The English Husband and I have spent an entire year apart, the result of living in two different countries. I wanted to move to the United States, he stayed in London. I returned to the UK in July and found that my husband had adopted some curious habits.
Habit no. 1: I discover this one as soon as I open the microwave. It was like the moment I stepped off the plane in India – it’s the odor of the country that hits you first. This odor was most definitely curry, stale curry to be precise. I also found congealed, unidentifiable food stuck/melted onto the microwave walls. You don’t have to be Hercule Poirot to deduce that he has been microwaving ethnic food more than a couple of times a week.
Habit no. 2: He’s acquired a lot of men’s toiletries and lined them up neatly in the bathroom. Now, I’ll be honest here, I’d rather a vain man than one who walks around like he is still hunting and gathering food in 50 BC, a time when deodorant was still several thousand years off. But he had left very little room for my toiletries, which weigh about the same as a one-year-old baby. I wondered, ‘Is he staking this bathroom out as his own and leaving me to share the other bathroom with the kids?’
Habit no. 3: He’s thrown a lot of kitchen stuff away. When I question him about the missing lemon squeezer and muffin tray, for instance, he acts like I am speaking Mandarin. The implication is all too obvious: he hasn’t used any kitchen stuff and has probably thrown some of it out without bothering to ask me whether I might need it.
Habit no. 4: He’s thrown a lot of my stuff away. My handbags are gone. This is really like no. 3, but even more annoying. Sometime in the move from one place to another to another, my handbag collection has dwindled. ‘Where are they?’ I ask several times, trying to control the note of desperation. Well, it’s like asking the Pope if he prefers GQ or Playboy. I only get a blank look. Yes, it’s the deer-in-the-headlights look. I sense I’m getting nowhere.
Habit no. 5: There are some bizarre shows recorded on the television. I’m hazy on the exact titles, but this is a close approximation: The World’s Craziest Police Chases, Traffic Cops, The World’s Worst Car Crashes, The World’s Worst Prisons, Russell Brand Live, Peter Kay Live and Nothing To Declare (Australia version). He tries to persuade me that I will enjoy some of this, but I’d rather be staring at my emails on the laptop, which is what I usually do.
So, last night we have a battle about the television once again. Now that the Olympics are over, we are at a loss. We both feel bereft. He wants to watch Breaking Bad, season 4. I’ve yet to watch the third episode of season 1. ‘I’ll catch you up,’ he says. ‘It’s really not that difficult to follow.’ It’s like he’s doing me a favor.
We end up watching a few episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We are tourists in the TV equivalent of Switzerland, neutral territory.
The reality is that I desperately want to watch The Killing, an internationally acclaimed Danish series that first premiered in 2007. I’ve been wanting to watch it for years. There are quite a few things I’ve been wanting to do for years.
I seize my chance – the English Husband was out tonight. Yes! I have the whole sofa to myself. I can gulp wine without getting the ‘you’re not having another glass’ look. Should I be this happy about spending the night alone? If I’m to watch the whole series of The Killing – all 20 episodes – I’d need him to be out for the next three weeks consecutively.
It will never happen. I wonder if I can strike a deal: he gets to watch Breaking Bad while I watch The Killing. If only we weren’t so damn European and had two television sets, like a normal American household. (The average is actually three in the US, as I discovered while writing this post.) We’re in the television Dark Ages around here. At least, though, the English Husband doesn’t smell like he’s living in Medieval times.