Good vs EVL

I yell too much. I know this because my husband laughs whenever I raise my voice.  He’s completely desensitized. Anything and nothing can set me off—him wearing a shirt with a hole in it; the way he brushes his teeth (WRONG); him eating my ice cream after I told him he could eat my ice cream but he waited so long that I just assumed he never ate it. I think there’s ice cream, and when I find the carton empty three weeks later I lose my shit.

The frustration is real, but sometimes I wonder if I’m also doing it for comedic effect at this point. Like a kid who drops the F-bomb to riotous laughter. She looks around, pleased that she got such a wildly positive reaction from all these adults. She says F*CK again and again until faces and words get stern, and finally she’s sent to bed without ice cream. That’s me. Except my husband keeps laughing. So I keep yelling.

There are times when I’m really mad, but he doesn’t always know that right away. So I have developed a tell. Instead of saying “I-DON’T-KNOW-WHY-I’M-YELLING-YOU-DIDN’T-DO-ANYTHING-WRONG,” I say, “I’M-SERIOUSLY-PISSED-AT-YOU-THIS-TIME!” Sometimes that doesn’t even work.

Like the time last year when he seriously pissed me off. His infraction? Replacing my car’s license plates.

Sounds silly, but let me tell you about my relationship with license plates. My first car was a pristine emerald-green Buick Rivera. It had a moon roof and a tape deck. It had only 40,000 miles on it because it belonged to an old person before my parents gave it to me. It fit six of my friends. Another amazing feature— the first three letters of the license plate read NJA. We called it the “Ninja.”

I’ve had many cars since the Ninja, all appreciated, but none as well-loved. None that I named.

Until I purchased my first car on my own (way later in life than a normal person, but that’s another story). When my plates came in the mail, I squealed and spun around the room while hugging them to my chest. The first three letters were EVL for “evil.” My car was Evil.

I met my husband after I got that car and those plates. At some point, I mentioned to him that my car was Evil. I figured that like me, he thought that was awesome.

He’s a great husband. He renews my plates for me so I have one less thing to worry about. But last year, he casually mentioned that he got me new plates. As in new letters and numbers. “It was five dollars,” he said. “So now you don’t have to go around with a sign declaring you’re an evil person.”

I didn’t believe him. It took him a while to convince me he wasn’t joking. My heart plunged when I realized it was real. He didn’t know me at all. “You might as well have just cheated on me!” I said. He cracked up, as usual. It took me a while to convince him my rage was real. He couldn’t understand why I would want to ride around in a motorized negative affirmation.

I had to think about it, too. Do I think I’m a bad person? Even worse—Do I revel in it? Here’s what I came up with: No. My love of those plates has to do with my love of stories. I love characters that are real and flawed. My favorite stories are those in which the authors compel me to root for the villain (I’m trying really hard not to mention Breaking Bad right now.)

When I explained this to my husband, he seemed to understand. He told me he was sorry.

But that wasn’t enough for me. He had to fix it. I needed those letters. Like an immature teenager, I had tied my identity to something outside of me.

He went through bureaucratic hell to reverse the damage. He spent hours on the phone on hold with the DMV. He got up before dawn and waited in line. This went on for weeks. It was a dark time for him.

I should have felt bad. Who wants to see their spouse suffer like that?

Me. I secretly relished the punishment he had to endure for his grave offense of not intuiting my innermost erratic thoughts.

So maybe my theory about stories was wrong after all. Maybe I really am EVL. Whatever the case, I still have my awesome plates.


The Novel Wait for the Light by Erin Adams available on Amazon

Comments

Aline said…
To the real Erin this time! You are EVL and we love you for it. Thanks for the laughs!
Erin Adams said…
Hahaha! Thanks for loving me as I am, Aline :)

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