“Well, you’re wrong.”

November 12, 2020

Monday was just going to be an easy prep day of shopping and perhaps a little pre-packing for our short Tuesday and Wednesday trip to Crystal Cove, a scenic state park of 1930’s era cottages along Laguna Beach’s oceanfront. Monday morning, however, my phone buzzed the calendar notice, “Crystal Cove.”

“Hey, I thought you said our reservation was for Tuesday,” I inquired of Carol.

“It is. I just printed the reservation confirmation.”

“My phone is saying it’s today.”

“Well, you’re wrong.” Her tone was not in any way condescending; Carol is not condescending by nature. Rather, her tone was more that of a Galileo expressing an assured wisdom that his world works precisely because the earth revolves around the sun. And the simple way Carol’s world works is that any information I may offer contrary to her own is as naturally wrong as if Galileo’s mistress had tried to argue that the sun circles the earth. “Well, you’re wrong,” the great astronomer would have responded politely, if not adoringly, to said mistress.

Rather, her tone was more that of a Galileo expressing an assured wisdom that his world works precisely because the earth revolves around the sun.

Yet, it was Carol’s heliocentric universe that suddenly collapsed before her very eyes. “Hmm. My calendar says the same thing,” she said, now with the same ripple of doubt that might have struck Galileo in considering that Ptolemy could have been right after all. Carol dashed to the printer, read the confirmation, no doubt several times in mounting disbelief, then uttered, “You’re right! It’s today!” It was the unanticipated shriek of Archimedes plopping down in his bathtub and seeing the water rise.

From this moment on (8:47 a.m., Monday, November 9th 2020, clear skies, low humidity, temperature in the 60s, for those wishing to record the exact time and condition of the planet), Carol would have to stop and ponder various statements coming from me that could no longer be dismissed out of hand as simply uninformed, misconstrued or just plain wrong. This brings a seismic shift in our relationship, given my predisposition for a system of knowledge based on the way I wish the world to work, instead of the way it does. No more will a tsk, a roll of the eyes or a purse of the lips be an automatic definitive and conclusive assessment. No longer would a statement such as, “We were in Rome and it was raining, cold and you had the salmon,” be dismissed out of hand, even if she were holding a photo of Florence in warm sunshine and a plate of steak tartar as evidence. That supreme moment of triumph would no longer be instantaneous, as she would listen to what I’ve said, look at the photo right before her obviously lying eyes, and be forced to contemplate – if just for a nanosecond – that I was right and she was wrong.

Happily I am not the type of male to lord it over a spouse who’s allowed a crack in the foundation of an otherwise immutable universe. I know my being right and Carol being wrong is about as frequent an occurrence as a blue moon, a month of Sundays, Hell freezing over or any other of the terms Carol uses for predicting the next time I’ll be right and she’ll be wrong.       

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