Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Grouser and the House Diva

The archetypal diva...
The other day I announced to Seth, in a tone that even I secretly noticed was annoying, “We are going to watch a movie tonight!” 

Seth genuinely shocked me with his response, “Well, maybe I don’t want to watch a movie!”

What??? Who wouldn’t want to watch a movie? 

But, most importantly, was he defying me?

It appears that yes, in fact, he was. Not to mention that I think I heard him call me Atilla at some point in the fracas that ensued. 

Taking stock of my surprise at Seth’s attempted (we did watch a movie) rebellion, I conjured a mental montage of our marriage over the last several years and arrived at the conclusion that I might actually be just a tad bossy.The delicate angel on my right shoulder immediately suggested that marriage is a democracy, that I should soften my edges…that I should remember what happens to big-mouthed women. 

...and an actual grouse. You will
note that it looks angry.

The more robust devil on the left, however, was defensive, reminding me that big-mouthed women become secretary of state and get talk shows. Although the Hillary reference threw me, I whisked the petite angel off with a snap of the wrist and asked the busty one if she wanted a Diet Coke.

Over the next few days, while this situation was still on my mind, I sat beside Seth as we watched the news. As is his habit, he talked throughout the entire program--finding fault with our government, foreign governments, public leaders, the commercials, the anchor’s neck tie, the girl scouts and little baby bunnies. I turned to him and said, “You know what? I’d rather be bossy than a grouser.” This caused a lot more grousing and another discussion (or was that an argument since there was yelling?) of our various personality disorders patterns.

We agreed that we, like many couples, have some definitive roles--- I am the “House Diva” and Seth is “The Grouser.” 

This situation, of course, has guidelines…..

Maria Callas....a true diva.
The House Diva has an important role.

She is in charge of maintaining and enforcing the social calendar. The Grouser then bitches about her choices. The Diva decides whether to mulch again this spring and the Grouser rails against it. She suggests a drive to Ikea to investigate under-cabinet lighting and the Grouser carries on all the way there, later questioning the order of the universe as he eats his plate of Swedish meatballs with lingonberries.

The House Diva keeps the house humming. She checks the date on the sour cream and makes sure the Grouser has clean socks. The Grouser appreciates some of the House Diva’s ministrations yet grouses about things over which the Diva has no control. This might include mudslides in California (“Why the hell does anyone build a house on a cliff??), climate change (It’s solar activity, dammit!!) and why, if he is so darn smart, can’t Stephen Hawking be propped up more comfortably in his wheel chair?! The House Diva, though irritated by all this, usually allows it so the Grouser does not, literally, explode.

And, a Cleavage Diva.
The House Diva and the Grouser do have a few things in common. They both lose their phones and car keys constantly and enjoy pizza. The House Diva rants when her keys go missing but the Grouser blames society. The Diva chooses the pizzeria and toppings and the Grouser carries on about the lack of fountain root beer -- "I don't want it in a can.Waaaahhhhh!" -- and is furious that the levels of oregano in the shaker on the table are getting low.

These two also agree on certain television shows but the Diva will fast forward during the more boring vocalists on The Voice while the Grouser complains about song choices, Pharrell’s weird jewelry and the most recent incarnation of Adam Levine’s hair.

"You say diva like it's a bad thing...."
Occasionally, roles can be reversed. The Grouser can be a diva, too. In fact, Seth is the Travel Diva, forcing us to arrive at airports seventeen hours before our flight causing the House Diva to grouse bitterly about driving in the dark, short term vs. long term parking and (quietly) about how the pilot appears drunk. The Travel Diva will then join in the grousing so you’ll note that roles can overlap.

Both The House Diva and The Grouser agree on this point: this is marriage. There must be tyrants and complainers to make it all work. And you damn well better agree with that.