Thursday, July 15, 2010

Of Snakes and Wives

I've been remiss in writing here. Part of it is the distraction of building a home, where my wife is the informal general contractor and I am the chief nag and bone-picker. I don't know when our roles got reversed, she started wearing the pants, and I got relegated to second fiddle in the fief. Or third. I think the kid is second. Maybe I'm fourth, as we have a housekeeper . . .

It started benign enough, me the pompous, well-organized American, her the smiling and docile Filipino. But, as in most marriages, it takes a couple of years to get to know the real person, to get past the showmanship of dating and the out-of-body effort we give in the early years, prepping and preening and doing our farts outside, as if we never had gas. Then reality sets in, slowly, like a glacier grinding down the hillside inching huge boulders into sand. One day the realization sets in that we have gotten rid of the plastic covers and are dealing with each other real time, face to face.

Sometimes it ain't pretty.

I think what has happened is that my pompous bluster has ceded to her head-like-a-brick insistence that she knows best. That she usually does is beside the point. She is a traditional Filipino, engaging her interests first and the rest of us get her kind attentions in their proper order. Sometimes the order is never.

But I can always tell she loves me, when, after a fight which oft extends into the night, she cooks bacon and eggs in the morning.

Another reason she wears the pants is because her fundamental skill at managing things is beyond compare. She was a poor kid who barely eked out a high school degree, what with the years off tending to this kid or that field along the way. Had a benevolent uncle not emerged during her formative years, who knows what might have happened. But she deals with construction people with humor and demand, and they respect the little lady. She gets things done.

Oh, sure, she has the typical Filipino style of dealing with things as they happen rather than thinking ahead and planning them. Damn if I can get her to set times for appointments, as people drift in and out of our place on their own schedules, and because everybody is loosey goosey, no one has difficulty with the non-structured agenda except me.

So I go out and wander amongst the bamboo on our property, admiring the snakes to be found there, and let her tend to the chaos. The prettiest snake is some four feet long, black of body and yellow of head. He looks right at you, and I am inclined to want to pet him like a tame dog, but something in the back of my head says that is not such a hot idea. So we both just amble on, remote but wary friends.

Sort of like me and BongV, I suppose, as we both eye the other as the snake, but one worth respecting.

But I digress.

My wife.

One should never mistake quiet for shyness. This quiet cutie will read riot to the hardware store owner for sending out cement a grade below that ordered, making him take the whole load back. I think her next step would be to go for the gun.

As I said, she is a fairly typical Filipino.

Ooops, will finish this later. She needs someone to take care of the kid while she gets her nails done. I don't know where the housekeeper is today. Probably out having her hair done . . . brb

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