“Well, that was dramatic,” I say to my wife.
If you're anything like I am, you want to know why I said that. You also want to know whether or not it was warranted. Correct? I want to know the same thing. May we scrutinize it together?
It was a response, as you might have imagined. A response to her response. I believe that's technically a counter-response. And what was her response to which I returned the counter-response? It was not so much spoken as it was expressed. I'd call it an eruption of emotion. An outburst, to use one word.
It was an outburst. A hmph! and fierce gesticulation, and a great deal of door-flinging.
And what came before her response, followed by my response (or counter-response)? What was the.. catalyst? That's the right word, correct?
The catalyst was my saying that I "like" work. That was all I said, that I like work. A positive statement, if you ask me. Benign, at least, correct? People generally respond well to benign statements. Do they not? Either my wife is not most people, or she misinterpreted what I said. She tells me there is no such thing as a misinterpretation, but I hold that idea to be false. I don't believe in interpretations. There is a way things are, I always say. And there is, correct?
But, let me pause for a moment. I should give you the entire conversation to be fair. That is, the entire conversation that ended with, “Well, that was dramatic.” It's best to have the whole picture. It's necessary, actually, if you're to make any logical judgments here.
The conversation started as soon as I walked in the door. Ignoring me was the first thing she said. I wouldn't have made this type of inference years ago. I am not a mind-reader, and I used to tell her that. I am not a mind-reader, and I do not interpret silences.
"Hello," I said. I kissed her on the cheek. That is what I regularly do at arriving home. I tend to follow routines, and I find it works well for me in most areas of my life. Almost all areas.
"Hi," she said. She was washing a pan and didn't look up when she spoke. That's the third thing she said if I were to gather her clues. I try not to.
"How was your day?"
"Fine. How was yours?"
She made an odd giggling sound. It wasn't laughter, exactly. What I mean to say is, she wasn't happy. Laughter does have to be happy, correct?
"Is everything okay?"
I let a few moments pass. I took off my jacket and hat and walked over to the rack by the door. It seems this kind of nonchalance bothered her.
"I feel like you guys aren't even busy, you just like work." She was washing the same pan, still not looking.
"I do like work," I said.
Now is when she grew incredibly mad. I do not understand her. I try not to, but I cannot always help it. I think that is why I made her my wife.
I like to solve problems. Well, I'll not call them problems. They are puzzles. That is what I do for work. I solve puzzles, make sense of things, mostly with numbers. And then I come home to more problems. Well, I'll not call them problems. I wouldn't even call them puzzles. They are disagreements. No. They are differences. Yes. That's more accurate.
She calls them problems. She tells me I ought to call them problems, too. It's her opinion that getting upset proves I care. She argues that, if I don't get upset during a dispute, and if I don't call disputes problems, I do not care.
I disagree. If I get upset, I am merely upset, likely at something she said or did. That's sensible, correct? She tries to explain her point again. I try not to understand.
I think we have had the same arguments over and again. That time, about what word to call our disagreements. Other times, whether there is such thing as misinterpretation. This last time, about the fact that I said I like work. The topics are irrelevant, inconsequential. Trivial, to use one word.
It's not about the topics, although it seems to be. It's that we are not of the same mind, hence why I said, "Well, that was dramatic."
We are back to the original question. Why did I say that? The answer is quite simple: because it (her outburst) was dramatic. At least to me, it was. To her, it was just in proportion to the offense. But no, that is an interpretation, correct? I try not to understand.