The state of our marriage: an update.
Mike and I have waited with baited breath for the moment when we have a screaming row, or come to despise each other wholly. Sadly, for the fascination factor of the documentary, this moment has not come. But I do think our relationship has evolved substantially over the last 6 months. We are really good little team now, and I think we know each other better than we ever could have expected to (he can now navigate – if not anticipate – my moods, I know where his head’s at – always tense in the morning, especially before a long day’s driving, etc) but I thought I’d share with you all a neat little example of how we treat each other:
Mike and the hook
We were in downtown Lima, as it happens we were looking for Ricardo Badani, the man with the many wives. We’d been told that he had a women’s clothing shop in the centre of town, so we were hunting for it (turns out that the shop is long closed, but we didn’t know that, of course). We were packing up the bike, having not been able to find said shop. Mike was putting away the camera in the boot, which is always a pain in the neck: the entire boot has to be unloaded, the massive bag put in, and the items (such as sleeping bag, wet weather gear, charger bag, breakdown triangle etc) replaced. Mike was pulling out the bag when one of the many bungee cords which holds our stuff to the back. One flew up, and somehow – miraculously – managed to hook into Mike’s nose. It caused him a lot of pain, even drew blood.
I found it hilarious. That the hook, on its random trajectory at the end of the stretchy bungee, should hook into his nostril was perfect comedy. Not least because it was a neat little substantiation that his nose is slightly bigger than average size. I bit my lip and tried hard not to laugh. Tears welled in my eyes as I tried to be the concerned wife, instead of honking with laughter.
Mike was livid. He was in pain, we hadn’t found Badani, he had to drive, his nose was bleeding and his wife was laughing at him.
Alanna and the stairs
Needless to say, he got his own turn to honk with laughter at the suffering of his beloved – about 10 days later, in Arequipa. Staying with yet more fabulous members of my very distant family (we likened ourselves to Tarzan and Jane swinging through my family tree with abandon). They have a nice house, with polished wooden stairs. I put on a pair of socks, but no shoes one morning. FOOL.
I was coming down the stairs to join Mike at the bottom when my feet shot out from under me. I held on desperately to the banister, but it was in vain. I landed squarely on my not insubstantial right buttock, at Mike’s feet. I looked up at him, directly above me, winced slightly, and he made a very similar face to the one I had made not 10 days before: pathetically trying to demonstrate conjugal concern without betraying the wave of laughter quickly erupting within him.
There you have it folks. We are one of those couples who laughs at the other one’s pain. We try not to (rational brain trying to override) but we just can’t help it (good old schadenfreude whips love’s butt).