My wife read me a gentle but firm riot act for arguing politics at a party tonight. I got the reading on the ride home. The Pasadena Freeway was a tangle on the oncoming side, three lanes funneling into one, lights stacked up the entire northbound length. We zipped along southbound, which would have been perfect but for the scolding sotto voce. Not that I didn’t have it coming. I apologized, made a joke, talked about the traffic. Ahem. That low grade shame, like getting caught chatting up somebody’s wife, pretending I hadn’t been, changing the subject. Man, look at all those cars going nowhere. Meaning we were going somewhere, moving, and ain’t that a good thing? She admitted it was a good thing. I imagined being stuck on the other side, going nowhere, and getting read the riot act. It wouldn’t have been so gentle then, not there in the middle of a freeway going nowhere. My ego would take a helluva beating, and I could say nothing, certainly not argue. There are times in a husband’s life that he knows not to argue, That would be one of them. I thought about that and sped along and sighed quietly in relief. We’d be home soon, and my behavior would be forgotten for the night. It’ll come up again. Wives always do that, bring up some ancient infraction just to prove some unrelated point. It works. A husband has no idea what to say then, blindsided by ancient memories of a political argument at a party, or hitting on some long forgotten somebody else’s wife. Which is why I never argue politics at a party.
Except for tonight. I certainly argued politics tonite. But let’s not start that again. I just found my way out of that paragraph.
I used to work with a very likeable Tea Party sort. I never argued politics, tho’ he would, solo. Fulminating like a fool over something or other. Once he began ranting about Cesar Chavez. I can’t remember why. He just really hated Cesar Chavez. Hated him so much he stomped up and down, hating him. Stomped and stomped. I looked up from my desk and said, simply, I used to work for Cesar Chavez. Which I did, actually. The effect was immediate. He stopped, mid-stomp, turned red and returned to his cubicle without uttering a sound. Last I heard about Cesar Chavez.
I didn’t stomp today. I bellowed, though. I was one of those. Ah well. Won’t happen again, I tell myself. My wife says sure, that’s it, just sure. Point taken.
p.s.: I was right though. Really, I was. Take my word for it.