He hasn't heard a word I’ve said

April 29, 2018

My husband doesn't speak to me for much of the morning. He drinks coffee and pens the Washington Post crossword puzzle. It bothered me until I realized that he wasn't ignoring me on purpose.

For 30 years he commuted to work, and he had an hour in the car or train to think or read the paper. Likewise, I sorely miss my two full hours in the house before he came home.

I've touched on this topic in earlier columns. For better, for worse but not for lunch. Why do we both end up at the toaster at the same time? Can't he just disappear one evening so I don't hear the TV?

Lately, our routine is for me to ask him, what do you have on your schedule today? I share what my day looks like but realize that he hasn't heard a word I've said. He is startled when I get ready to leave the house at dinnertime.

"Remember, I have book club tonight, and we are having seafood and root."

Seafood and root is code for: Go to the refrigerator or freezer or pantry, and if you see food, root it out.

Retired people don't feel a need to talk as much. Which is maybe a good thing, because I don't know if he is growing hard of hearing or if I am. Our conversations are ridiculous.

He says, "I'm going to walk Gracie." Gracie is the name of our dog. I hear, "I'm going crazy."

I say, "Me too. I lost my new glasses."

He says, "I already bought our season passes."

I say, "What?"

He says, "Didn't you just ask me if I got our season passes?"

"What passes?" I ask. "You mean to Cape Henlopen State Park?"

He gets indignant. "I'm not walking her to the park. I'm just going around the block."

Hearing aids are in our future. One of us is eventually going to swallow our pride and get tested.

My father-in-law was hard of hearing too. The TV was turned up so loud that it seemed Deputy Fife came in looking for Andy.

Boy, did I love that show! Last week my husband and I, and our son and his family visited Mt. Airy, where Andy Griffith grew up. Floyd's Barber Shop is still there, and tourists take pictures of an actor pretending to cut hair. You can visit Barney's diner and eat Aunt Bea's biscuits.

My favorite part of the show was after supper when Andy would play the guitar on the front porch. I loved those nights when my father would play the guitar, and my sisters and I would sing along to "Don't Fence Me In."

Give me land. Lots of land and starry skies above. After being down south for a while, I have a longing for a campfire and to find me a good stick for roasting marshmallows.

My husband I don't need to talk. We can just look at the stars. I can fall asleep listening to the cicadas. "Wasn't it a glorious day," I say. He says, "Don't worry, honey. I can find my way."