When a gal gets hitched up with a lawyer, she gets a little cocky, feels a little invincible, believing that she has just solidified a lifetime of never paying parking tickets and having free representation should something catastrophically unlawful happen, like discovering a severed thumb in your Taco Bell. Erroneous! (Sorry, courtroom jargon flare-up). I’d have been far better served by marrying a pediatrician or a mechanic. My kids or my car are always acting up, but I have yet to bite into that bloody digit in a 7 Layer Burrito. As for parking tickets, please, I’ve paid every one plus interest.
What marrying a lawyer actually offers is a lifetime of answering questioning from a prosecutor…under oath! Every word I say is carefully weighed and analyzed for ulterior motivations. He studies my mannerisms when I tell a story, the way my brow furrows or my hands fidget. If I offer a simple explanation for tardiness, like ‘there was traffic and I needed gas,’ I am bound to receive the first part of the probe, “At 2 o’ clock on a Tuesday? Did you leave the gas tank on ‘empty’ again,” Next thing I know, I’m coughing up details, true or not, like I’m on Death Row with no more appeals, “I left the house on time, but as I was headed to meet you, I saw a Clearance sign at the Carters Outlet. The kids needed shirts! They don’t have shirts! Don’t you think kids should have shirts? And then they were hot from their shirts so I had to pull into a drive-thru to get water – and those stupid toys. No, my jeans are not new. I’ve had them for years! A tag? I just never saw that tag on the pocket….for years.”
I want the truth, he declares!
YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!
Word choice and word economy is very important to a lawyer. They’re trained to answer a question succinctly while not revealing anything of import. I am the opposite kind of speaker (as you all well know by now), prattling on and on, requiring multiple deep exhalations to fuel the rest of my rapid-fire run-on sentences. If G asks me for a fact, but I give an opinion (same thing in my book!), he looks at me like I’m Elle Woods and he’s the Harvard Class President.
But the absolute, hands-down, sure-fire WORST thing about being married to a lawyer…They never forget. ANYTHING.
It’s like he has a teeny tiny court stenographer sitting in his jacket pocket with her little typewriter machine, who will quietly whisper to him, “Court document #472, dated January 23rd, at 2:40pm, E said, ‘A vacation this summer would be a bad idea.’ Huh? I never said that! Why would I have said that?? That shrew whispers again, “because there’s a big project due and her mother might be planning a visit.”
And that steel-trap memory of theirs has a particular knack for remembering the most humiliating and ludicrous things you have ever said. Try this one on for size:
We were in the car, taking a weekend drive with the kids. We were being led by the GPS system as we didn’t really have a firm plan in mind. G asks me to figure out how many miles we’ll be on the NEXT road. Without boring you with a discussion of the inner working of our Garmin system, the bottom line is I don’t know how to ‘look ahead’ beyond the immediate direction it is providing. I only know when to make the next turn and the ultimate time we’ll be arriving. So, while struggling with the buttons of the Garmin, I say:
I don’t know…how…to know.
Translation: I don’t know how to figure that out. I’m stressed out because I hate machines. I hate this British computer woman who always decries, ‘Recalculating!’ and I really don’t understand why you NEED to know the exact mileage of the next piece of roadway. Just wait till we get to the next turn in 7 miles and then Miss British Chippy will tell you how long we will be on that road!
But as soon as I said it, I knew…oh, I knew. I knew it was a super freaking stupid thing to say because it’s the exact sort of statement his legal eagle man brain can’t fathom. And I knew as soon as I saw his eyes light up and the lips curl back in a dumbfounded grin, that I had just dropped my very own Monica Lewinsky statement (I did NOT have sexual relations with THAT woman) that would be parodied and ridiculed over and over and over again.
This was 6 months ago now, but I am still suffering the ramifications in every context from:
What time is it, E? Or do you not know how to know?
Where’s the remote? Do you know how to know?
Do you know how to know when the car needs an oil change?
It really rears its ugly head whenever I try to talk about something heady like Healthcare Reform or Social Security. He’ll stop me short and say, “Whoa, are you sure you know…[I wince]…HOW TO KNOW?”
I have no more questions, your Honor. The witness can step down from the stand. That is, unless she doesn’t know how to know.
I know how to know that Garmin is going to ‘blow out the window’ on my next outing.