I'm waiting in the car, windows down, hoping for a cooling breeze. I hadn't expected to be sitting here this long. Terry said she was ready to walk out the door. That was 10 minutes ago.
I fiddle with the radio. I contemplate honking the horn. Two more minutes pass.
It occurs to me that I may have done it again. The definition of a married couple is two people separated by a common language.
What were her exact words again?
Let's see, we planned a run into town to buy pants for me. I was waiting in my easy chair while Terry picked up my breakfast dishes, put away laundry, mowed the lawn and other such useless tasks.
Finally, in exasperation, I tossed down my ''Calvin and Hobbes'' comic strip compilation. ''Are you ready yet?''
''I'm getting ready to go right now.''
Those were her exact words. So I slipped on my shoes and walked out the door.
Fifteen minutes ago now.
Spouses use the same words but different dictionaries.
I searched through my mental male-to-female translation dictionary. Getting ready, getting ready ... ah, here it is:
''To select clothes. To take a shower. To remember the floors need to be vacuumed. To dress. To remember thank you notes that need to be written as long as you'll be passing the post office. To change clothes. Fix hair. Change shoes. Check the newspapers for coupons. Call sister about sales. Brush teeth. Head for door. Remember dishes. Walk out door. Remember purse. Walk out door again. Get in car. Remember one more thing. Try to open car door as husband is whipping out driveway. Go.''
Thirty-two minutes. I consider going inside to see if there's any way to I can be helpful. I honk the horn instead.
The door opens. Terry gets into the car. ''OK, I'm ready to go.''
''You said that before.''
''No, I clearly stated I'm GETTING ready to go, not that I WAS ready.''
She shook her head. ''Completely different. Did I remember to... ''
''Yes. Close the door.''
What seems like days later, I pull into the mall. Terry smiles up at me as we walk into a store. ''It's so nice to be able to spend the day with you.''
I gaze at the racks, yank a pair of pants off a hanger and head to checkout.
Terry races after me, five or six other pairs of pants in her hands. ''Wait. Aren't you going to try these on?''
''Why? The tag says it fits.'' I hand the clerk the debit card.
''But it's only our first store. I thought we were going shopping.''
''We just did.'' The clerk bags the pants and passes them over. ''Now we're done.''
''Buying something is not shopping.''
I head to the parking lot. ''No, it's not.''
From somewhere behind me, I hear an exasperated voice that sounds very much like my wife's: ''Same language, different dictionary.''
---- Speak the language at firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to him at the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.