Knower of Where Things Are
My husband and I just celebrated 31 years of marriage. We have a lot to show for it, including two adult kids, a daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law-to-be. When they asked me what the secret to a long, successful marriage was, I told them two things:
No. 1: Never go to bed angry.
No. 2: Know where he puts his shoes.
As the wife, I seem to have acquired the title "Knower of Where Things Are." Whether it's the ketchup in the fridge (on the shelf next to the mustard, where it always is), or my husband's shoes (wherever he took them off when he got home), I have a sixth sense for finding those items that are invisible to him. In nearly all cases, these items are fairly easy to locate, assuming you look where they always are (i.e., the ketchup), or the last place they were (i.e., his shoes).
The question, really though, wasn't "Where were his shoes?" The question was "Where weren't they?" While there was only one bottle of ketchup to be found, my husband routinely had a pair of discarded shoes in every room of the house and for the life of him could never remember where he had left them. I could. It was hard to miss them. And yet he could walk right by a pair and not see them at all.
I realized the issue wasn't his memory. It was that my husband had a massive case of Hysterical Shoe Blindness.
I wondered if maybe he'd had some kind of shoe trauma as a young child that caused him to block out the sight of his shoes as an adult. Maybe a freak tornado swept through his house and sucked up all his shoes. Or perhaps a shoe thief snuck into the house and took any shoes that had been left out in the open, leaving my husband utterly shoeless. Whatever had befallen him in his shoe youth, he was now condemned to a life of shoe location issues.
Although I sympathized with his problem, I had to admit, it also irked me. When I wasn't tripping over his errant shoes or stubbing my toe on a wayward boot, I was having to help him find his shoes so he would not go off to work in his Birkenstocks. Admittedly, I had been known to relocate various family belongings when they were dumped in places they didn't belong. But in my husband's case, it really wouldn't matter if I moved his shoes or not. If he couldn't find them where he left them, he wouldn't find them if I put them where they belonged either.
"I have a novel idea," I said to him. "Whenever you come home, take off your shoes and leave them by the front door. If you do this every day, I bet you will be able to find them pretty easily the next time you want to wear them."
"OK," he agreed sullenly.
For one week, my husband made sure to leave his shoes in the same place at the same time, every day. By the second week, it seemed to have become a habit, and by the third week, he had stopped asking my help in finding his shoes.
"Honey, I think we fixed your shoe problem!" I said gleefully.
"Great," he said. "Now can you help me find my jacket?"
Tracy Beckerman is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, "Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble," available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit her at www.tracybeckerman.com
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