Point of View: Done, Yet Not Finished

When takers are called on things by givers, all sorts of justifications dance in their heads

I had been asked to make O’en’s dinner and had not — at least by the appointed time — and heard about it, concluding that it had not just been the dog’s dinner, but the last 32 years.

When takers are called on things by givers, all sorts of justifications dance in their heads. I react to criticism about the same way I do to an opponent’s volley at the net — I smash it right back. I can do “put-upon” quite well, though I am no innocent, as Mary well knows. It was only one thing she’d asked me to do, on her sole workday, and I had dropped the ball. (Actually, I’d been hitting quite a few of them earlier that afternoon at East Hampton Indoor, which contributed to my tardiness.)

Oddly, we’d been talking lately about couples who somehow carry on once love’s blaze has died down, living separately in the same house, and have agreed that neither of us could or would do it. Yet there we were, estranged for a day or two, in lovers’ limbo. 

Once we were able, we talked of a column I’d written long ago in which I compared love to a carburetor (you remember them?) inasmuch as adjustments every now and then had to be made. 

Ironic that I, who had been heedless, wrote recently that we should all pay attention. 

Fearing that her adjustment might be to wash me out of her hair and send me on my way — thus rendering me twice shed maritally — I set about spring-cleaning labors of Herculean proportions. 

Six or so trips to the dump later I was done; and although I was done, I was — judging by her look and how it felt then between us — not finished, I’m happy to say.