As a wife, I never tire of being right. When my husband to be met my Dad, Dad told him, “Even when she’s wrong, she’s right.” Now that might just appear to be sage advice on how to keep the peace in a marriage, but my father was wise beyond that. He’d learned the painful lesson. Without ever, in my memory, admitting he was wrong about something, he knew my mother was always more apt to remember the details of this or that, and arguing generally proved to be futile. Not that he was a pushover! He chose his battles well.
I have begun to realize that I have forgotten so much about my life. Recently, an almost-cousin of mine recalled a time in Florida about 27 years ago when, miraculously, all of us were visiting. His parents lived down the street from mine. They had air mattresses strewn all over the house to accommodate the overflow. We were with my folks. The timing seems right; my son would have been about 6 months old; my husband would have been celebrating his 40th birthday; all the older generation was alive then so we would have been at no loss for eager grandparents to babysit; I loved Japanese food and would have jumped at the chance to suck down sushi and sake in a tatami room with all my cousins. He had all the details!.... I don’t remember a thing. “Did you take any pictures,” I asked, needing proof.
Once upon a time I briefly dated a guy with a hit song. I couldn’t remember his name! I knew the song but… Bobby something. Bobby Thompson? Noooo… Then Billy Joel sang the song and credited the singer and I texted my husband, “That’s IT!” with joy and relief that I could stop obsessing on this memory lapse.
So, while major and minor chunks of my life have disappeared, I discover I still have a remarkable gift for minutiae. I remember phone numbers, although speed dialing is messing with that skill. If I drive someplace once, I can generally find it again without help. On a recent trip to Kings Park, L.I., the GPS on Waze told us to get off at Exit 44 South. That bothered me. I made my husband check Google Maps. As is his wont, he had refused to use my car’s GPS or even MY phone, which I could have connected to with Bluetooth, permitting me to SEE the damned map as I drove, so I was totally reliant on his verbal directions. Now, my husband can get lost mowing the lawn. We refer to him as “Geographically Challenged” so trusting him to get us there was an issue. Anyway, he reluctantly agreed to check Google Maps, which, with one or two minor exceptions, agreed with Waze. “That’s wrong,” I said, the warning bell ringing loudly in my head. He was getting agitated. “Both GPSes say the same thing,” he countered. “Well, unless they MOVED Kings Park, there is NO WAY WE GO SOUTH!” I made him call our friends who were waiting for us with a burning dinner. Sure enough, we had to continue to Exit 53 and go North. The smugness washed over me like an electric blanket. I never tire of being right.
Our call time for work today: 4:23 or 4:53? I’m right; he’s wrong.
Legends Dinner last Monday: 5:30 or 7:00? I’m right; he’s wrong.
Years ago, there was a ‘discussion over dinner with my birth-father when he came back into my life. He insisted that Ditmars Boulevard was in Brooklyn and Ditmas Avenue was in Queens. I KNEW he was wrong. I lived near Ditmas Avenue and I lived in Brooklyn! But there was no changing his mind. This was before Google. Before computers! The restaurant didn’t have a map! I couldn’t prove it on the spot! I was fit to be tied! How could he cling to this error?
The Ah Ha moment: Maybe this is why my parents divorced!
Postscript: My Dad did once admit he was wrong. He apologized to me for the way the transition to becoming his daughter was handled. He was the best Dad a girl could want and he probably saved me years of arguments, but still, with all the love I felt, I couldn’t escape the harm these acts had caused and couldn’t stop myself from expressing them. Others wanted me to ‘just forget it’. He alone acknowledged that I was right: it had been mishandled. And this was the one instance where I wished I had been wrong.