The Grump, or: Why I Don’t Need You to Find Me a MAY-UN


Minnesota_State_Capitol_Woodworkers_Toolbox_Historical_Society

 

This is kind of long because I feel it necessary to illustrate fully the character of the titular subject.

I mentioned one of my fellow bus riders, Carol, in the ghost post. Carol’s been married to her husband since the dawn of time. It’s not always rosy between them, in fact for awhile they seemed to be going through a bit of a rough patch judging by Carol’s demeanor at the bus stop in the morning. She vaguely alluded to the fact that I was single and sometimes she wished she was (she was pretty cranky that day). I really think she was angry enough at him during those days that, had she had the means, she would have left him.

It was a long time before I met her spouse – let’s see, what shall we call him? Let’s call him The Grump – and honestly, the woman is a saint for living with him all these years.  She’s even told me that none of their neighbors like him and avoid being outside if he’s home and outside anywhere.

Back when I first met her, Carol was driving a car borrowed from a family member. The Grump was driving a spiffy new rig (“rig” of course being redneck-speak for a pickup truck) they had bought all shiny and new not long before. Well, eventually the day came when The Grump lost his job, and that of course led to them losing the truck. Not long after, the family member whose car Carol had been driving needed their car back. So they were down to an old Ford Explorer that needs some TLC from a mechanic. With The Grump out of work, he had the use of the Explorer all day, and was driving Carol to the bus stop most days. Many days he’d just take her all the way to work. I think it was an excuse for him to get out of the house. Despite The Grump’s lack of employment, and Carol having no wheels to get herself around, The Grump spends HUNDREDS of dollars a month on all kinds of crap (just the other day it was a box of assorted wood for I’m not sure what that he had picked up at some garage or estate sale), not to mention all the gas driving around and up to Seattle for a “Tool Club”. It’s a group of old geezers who like to buy and sell antique tools. Was ever a club more aptly named?

The Grump is a member, and Carol has to go along and collect the dues and spend the day wherever the meeting is because The Grump “likes to spend time with her.” So she sits and reads a book most of the day while he’s off looking at items with the other grouchy old goats.

And they just laid out a fortune for new brakes on the Explorer, when it was discovered they were down to metal-on-metal. Carol wasn’t sure how they were going to buy food after that, but by god, The Grump is always out buying more crap at garage or ‘estate’ sales.

Since The Grump has been working a little lately and interviewing for jobs (and therefore of course he gets the car), Carol has had no way to get to the bus stop, so I’ve been picking her up in the morning and driving her to the park-n-ride where we catch the bus, then taking her home again in the afternoon from the park-n-ride. She doesn’t live far so it’s no problem. She and The Grump have often given me rides home from work to avoid having to take the bus on days when The Grump comes to give Carol a ride. This all sounds great, except then I’m subjected to country music in their car, and having to listen to The Grump regale me with his tales of accidents and run-ins with the police and his opinions on everything. If it costs the public any money, he’s against it. Laws seem to exist only to suck money out of people and be a hindrance to life. He beat up a bus driver once who’d hit his car, but of course The Grump was held at fault for ‘violating the civil rights’ of the driver (who evidently was black). He can tell you that seat belts cost as many lives as they save. He can tell you of the corruption of the police, and city building code scams designed to suck money out of honest citizens.

So you see why I call him The Grump.

Anyway, I ended up getting a ride home with them a couple of days ago. I was being quiet as I normally am in their car while The Grump holds forth on his grouchy tale of the day, when suddenly the conversation turned to a  member of their tool  club. As Carol tells it, this tool club guy is super-polite (a foreign concept to most of these old buzzards, it seems) and all the wives of the men in this club are trying to hook him up with their young daughters. The Grump says they rib him about being “A-mish” because he’s so nice. So then he suggests I need to meet this guy.

“Why?” sez I.

“So you can get free membership in the club,” sez Carol.

“Why do I want to join this club?” I ask.

She laughs and shakes her head. “You don’t.”

Damn straight, I’m thinking.

That was the end of the conversation but this made me realize they must have been talking amongst themselves, deciding I need a MAY-UN in my life (because really, who doesn’t want to be miserable and make excuses for a foul spouse?) and thought up this little scheme to match-make me and Mr.  “A-mish” dude.

Now, let’s just leave aside for a moment the fact that this would be a TERRIBLE match, and focus on how people can not get their heads around the idea that a single woman could be happy with her life. I don’t have to put up with anybody’s bad tempers or moodiness, or smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, or spending money on crap they can’t afford. Why is it people can’t stand for a woman to be single? Why does being single = failure for a woman?

Carol opines on a regular basis about how every weekend they’re busy doing stuff that The Grump wants to do and she never gets time to herself or to do what she wants.

“Because he likes to spend time with me,” she says. Same reason he drives her to work, instead of letting her take the bus.

Now some of you may be thinking it’s charming that he still wants to spend time with her like this after so many years of marriage, but I’m seeing this as a control issue. She doesn’t even like to take a day off during the week because if she just stays home to relax or catch up on things, he’ll be around bugging her to go do things and she won’t be able to do anything she wants to do.

At my last job, Overseer (whom some of you will recall) even tried to give me advice for finding a MAY-UN. He informed me one day, unbidden, that his wife advocated making a list of desirable qualities that you want in a partner. Somehow this would set events in motion throughout the cosmos to manifest whatever you were looking for. And yet people say they don’t believe in magic. Trust me, I shut him down very quickly on the subject.

I understand relationships are a series of compromises, but they never seem to be equal. I don’t think Carol and her husband are an uncommon example. But, I never say anything critical about The Grump or their marriage, it’s not my place. I simply choose not to live my life that way. I wish other people would extend the same courtesy to those of us who are, for whatever reason, single. And I sure as hell don’t need people like The Grump interfering in my personal life.

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27 thoughts on “The Grump, or: Why I Don’t Need You to Find Me a MAY-UN

  1. Hi DD, I still have a few post I need to catch up on once I can. I think at time it is in people nature to try to hook someone up, lol. Take it as a compliment that they think of you highly but it was funny how they say the benefit was for you once hook up to be able to join the club. I had to on that part. There is nothing wrong being single. Hope you are having a nice weekend.

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    1. Hi Lora 🙂 I think the real reason they were suggesting for me to join this group was to meet this guy, even if she didn’t come out and say it.

      Having a good weekend so far, got out on a nice bike ride which I’ve missed. Hope you’re doing well, too 🙂

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      1. Ah so then I miss understood lol. I thought after you and the guy both click (if you would of met him) joining the group would be a benefit, lol. Okay now I understand. Plus I am sure your friend would of love for you to kept her company as well.

        Bike riding does sound refreshing. I would love to see your face riding your bike as the breeze brush across your cheeks. My neighbor bike ride year round. I don’t know how she do it sometimes. But in the summer time every time I see her she look like a little child so free smiling like “weeeeeeeeee” as she pedal through the city. All is well with me just the same thing as usual. Edit after edit after edit. I think I might take a few weeks off to work on my neglected website…..eventually. Wishing you a great week fill with nice weather and sunshine.

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  2. I know a couple so much like this that I would think you were talking about them except for the location. Every time I think I’m missing something by not dating, I think about the female half of the couple I know and how much better off she’d be without her personal Grump.

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    1. Right? When I think of all the money they spend on gas to drive up to Seattle (although the location seems to vary, sometimes it’s down here, but still) and how Carol goes on about she doesn’t know where they’re going to get the money for it… There have been times they couldn’t make the rent, but by god they never miss Tool Club. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that they could have put that money towards a new car. Even all this time that he’s been out of work they always went to this thing, but she can’t afford a couple balls of yarn for her crochet hobby.

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  3. Ive seen so many bad matchups with my friends getting married just because our other friends were…love doensnt work that way. Now as soon as anyone brings up marriage i try to wave them off with all my heart.

    I am married. And it works. Doesnt mean it does for everyone else. Stick to your guns, DD. You and you alone know what is best for you.

    😉

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    1. I’m starting to think love is not a good reason for marriage. I’m sure these two thought they were in love back when they got married, but he’s so irresponsible now. I don’t know how they are in private, but even when he’s going on about some tale of woe in the car she’ll stop him and tell him to find something cheerier to talk about.

      I’m not totally against marriage, but marriage for the sake of getting married is stupid. And yes, far too many people do that, thinking they’re going to change their spouse and we all know how that works out.

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  4. I’m w/Eric – I love being married: think it was the smartest decision I’ve ever made. BUT I did not get married b/c I thought I was “less than” as a single woman. I didn’t get married b/c I was scared to be by myself, or b/c I was worried what other people thought of me. And I certainly wouldn’t have gotten married if it had meant hanging around with any members of the Tool Club! Jesus, one of us has got to work that into a book – DD, you get first dibs, but if you don’t jump on it, I might!

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    1. Hahaha, at some point this will, I’m sure, be excellent story fodder. Carol has even mentioned how some of the guys like to ‘give her a hard time’ but The Grump says they like her because she can take it and gives it back. I don’t know what sort of ‘hard time’ they give her, sounds like the old boys are using the usual tactics to maker her feel out of place and unwelcome. It sort of boggles my brain that she’d want to try to hook me up with this guy, though. As far as I can tell, she’s the only one of the wives who goes to this thing, which is why she brings a book to read for the day. That’s why I think it’s a control thing, It’s not like they actually spend the day together, but he knows where she is and what she’s doing. Same with driving her to work all the time. Makes my skin crawl.

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  5. I swear DD the more you talk about them the more they sound like the couple I know. It’s like when I was married. “Watch me do the thing! Are you watching me do the thing? You’re my wife, you’re supposed to watch me do the thing!” I did one thing and it was, “Why are you doing that thing? I wanted to do that thing that I would never do before but now that you’re doing a thing I want to do it. Are you TALKING TO PEOPLE about the thing you’re doing? Why aren’t you talking to me? Yes, I told you to shut up while I was doing the thing but now that YOU’RE doing a thing, let’s talk!” Seriously. It sounds like Seinfeld now but it wasn’t funny at the time.

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    1. Oh I’m sure she’d deny it’s anything like that. Somehow I think she really is pleased that he says he ‘want to spend time’ with her. But they’re not spending time together when he’s off doing his thing with the guys at the tool club and she’s reading a book because she has no interest in it. She doesn’t haul him to her ‘craft’ night that she attends once a week with some women.

      I am so glad for you that you got out. Actually that didn’t sound funny at all. Maybe because of everything else going on lately, it sounded scary and controlling.

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      1. I spent years in silence after he got home from work because we lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment and he was playing video games and if I talked it might make him “kill his guy.” But when I found something to occupy myself with while he was “gaming” that didn’t involve me talking to him (writing) suddenly I was a horrible wife. Even though we were in the same room. Because I was supposed to sit next to him on the couch (like his mother and stepfather) and watch him play video games. I’d rather slam my head in the oven door than watch someone play video games. Same room, doing different things, sleeping in the same bed…still not enough. I’m not an automaton. I am not happy about a lot of things but I am happy that I can do what *I* want, when I want.

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      2. Good god, what a child. The only thing remotely close to that was my ex used to get annoyed if he slept in until noon on Saturday, but I was already up and out of bed when he woke up. Apparently I was supposed to lay there and watch him sleep. I don’t know who he thought was going to look after the kids. Come to think of it, he was jealous of the time and attention they got from me.

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  6. My husband knows he’s welcome to come along on pretty much any Thing I’m doing, but that he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to. Likewise, I love spending time w/him, but sometimes when some of his friends and THEIR friends are indulging in the urban professionals’ version of Tool Club, I decline politely. No explanations, no defenses. Just “no thank you, go ahead without me.” You don’t have to be joined at the hip to have a good marriage. Indeed, I think it’s usually a BETTER marriage if you can give each other a little elbow room.

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    1. I wholeheartedly concur. Carol does have a couple things she goes to that he doesn’t (a craft night with the ladies, and some church group thing that apparently he doesn’t attend). She probably needs the time away from him and not at work.

      The Romans felt that sleeping together led to bad marriages, so they had separate bedrooms 😉

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  7. Very happily married. Feel extremely blessed, but before meeting him was totally fine and content being single. If I hadn’t met the right guy, I would have remained so.

    I don’t believe in the “you complete me” thingie. Rather, for any healthy, happy relationship, both people need to be whole and content with themselves first.

    And not everyone needs or wants to be in a relationship!

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    1. My ex husband believes that he’s incomplete without a wife. I feel that I’m autonomous and being in a relationship enhances my life and me, but I don’t have his desperation to constantly be with someone. I see too many people who are never single for a significant period of time. I know women who can break up with the love of their life and have a new soulmate in two weeks. Every relationship has the same problems because they never spend any time flying solo and figuring out themselves. I don’t believe my ex husband has spent more than a few weeks single since he was fifteen. He doesn’t know who he is unless he has a partner. It’s very sad.

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    2. It’s lovely when it works, but I’m with you. I don’t need someone else to complete me. If I met someone that rocked my world, great. Until then, things are A-Ok.

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  8. Firstly, I had the same thought as your first commenter re: the name of the club. Heheh. And yeah, I couldn’t agree more. What’s wrong with being single? Like you said in your last comment–if you happen to meet someone, great–but if you’re happy on your own, then you are complete already. Dunno why people always feel everyone has to be in the same category, the same religion (or even, the same no-religion category), the same relationship status, same family status (why don’t you have kids?), the same fashion, same same same . . . Boring!

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    1. And why for the love of Pete did she think I’d want to meet this particular guy? She’s knows what I’m like LOL It’s not like I’ve EVER bemoaned my single status, or talked about dating or wanting to meet someone. Everyone else seems to know what’s best for everyone else, I guess.

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