“Lovey!” Fuzzy called in his panicked tone, as he entered the house last night. (It should be noted, however that Fuzzy, aka Stoic!Boy, is a midwesterner, and therefore his panicked tone is only fractionally different from his normal voice.) “Lovey, we need to talk about the car.”
This is not the way to begin a conversation, especially when your wife is a self-identifying Californian with strident Italian relatives, and a history of summering with them at the Jersey shore. (Translation: there is no way in hell I could ever be called Stoic!Gal.)
“What’s wrong?” I asked, my mind rapidly flipping through options. Did we need to find a truck accident lawyer because my generally mild husband finally lost it and attacked the driver of one of the ubiquitous monster-SUVs that block the sun from half our neighborhood. Or worse, had he hit an animal?
“We need to get the tires done, like now. I noticed one has visible steel.”
I refrained from pointing out that car maintenance falls into his purvey. I pay the bills, I do the cooking, and I deal with most home repairs, but the car is his job.
“Okay,” I said. “I thought you’d asked for a quote on new tires a few weeks ago.”
“Well, they never called me back.”
I gave him the sort of death glare that is so often used between committed partners. The one that clearly means, “And you aren’t capable of picking up the phone to follow up???” (The multiple question marks are obligatory.)
“I guess I should call them tomorrow morning,” he said after an excruciatingly long pause in which I practiced the technique I learned when still in mortgages of not talking first once a deal has been offered because the person who speaks first loses.
“Yes,” I said, “I think that would be a good idea, Sweety.”
Approximately seventeen hours later, the car was sporting new tires.