What is love?
Love is letting your spouse go to the comic book store when all you really want is to use her for discounts at the hardware store.
Many years ago it used to be fun for me to go to a certain hardware store, where my husband frequented their website for all the deals. They had this loophole where if you brought more than one person with you, those multiple people could also use the same coupon. This is how we acquired free flashlights, small measuring tapes, and discounts on purchases. But I hated walking in because we always had to go down every single aisle to make sure nothing else was scratch and dent or on clearance.
Then came the comic bookstore. I love a good story, and used to read them voraciously. I have a large collection from my childhood from before superheroes were made into movies. I used to splurge, but rarely took the chance when I was older to stop by a shop.
And here one was, right next to my husband’s temple of tools.
So I would sneak away when he was going down those aisles, or discussing with an associate just how much he could get off for the item with the bent wheel. I would go and take a few moments in nirvana, sometimes buying, but mostly perusing, enjoying nostalgia.
When we reconvened in the car my husband would make fun of me for abandoning him. “The small blue flashlights were free with purchase today,” he would say. “They were magnetic,” he would then emphasize.
But I wasn’t always selfish. On trips where he knew he was buying big ticket items and wanted to whip out the multiple discount coupons, I obliged and waited in that long line at the cash register, allowing him to use me as the plus one for further discounts.
Then the comic book store went out of business. A cloud of sadness and irritancy seeped over the next few trips to the hardware store after that, as I had no respite. Gone were the days of vanishing from the tools.
Now I focus on being that annoying little bee when he takes too long staring at a particular tool, or drooling too much over the clearance section. I flick his ear, massage his shoulders, or just lean into him ever so slightly to push his vision of the product off-kilter. He laughs and gets reminded that the hardware store isn’t heaven for everyone.
That’s love too.
Happy Valentine’s Day!