’re watching Martha STEWART?’ I said through hiccups of laughter.

‘Well’ if I’m going to be all artist-supporting, I’ve got to learn this stuff, right?’

That’s why Esteban’s got his own fan club. Right there.