Some People Say Love Is The Key to a Happy Marriage; I Say It’s Good Chore Division

My wife stands and watches as a cockroach runs under the washing machine. “I saw that,” I tell him. “You should have killed it!”

My wife is out at snooker. Whilst he’s away, I do some of the wifely things, to prove I am Good Like That. I wash the dishes and put the laundry in the dryer. I wipe down the sides, although mostly I let the big bits fall to the floor. Floors are strictly my wife’s chore. Even I won’t go that far, unless forced.

I stamp the life out of a couple of cockroaches to pass the time. Our house is in the bush and has a cockroach problem. My wife has bad eyesight and conveniently manages to never see their horrid, manic bodies. I, on the other hand, am predestined to screech whenever I see one, which is hard to disguise when you live in a one-room flat with a curtain for partitioning. One day, I watch him walk into the kitchen and say “Ew.” Between his feet is a large, scuttling bug.

“Step on it!” I shout, prostrate on the bed. “Fuck it up!”

He stands and watches as it runs under the washing machine.

“I saw that,” I say. “You should have killed it!”

“Hey,” he says. “The important thing is it’s already off the short-term to-do list.”

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My wife and I live in a part-time music studio, which acts as an incentive to clean at least once a week. We are both grateful for this: upkeep doesn’t come naturally to us. This is demonstrated most clearly by our van conduct when we are driving one day. He is in the passenger seat, feet up on the dash, scoffing a dish I call Dinner Leftovers.

“I think there is a slug in the fridge,” he says, through a mouthful of cold spaghetti.

“Is?” I say. “What, you mean you saw it but left it there?” I am repulsed.

“Yeah,” he says, still shovelling. “Have you seen it?”

“No!”

“I mean, I think it’s a slug. I’ll show you.” He puts his dish down in the footwell and reaches back through the van.

“Show me?” I say, aghast. “You had time to take a picture but not remove it?!”

“No, no, here!” my wife says. He lifts the lid of the little van fridge between us, the one I consider more an armrest than a fridge now we live in the house. The van fridge doesn’t work, owing to a blown fuse and lack of enthusiasm. Fixing it would be very simple, so simple I could fix it unaided by mechanic or wife. It is a bi-yearly ritual in our van that the fridge fuse blows. So far, the fact the fridge is never cold hasn’t stopped us from storing picnics in it whenever we are out and about.

“Oh that,” I say, without looking in. “I think that’s a little piece of onion.”

“A what?” he says, peering. “So you have seen it!”

I was the person who dropped it there, I don’t tell him. It had a previous life as a bit of fajita mix, several weeks ago. I use a classic diversionary tactic.

“What is that?” I say to him. “You smell… manly.”

“I found my deodorant,” he says.

“Where was it?”

“In the cupboard, behind your deodorant — the one I usually use.”

“Quite a good place to store it, that.”

boatworm

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