One night as Dirtman made one of his usual after-midnight attempts to surreptitiously slip into bed by turning on all the lights, clomping his size 11 Crocs into the corner, tossing and punching pillows into some perfect configuration, ordering the dog off the bed (and, apparently, other dogs on beds several miles away), tossing the cat to a less central location and asking me sweetly, “Did I wake you?” I informed him that one of our puppies had killed the Coen brothers’ raccoon.
“Hokie or Abby?” he asked. He didn’t miss a beat.
“I don’t think that’s their names.”
“No. The Coen brothers.” At the time, it seemed of the utmost importance that I relay this information to him, that he understand that Abby had just thought she was playing with the raccoon when I suddenly realized the its bushy ringed tail was no longer swishing back and forth.
Within 30 seconds, though, I realized I had been dreaming; and not even a profound and revealing dream that would give me an air of depth and mystery. I tend to dream about my dogs a lot, as befitting a proper Dog Person. Where the Coen brothers come in is anybody’s guess, but it must have had something to do with the fact that my brother had just informed me that, impressed with No Country For Old Men, he had bought on Ebay one of the actors’ shirts worn in the film; that, and the fact that the Coen Brothers never made a movie my family didn’t commit to memory and quote ad nauseum. But I wouldn’t recognize a Coen brother if, say, my dog were to tear up his raccoon.
Conversations such as the aforementioned are quite common around here since I’m a Day Person married to a Night Person.
In our younger years, this was never a problem. Dirtman’s job forced him into a 9 to 5 routine that limited his nighttime excesses to weekends and vacation time. But when we started our own business, his schedule took on a decidedly afternoon/evening slant.
Still, for the most part, this is no problem. Except when one person is sleeping, for instance a person who has to be up in the morning for things like doctors’ appointments and school functions and all the things that have to be done during daylight hours if they are to be done at all; and the other person isn’t, for instance the person who has figured out that by working at night, he only has his own agenda to focus on and doesn’t have to share in the day-to-day drudgery because the person meting out the drudgery is asleep. Then it becomes a problem on oh, so many levels.
For instance, there are the times Dirtman has walked into my office, dressed to the nines (meaning, he’s wearing socks) and says, “Aren’t you ready yet?”
“Ready for what?” I ask, peering through my hair, limp in front of my eyes because I figured that morning I could get away with letting it just air-dry because there was no chance I was going anywhere that day.
“You know – that Thing I told you we had to go to.”
“I know nothing about going to A Thing. When did you tell me this?”
“The other night. Oh, you remember: I got into bed and you said something about Richard Nixon taking your umbrella at Camden Yards and you were afraid the Secret Service was going to think you made him do it on purpose. That was when I told you about The Thing.
I only vaguely remember Nixon and the umbrella; nothing about The Thing, which means I fell back to sleep which most people do at 3 a.m.
Or, we’ll be at A Thing and Dirtman will drag me into a corner. “I told you not to mention anything about the Mellmans. Then you go right up to Stella and start talking about chicken livers.”
The Mellmans? Chicken livers? I still haven’t made the connection or met a Mellman (Stella apparently being an unwitting third party to the entire Mellman chicken liver saga); but, according to Dirtman, he’d explained the whole situation one morning at 4 a.m. after assuring me that fruit bats had not taken over the Virginia General Assembly (at least not the Senate).
A lot gets by in the wee hours of the morning.
“See ya, Mom! I’m heading for that concert in downtown D.C.!” Heir 2 rattles off on his way out the door.
“Hold it! What concert? Downtown D.C.? No.”
“Dad said you said it was okay.”
“No. No. No.”
“He said if you said that to remind you about the Pez dispenser with Angelina Jolie’s head.”
“Oh.” A dim light comes on in my brain. It makes me shudder – and not just because I’d somehow agreed to allow my 17-year-old to navigate the most confusing city streets in the country during the most dangerous time of the day.
This last incident led me to decree that any decision made between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. had to be verified by me during daylight hours. It’s also led me to believe that perhaps a little therapy wouldn’t hurt.