Peace offerings January 19, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
…make you fat.
The Russian and I spend about 99% of the time with one argument or another on the go. As with any couple that has been together for more than about twelve seconds, it is likely to be a matter of grave importance, such as, “WHAT? You finished the milk? Oh my god. How could you? You wanker! We MUST divorce. Today. That’s worse than infidelity, you secretly being a woman and you having a family I didn’t know about in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskij/Polperro,” that sets off an ongoing, almost permanent quarrel which then only normally passes when we are forced to behave at some social occasion together and we forget about the milk until the next milk-saga about, say, twelve minutes later. And so on and on.
We’re quite good at the quarreling. We’ve got quarrel etiquette down to a t. There’s quite a lot of silence. Quite a lot of doing things separately. Quite a lot of being in separate rooms. Quite a lot of not passing on vital everyday news. If the silent treatment lasts especially long, it can be exhausting updating the Russian on new news and being updated by him on his. “Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you my sister had twins and they’ve grown up and gone to university and graduated and one’s become a drag-queen and the other’s the president of Botswana.” Such oversights! Or, “By ze vay, I forgot to say, my braazer buy Gazprom for 20 roubles and now own Siberia.” You just never know.
Anyway, so when the quarrel is still fresh, and I am still seething at not being able to have my Weetabix or the Russian can’t heat one drop of milk for his coffee – I remind him (we have one of those depressing electric hobs that always remind me of documentaries about neglected, snot-encrusted children) it would probably be cheaper to fly to Paris to have his coffee every morning – we know that we’ll get a good few days of peace and quiet. I can get on with blogging and pretending to work knowing I’ll hardly be interrupted. He can get on with whatever unseemly things it is he gets up to: money-laundering and hiring contract-killers to liquidate his brother’s enemies, I shouldn’t wonder.
Then comes phase II, when after, say, a week, we can begin to calm down from our admittedly righteous anger at the milk-incident and are probably quite keen on a hint of the other. Thank heavens for hormones. We are willing to spend more than fifteen seconds in the same room. May exchange the odd pleasantry over the dinner-table. Might accidentally, in a moment combining moral weakness and forgetfulness, touch the other with something bordering affection before remembering the slight and returning to our separate lives.
But phase III is the most fatal. This may involve hardly seeing each other at all for, ooh, months on end, but we’re both beginning to feel a little bit silly, can’t even remember which milk-incident it was that set the snowball rolling and probably need each other for practical purposes. I may need a letter written to the medical insurance company – incapable of writing a literate sentence in German still – or the Russian will want my advice on which fantasy holiday to most concretely fantasise about. So we get into serious peace-making mode.
We know a good quarrel is reaching its apogee when the croissants start appearing. To start with, when the dairy-anger has not yet quite ebbed, the croissants will be plain. Butter croissants, as they are called here. No filling. Either of us will wander into the kitchen and find the paper bag from the bakery lying fully, promisingly and calorie-ladenly on the table. “Oh good, it’s almost over,” we can think (if I may think on behalf of the Russian). “Might even have some jiggy-jiggy before the year’s out.” But far from thinking a bad peace is better than a good war, or whatever that expression is, we wring the quarrel dry for every last drop of valued conflict. Having tried and failed with the butter croissants, we will move onto cream-cheese ones. From there to ham-and-cheese. Until we finally hit the obesity peak with the lard-and-chocolate variety.
We make-up-make-up-never-do-it-again, perhaps over booze and at someone else’s house, and wobblily enjoy the quick-as-lightning good times. Just like, I imagine, at least 99% of all other couples who’ve been together for more than twelve seconds. Single folk, plan your next steps carefully.