By Mike Pound
JOPLIN, Mo. —
All I wanted was some tomatoes and maybe some sweet corn.
My plan was simple. Leave our house at 10:30 a.m. Friday, get to the farmers market in Webb City a few minutes before 11 a.m., wait until the market officially opens, get my tomatoes and corn and be home before 11:30 a.m.
As plans go, mine was a pretty good one until disaster struck. And when I say “disaster,” I mean my wife.
“What are you doing this morning?” my wife said.
I’m a veteran husband, so I probably should have known that my best course of action would have been to lie when my wife asked me what I was doing.
I know that marriage experts will tell you that a strong relationship can’t be built on lies, but the funny thing about marriage experts is that they’re morons.
The other course of action would have been to answer my wife’s question with: “Why?”
Veteran husbands know that “why?” is a great stalling tactic.
Veteran wife: What are you doing?
Veteran husband: Why?
Veteran wife: I was just wondering.
Veteran husband: Wondering what?
Veteran wife: What you were doing?
Veteran husband: Why?
Veteran wife: Why what?
Veteran husband: Exactly.
As you can see, a conversation like that could go on forever or, at least until it’s too late to do whatever it was the veteran wife wanted her veteran husband to do.
But for some reason (I blame old age) Friday morning, I didn’t answer my wife’s question with a “why?” Instead, I told my wife that I was going to work on my column for a while, then I was going to the farmers market to pick up tomatoes and corn and planned to be back by 11:30 a.m so I could get some more work done.
“Oh, good. Emma (our 15-year-old daughter) and I can go with you,” my wife said. “And then we can have lunch.”
“That’s a great idea,” I said.
I said that with my outside voice. With my inside voice I said: “(BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD WORD.) WE’LL BE GONE FOREVER.”
After I agreed to take my wife and Emma with me to the farmers market, my wife remembered that she had a 10 a.m. appointment.
“But I’ll be home by 11 a.m., so we can still go the market,” my wife said.
“But I wanted to get there at 11 a.m.,” I said.
“We will,” my wife said.
When it comes to time and distance, my wife lives in some sort of fantasy world where teleporting is not only possible but common.
No matter how far my wife is from a destination, she is convinced it will only take her five minutes to get there.
“We’ll be at your house in five minutes,” my wife will tell her mom on the phone.
“But we’re in Kansas City,” I’ll say.
“Hush,” my wife will say.
So I hush.
At 11:30 a.m. Friday, my wife walked into our house.
“Ready?” my wife said.
“Ready? I wanted to be home by now,” I said.
“You are home,” my wife said.
When we got to the farmers market, it was almost noon and the parking lot was full.
“Boy, it’s crowded,” my wife said.
I wanted to say: “Of course it’s crowded. That’s why I wanted to get here at 11 a.m.” But, being a veteran husband, I opted to say nothing. Veteran husbands know that sometimes nothing is the best option.
While I stood in line to buy the tomatoes and sweet corn my wife wandered off to “see what else we need.”
After I made my purchases I looked up and saw my wife walking toward me. In her hands were two bouquets of flowers and a large paper bag.
“I bought flowers and basil,” my wife said.
To my knowledge we didn’t need flowers or basil, but again I opted to say nothing.
About 30 minutes later, my wife and Emma were ready to leave the market. It was almost 1 p.m. when we pulled out of the parking lot.
“That was fun,” my wife said. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
This time I was ready.
“Why?” I said.
Fool me once.