The Insufficient Apology

I get my feelings hurt, perhaps a bit too easily. Example: we went to our favorite restaurant, but before doing so, my lovely wife requested to stop off at the school. And yes, “lovely” is meant sincerely. No shark.

Seems like an innocent request, no? I agree. But…

Excuuuuuse me for using the English language properly, Bitmoji.🖕🖕🖕 Anyway, yes the request was chaste, but there is a little backstory. Buckle up partner, here we go!

Backstory forthcoming:

  • Three days ago, I spent my Sunday driving to Pittsburgh for a work conference. A five hour drive, by myself.
  • Two day later, I returned home. Since the work conference infringed upon my weekend, I rationalized it fair to take off, on the day of the “request to stop off at a school” event.
  • I was tired. Driving and attending technical conferences is draining, I find. Especially since I’m no longer 20. Just look at the gray and receding hair on my Bitmoji. Or on me, for that matter.
  • I no longer enjoy traveling for work. I miss my fam. And my wife and I were just married, the weekend prior. We were still fully basking in wedding bliss.

It was with this perspective—a little sad, a lotta tired, a little lonely—that I woke up for my mid-workweek hiatus. It was 10 a.m. or so. Well beyond my 6:30 a.m. I should’ve been refreshed, but i was still dragging. Insomnia catches up with me during the week. I routinely get 4 -5 hours sleep. After two days of that nonsense, I’m down a full day’s worth of the recommended nightly duration.

Sarcasm much, Bitmoji? I’m sorry life requires basic math skills. Like now: 4 hours reduced sleep each day x two days = an 8 hour sleep deficit. Get it?

So on my day off, I slept in a bit. And when I say a bit, I mean a few extra hours. My body needed it. I needed it. And I listened.

The consequences of that decision? We weren’t able to go out to breakfast, as we originally planned. With my beautiful wife lying next to me in bed working remotely on her computer, we discussed a Plan B. “Let’s do lunch, instead,” after we both return from a previously scheduled doctor’s consultation for our child.

“Referring to Nikki’s biological son as ‘our child?’ That truly brings a smile to my face, typing right now. The power of reflection and memories.”

— Me

Yeah, I love her children. Our children. All of them. Her eldest 26 year-old daughter in California and her two youngest that live with us; our son is 11 and our daughter is 7. Again, it’s so very cool how naturally it feels to refer to them as “our.” It warms my heart.

I hate to bust your balls during a lovefest such as this, but you’re going off on a tangent, my friend. Love, Bitmoji.😘

You hate to bust my balls? I call BS. Or, as the younger generation would say, that’s cap.

Moving on. Our Plan B—caused by my oversleeping—did not incorporate some much-needed intimacy. It also didn’t factor in how hangry I would be, five hours later, as a result of skipping breakfast.😬

Sleep deprivation + booty deprivation + food deprivation + a cancelled visit to see your kids = a sad, grumpy person.

— All of humanity

And then, Plan C came into fruition. After the doc came the unscheduled “mind if we stop off at school” question. I wasn’t feeling it and I voiced my desire not to. My wife gentled pushed back, giving valid reasons in support of stopping. And back and forth with went, dancing with each other.

Pre-wedding dance studio photo, goofing off. Where am I, you ask? Enjoying the cute, quirky moment that personifies Nikki, captured on iPhone, by me. That’s where I am, Dear Reader.

Not that kinda dancing, depicted above. The kind where itynot quite an argument, but rather…a mild disagreement. In the end, I relented. The reason? I wanted to make her happy. That’s it, nothing more. Or is there?

It wasn’t that big of a deal. Except it was. The problem? I didn’t voice how I really felt. You know, the tired/starving/missing my kids/craving intimacy Mark. And honestly, Nikki mentioned it wasn’t that big of a deal, that she could just stop off at the school tomorrow. But it was the way that she said it. A way that sounded to my insecure ears like, “I guueeeess I can just go another day.” A way that was smothered with disappointment.

The problem was simple: communication. I absolutely should’ve let Nikki know how I truly felt. And she could’ve told me why it was so important to pop over to the school, right then. (In fact, she probably did. And she probably was completely fine not adding the extra errand. It’s just not what I perceived.) From my perspective, I masked my feelings to ease her to-do list. The result, more keeping to myself, more wrestling in my mind, more agitation.

And then, there’s the actual event itself. Nikki thought it would be a five minute stop. I thought otherwise, imagining the time required in dealing with any bureaucracy. My estimate was closer, but sadly, it fell well short of the actual price for admission. It was darn close to 30 minutes.

Yep. 30 minutes, sitting in the car, waiting. Stewing. My mind asking, “why did we have to do this now,” my body insisting I eat. And because it was supposed to be quick, we parked in the school bus zone, hazards on (Relax, people. There wasn’t a soul around and I wasn’t blocking anyone. Yet.). Twenty minutes into it, the school security guard came out, requesting I move. The problem? No car keys, as Nikki had them. When I attempted to call, her phone rang next to me, useless.

With the displeased security guard hovering at the window, I started to get frantic. Then, I finally realized I had an extra set of her keys in my jacket pocket. I moved the car and waited some more.

When Nikki finally returned, I was sour. All of my previous irritations were still floating in the background, plus this. When she got in the car, there was no apology. Nothing. Despite the delays inside the school not being her fault, I kinda felt like a simple “sorry for the hassle” was in order. Nikki didn’t. My reaction? “Are we still going to lunch, or not?”

We went to our favorite place. But it’s not the same when you sit there in silence. She knew I was mad, yet said nothing. And I didn’t say how I felt, either.

You, are right, Bitmoji. This time. Don’t let it go to your head.

Ugh. You sir, are annoying. But your point is correct. Another communication fail. The result? An unsatisfying lunch, no “fun time”, going to bed angry, spilling those same feelings into the next day. Not our best work at dealing with conflict.

Many hours later, we came to understand each other’s positions. I should’ve been a little more adamant about not wanting to stop in the first place. She should’ve apologized after the mishap, as she would’ve if it was her bridesmaid sitting in the car, instead of me. And that’s not s ark, either. The fact is, sometimes we take our loved ones for granted. Not intentional, but it happens, ya know?

I’m not perfect.

F’ you, Bitmoji.

Anyway, I’m not perfect. And neither is Nikki, although she’s damn close. But we’re perfect for each other. At least, 97% of the time. Our disagreements are minimal, in the grand scheme. But there is a recurring pattern: my inability to simply…talk.

Why is that? Why can’t I just communicate better? When something’s bothering me, I keep it in. The voice inside my head doesn’t shut the fuck up, but my voice inside my throat certainly does.

If there’s a point here, I guess it’s to continue to grow and learn from our mistakes, however many times you keep committing the same ones. It’s not all your “fault,” nor is it entirely someone else’s. There’s usually two sides to the story, at a minimum. And sometimes, you have to accept that you’ll probably have the same argument, in some form or another, dozens of times to come. That’s what happens when you’re in a relationship. You’re different people, with different experiences, habit, beliefs, and triggers. But would you want it any other way? I certainly wouldn’t. If I was with a female version of myself? I’d go bonkers, witnessing my OCD, airhead-edness, my inability to communicate, my Markie-ness. I besides, my booty is nothing to write home about. Nikki’s? World class.

High-fiving myself after my morning mantra: Be better and enjoy each moment.

One response to “The Insufficient Apology”

  1. Arguments are necessary for growth. We learn that much more about ourselves and each other with each disagreement. The last few days we did a great job communicating and apologizing so high five 🙌🏽

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