Friday, November 4, 2011

Good wives, bad iPhones, signs of kitten activity and ends of eras.

This morning my daughter announced that she wanted to walk to the school bus stop alone. I said I needed to talk to my neighbor, Preetha so I wanted to walk up with her and my daughter rolled her eyes and said, "You could just call her."  Sigh. Fine.  So, I told her I'd sit on the front porch and watch her and she cheerfully said, "Bye, Mom!" and took off, only looking back once to give me a "Go inside already!" look.  I have to admit, watching her walk off alone like that kind of made me tear up a little.  I am so not ready to have my little buddy who's joined to me at my hip grow up.  Maybe I'll be ready when she's a teenager but right now I just want her to live with me forever and continue to just be her awesome self in my house and immersed in my life.

For a couple years now I've been bugging my husband that we should get smart phones or iPhones.  I would've gotten one by myself but I wanted us to get a family plan together.  He said he wanted to but he kept saying there were things he wanted to wait for - such as Verizon supporting iPhones, then new versions of the iPhone coming out, etc.  The catalyst was a month or so ago when we were carpooling downtown to work and we were parked on I-5 in the HOV lane of the express lanes. My husband said, "I wish I had a magical device that I could just pick up right here and check to see what is going on up ahead." And I said, "We're finally going to get iPhones, aren't we?"

We ordered the new iPhone 4s and they arrived day before yesterday so yesterday I tried to set mine up.  My husband got himself a black one and a white one for me.  Which is kind of weird cause who was the goth in her youth in this relationship? Anyway ... I got it set up and everything was working fine except if I called someone I could hear them just fine but they could not hear me.  And no the "mute" button was not pressed.  I spent way too much time trying to fix it myself and even called the phone tech support which was completely useless (the guy actually asked me after I explained the problem "Are you calling me on the device right now?" to which I said, "Um ... you couldn't hear me if I was ..."  I did not say "duh" cause I'm a grown-up but I felt like it).  It took about twenty minutes for him to go over a lot of stuff I'd already thought of like "Is the mute button pressed down?" "Is there a cover on it covering the microphone?" "Is it plugged in? Is it turned on? Are aliens coming out of your butt?" Finally after he walked me through (very slowly) how to reboot it, and I finally said, "Are you telling me how to reboot it because I already did that." He said,  "I can't help you, you need to take it in to the Apple store." Wow. What a waste of twenty minutes.  We took it in to the Apple store and they graciously replaced it with one that works saying that they'd found that is a common problem in these new iPhones.  Lesson learned - don't wait two years for the perfect iPhone because all technology has problems and waiting for technology that doesn't achieves only ... well ... waiting.

The kittens, now six months old, have become teenagers and are acting as such.  Nermal has developed a taste for bread so we have to make sure all bread products are in the pantry or else we'll come home to shredded plastic bags and crumbs and scraps of bread product all over the floor.  They also think that everything is their toy so the playroom and my daughter's room must have the doors shut at all times.  Despite that, I occassionally find one of my daughter's toys sitting next to the litter box or the cat food dish.  Not because she dropped it there but because the kittens play with them, then leave them there to use the litter box, eat, or drink water.  This morning there was a tiny ghost eraser in front of the litter box.

I've been thinking the last couple days about what it means to be a "good wife".  That phrase - at least in my world - holds some really negative conatations.  Unlike a "good husband" which seems to be a positive thing, a "good wife" is a bad thing, showing that a person is oppressed and unwilling to think for herself.   Kind of like I know so many people who think the word "God" symbolizes oppression.  In fact in my search for a new church I looked at a website for a local Unitarian church that assured visitors that they would not be forced to hear the word "God" at church.  I thought that was sad.  To treat people like they are such huge victims that they can't even use a common, easy, one-syllable word.  You may notice that I am really big on not "thinking like a victim" these days. Which is pissing some people off.  Especially where Occupy Wall Street is concerned.  My whole idea that the people (the 99%) need to become empowered and make our own change instead of wasting our time wishing the 1% in power would change has really been pissing people off.  But none of us can change anyone but ourselves and if we don't want 1% of the population to be in power we need to take that power back.  Just letting them stay in power and hoping they'll do good does nothing to change the skewed power dynamic, but supporters of Occupy Wall Street get so angry when I point that out and say they shouldn't have to do anything because it's not their fault and it's not fair.  Well, duh.  But life's not fair.  And those who abuse power are not going to stop abusing power until you take that power away from them.  But apparently, that concept is pissing off a lot of people and I just don't get it.

I've segued again.  So, for the last year or so I've been trying really hard to be a good wife.  And I am finding that I am much happier and I think my husband is a bit happier.  It only seems fair because he tries hard to be a good husband.  But if I say that sentence "I've been focusing on being a good wife" to a large majority of my friends I get this look like "Have you given up on your own needs? Have you given up all that women have fought for?"  No, let me rephrase it so it sounds better.  "I'm working very hard on being the best friend I can be to my husband." There - that sounds better, doesn't it? When did "wife" become a bad word? It was probably hundreds of years when the women whose husbands abused their power began to speak up.  I think it's time to take back the word "wife" and have it mean what it's supposed to mean - a loving, supportive partner just like the word "husband" means.

It's been hard to crawl out of lifetime of being told that being a "good wife" is bad to get to the point where I can be one though.  When I was much younger I was a doormat and would let guys treat me horribly because I felt like I deserved it.  Then I flipped things around and expected guys to be, basically, my perfect servant with no negative feelings and no human failings.  Now I'm just trying to be a supportive partner.  It's weird to grow up and see some of my past demanding failures as a spouse and realize that I am not "owed" anything from men anymore than they are owed anything from me.  But that is part of empowerment.  If I am empowered and strong in myself my husband does not have to be the perfect, politically correct, non-oppressor.  He can have bad days and be snappy and ignore me because he's busy just like I do to him sometimes.  It can be an equal partnership of two people are just trying to do their best instead of me (the woman) demanding the man meet all my needs and be perfect.  I've been thinking a lot about this the last couple weeks because I have a friend in an abusive marriage who won't leave for some reason.  Every time she thinks about it she seems to flip back to feeling sorry for her husband and blaming herself and making excuses for him.  That is the situation a lot of people think of when they think of as a "good wife" but that is actually an "abused wife" which is totally different.  And it hasn't made her husband think she's a good wife because he just seems to get meaner and meaner.  So, I'm thinking that the phrase "good wife" needs to have a resurgence to mean someone who is a supportive partner to her spouse and thinks of her spouse's needs as much as her own.  And that's what I'm aspiring too and it seems to be working well.  My husband may say differently of course but of course it's a big learning curve for me not to be all defensive and "looking out for me" all the time.

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