Sunday 16 January 2011

The man that my wife dreams of...

The alarm clock makes a horrible shrieking noise. I turn it off and gaze blearily at the grey light filtering through the curtains. It is not even bright enough for the birds to have recognised it as dawn yet, but nonetheless I have to get up, because I have to go to work, and I know that the car will have frozen solid overnight and will require at least twenty minute of rigorous effort to scrape the ice off it. The Wife needs to get up as well, because the children will need to be marshalled through the breakfast/wash/dress process. If left unsupervised they will eventually get up with no problem, but will then simply watch Pokemon cartoons until the sun goes back down again. So I give the duvet-shrouded lump huddled beside me a helpful nudge, just to help get her started, much as you would bump start an old car that fired up a bit unreliably.
"Urgh" she says.
"It is morning, my sweet" I say.
She sits up, and squints around the room unhappily, before finally fixing her gaze on me. "Oh, that's disappointing" she says.
I fumble in my drawer for socks. This is a tedious process. I have about a thousand 'black' socks, and yet incredibly none of them quite match. This is because I am always putting my socks on either in the dark (Winter) or with my eyes crusted over due a cold (Autumn) or hay fever (Summer), or simply scrunched tight in quiet agony due to a hangover (any time of year). This in turn means I am basically careless about making sure the left and right ones match up when I put them on, and so they have all been washed a different number of times, which means they are now all slightly different shades of dark grey. Also, many of them have worn right though, but when I encounter these I am too lazy to throw them away and just throw them back in the drawer, where some have remained now for literally years. This makes the simple act of putting socks on each morning a tombola of frustration, as 50% of the articles in my underwear drawer should really just be taken outside and burnt.
"What is disappointing?" I ask
"I dreamed you were someone else," replies my wife, sadly. "But you're still just you."
A lesser man would be at least a bit wounded by that, by I am made of sterner, or possibly just less caring, stuff.
"Oh yes?" I ask. "Gary Barlow again?"
(At the height of Take That fever - the first time around, back in the early nineties - my wife was delighted to discover that she was born on the same day as Gary Barlow, in the same hospital. As a result she feels that they have, on some level, a connection. I'm glad this belief added some secret spice to her purchase of the cassette single of 'Why can't I wake up with you?' in 1993, but now, nearly twenty years later, I really think she should let go of the idea that their destinies remain inextricably intertwined. This is something she doesn't appear quite ready to give up on just yet, though, if her dreams are anything to go by...)
"No" she says, shaking her head groggily. "It was you. But a much better version of you. A dream version."
Again, some people would regard that as insulting, but happily I am blessed with the cast-iron belief that all those around me, and my wife in particular, are lucky to have me in their lives, regardless of how loudly they may protest the opposite. So instead of taking her comment as a slur on my character, I merely consider it an interesting topic for further discussion while I struggle manfully with my boxer shorts.
"What do you mean? You are already living with the dream version of me," I point out. "In real life."
She laughs hollowly - the laughter of a woman who was one number out for all six balls in the lottery. "The dream version of you was so much better" she says.
I pause, underwear only halfway up. "I don't think that can be possible" I say.
"He really was."
"He was more romantic."
"Uh huh.."
"More...intense. More sophisticated..."
I snort loudly, causing a bubble of early-morning snot to appear briefly in one nostril. She is making the dream version of me sound like a brand of filter coffee. All he seems to be missing is the rich aroma.
"And what did he do, exactly?"
"Not much. He was just there, being thoughtful."
"He sounds dreadful..."
"He was lovely." She is now girlishly hugging her knees in bed. It is faintly nauseating.
"And what did he have to say for himself?"
"He didn't say much. We mostly just communicated on the emotional level. I could tell what he was thinking."
"Can you tell what I'm thinking right now?"
"Yes. And the dream version of you would never be so unpleasant..."
"Tell me, did the dream version of me ever...take it to the bedroom, if you know what I mean?"
"No, he didn't. That was one of the things I liked best about him."
"Perhaps your dream version of me is gay? Anyway here in the real world, your real husband has to go out and earn some money. I'll see you tonight."
"I shall be daydreaming about him," my wife calls after me. "Just so you know. I might have a little affair with him, in my head..."
I don't bother replying to this. In my head I've been carrying on with Winona Rider for the last fifteen years, so it seems only fair.


Mike Edie said...

Best post yet!
Personally I opt for Liz Hurley, preferably with her mouth shut ... most of the time.

Gretel said...

What, you mean she doesn't go through your sock drawer and sort out the holey socks for you? Tsk tsk. Tell your lovely wife from me that she's not being a dream wife if she doesn't do that and that they make excellent dusters when she's frittering about the house doing the housework. :-D

Max Halliwell said...

Everything in life is relative so if she is looking for a dream man I shouldn't imagine too much effort will be required from the LHG

Misterimpatient said...

Two words: Remote start. Nothing like a nice toasty car on a day when the temperature drops to -10C as it does all too often.

Oh yes, happy birthday Mrs. Barlow. Better luck next time.

MDK said...

The dream version of you doesn't have a monopoly on the coffee advert qualities. Your ability to generate a "rich aroma" is the stuff of legend!