It’s not always easy being married to Mickey. He traces his complexes back to first grade when his mother dressed him in a full Donald Duck costume for Halloween, and the other kids called him names and threw rocks at him because of it. I just blame his mother.
Often my friends and neighbors will say to me, ‘I saw Mickey on the street, but he didn’t recognize me.’ The only thing I can say to them is, ‘ He doesn’t recognize me out of context either.’ Sometimes, I really wonder who else he thinks would call out,
‘ Honey, honey… HONEY!!!’ to him on the street, but I prefer not to go there.
Recently he had dinner with a neighbor I’ll call Igor. A few days later, he got on the elevator with an attractive woman and assuming she was Igor’s wife, proceeded to talk about the boys’ night out. After a while, he noticed that the woman was looking at him as if he was crazy.
‘ Aren’t you Ludmilla?’ he asked.
‘ No,’ she replied, ‘ but I do speak Russian.’
The first time I noticed he wasn’t really aware of his surroundings was when we moved to the North Shore. I was still in an exploratory mode and would often ride my bike north for a couple of hours into Winnetka and Glencoe. One day I somehow got stuck on Old Green Bay Road and kept looping between Sheridan and Greenbay. I came home exhausted and irate five hours later.
‘ I’ve been lost in the Twilight Zone, ‘ I said stripping off my gear. Mickey, not looking up from his computer, said ‘ Oh, were you gone? I didn’t notice.’
However, he must have remembered that lesson –when wife goes missing, be concerned–and filed it away for future reference.
A couple of years ago, Mickey’s sister, Nely, decided to move, and I went to pack her since that happens to be one of my outstanding talents. Nely lives a couple of hours away, and in traffic it is a bit of a drive. I got there, was delayed by the fact that Nely had prepared about ten sheets of packing paper for about twenty ceramic pots that her daughter had made. ‘That’s enough for one pot. Now go to the store and buy more paper,’ I commanded.
Once that was taken care off, I spent the day finishing the job and came home at about eight-thirty in the evening.
Mickey, napping on the sofa with his favorite cat on top of him, opened his eyes, asked me how it went and fell back asleep after listening to my entire story about traffic, paper and pots. I took a long shower, washed my hair and went to bed. About midnight I heard my cell phone ringing and thinking it must be a life or death situation leapt out of bed and ran to my office to answer it. I was surprised to hear Mickey’s voice at the other end.
‘ Where are you?’ he asked with genuine concern.
‘ I’m in my office, ‘ I answered, perplexed.
He emerged from around the corner and seeing me in a pink polka-dot nightie that my mother had bought for me [ fit for a six year old, since she still imagines me to be that age] asked, ‘ Did you just walk in the door?’
Horrified but not yet knocked off my toes, I replied, ‘ Yes, I often drive across counties in my nightie.’
Recently he came home exasperated after running some errands. It seems his eyeglasses, which he needs for night driving had gone missing. He ransacked my car and his, every drawer and jacket pocket, both of our offices, when he started in on my dresser drawers.
‘Hold on a second,’ I said, ‘ when was the last time you remember having your glasses on?’
‘Halloween,’ he replied thinking for a minute.
‘Why don’t you check if you packed them away with your Ninja scorpion costume,’ I said. Hearing a triumphant shout, I knew that I had guessed right.
Of course that still doesn’t mean that Mickey thinks I know anything. Recently I went grocery shopping, noting we were out of kitty litter. I couldn’t find the right brand at the store and went to two others in search of it. At the last stop I gave up and bought what they had, not noticing it was the clumping kind, which Mickey hates. The next day, I scooped and was on my way to the trash can. Seeing me, Mickey insisted that I flush the litter instead.
‘I don’t think I should, it might clog the pipes,’ I said.
‘No it won’t,’ Mickey insisted. Yes, no, yes, no and so it went, until I finally capitulated. The end result was that Mickey spent the rest of the day and that evening unplugging the toilet, while I went out for Vietnamese food and cocktails with my kind and empathic friends.
‘Where is Mickey?’ they asked.
‘He’s hating me right now’ I replied telling them the story.
‘He loves you, Lily,’ they assured me,’ he just has Asperger’s Syndrome.’
Postscript: Mickey just read this and is still insisting I caused the damage because I put too much litter in at once!