Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sins of omission or just good marital relations? You decide

So here's a marital/partnership riddle for you:  If Party A does a dumbass thing but rectifies it without damage and only slight financial effect, Does Party B need to know?

Before I tell you that I believe, with my whole heart and wallet, that the answer is "No," let me give you an example. Hypothetical, of course.

Let's say Party A was distracted. Lot of stuff on her mind when she went to pick up Chinese take-out for her daughter. Not only was her routine out of whack because she had the pick-up time wrong for an after school activity and was running late, but someone else had parked in her normal spot at the restaurant.

Also, this restaurant borders a very busy street and if you're used to where the curb cut is from your million times pulling out of the place, it's only natural to assume it's still there when you pull out this time, right?

Somehow, in this hypothetical situation, Party A might have pulled out into traffic when her muscle car did what muscle cars do: it jumped right over the curb heading to the street and got stuck on its frame, teetring its front half over the sidewalk three feet down and its back half on the parking lot three feet up.

Gulp.  Initially Party A would have sat there contemplating options and wondering how long it would be before Party B pulled through the intersection on his way home where the spectacle of a cobalt convertible suspended over space would likely catch his eye. And if it didn't, the people pointing and gawking might have tipped him off.

I would imagine Party A would get out of the car, crawl around a little bit on the asphalt looking for a way out. Backing up would scrape the frame. Pushing forward would surely scrape off the exhaust system and probably fracture the bumper.

About this time, I'd imagine a passerby would stroll over to help assess the situation. He might even shake his head and wish Party A luck with her situation as he walked away, stifling his laughter until he was not quite out of earshot.  

Party A would likely turn to her trusty cell phone -- nearly out of juice -- to turn to her employer for help in finding a reliable tow truck. Should Party A then discover that she needed to update her Angie"s List app and can't because she hasn't enough power, she might kick some dirt and mutter a few curse words.  She might have had this conversation in her head:

-- I could sit in the car and charge the phone to get the app updated, but it might also tip the car down to the sidewalk and it will take some time and I need to scram before Party B comes through.
-- I could call Party B for help. We ARE partners in life and love. He DID swear to stick around in good times or bad. Damn I should have added a dumbass-actions line in there...
-- I could take a chance and call for a tow without checking reviews first and get home before anyone knows anything is amiss. Well, other than all the people who've already seen me.

My bet is she'd call a tow truck, explain the situation and get them to come right away. She'd probably also shoo away the second random guy who stopped in his pickup offering to just pull her off the curb. Because she's not the kind to leave a tow truck guy hanging after making the emergency call from her traceable cell phone. She'd explain she had it all under control when the Chinese restaurant owners came out to see what was going on in the parking lot.

And when the tow truck guy comes, she'd be relieved that he agreed it was best to lift the car up and roll it back rather than try any other option -- something that only a professional tow truck driver with a lift on his truck could do. She might even start thinking she was pretty smart to have handled the situation so well.

When he said he's done this a time or two in that very spot, she'd feel even less like a total dumbass. When he said he'd do the job for $50 cash she might remember that she HAD extra cash in her wallet because she'd been so thrifty on a work trip the week before.

And when he said, "It's OK. Not too many people even saw you stuck up there," she'd laugh and smile and not kick the truck as it pulled away.

Now, she might think about her actions as she pulled into traffic with the Chinese food still hot and steamy, the car no worse for wear. She might decide she'd handled that just as well as it could be handled and there was no need to tell ANYONE, let alone Party B.

And that's where the story might end had Party A not been among the worst liars in the history of fibbing. Escaping blame is worse than getting away with something scot free. At least for me. I just can't take it.

Beside the hundreds of eye-witnesses who buzzed by the scene of the crime, I (AKA Party A if you somehow hadn't figured this out) had the Chinese food guy to contend with.  Jeff doesn't often pick up food there, but my luck is such that he'd be on the hook next time and I know my pot sticker supplier would take the occasion to revisit the situation.

Plus, I had wine at dinner Friday night @NorthSideSocial.  (Watch out for the Merlot there if you have a secret to keep -- I think it has some truth serum in there...)

I started my confession out with my lame hypothetical. It did not last long. "Are you kidding me? Don't you remember when I pulled some lady off that same curb?"

Crap!. "Uh no," I stuttered.

He looked at me, incredulous. "So when were you going to tell me? When the credit card came in?" 

In justifing "Never," I trotted out a lot of offers. Like, I don't need to know when women hit on him, say, at the overnight utility bar meetings. 

"Honey, you don't have any competition from the utility bar," he said. Then cocked his head, got all dreamy and said, "Except...."
I might have thrown my fork at him. I came up with other examples where Party A doesn't need to know everything about Party B. "Like, let's say you cut the outdoor extension cord with the electric shears. You could replace the cord and no one would know. Or care!"

"You mean like you did? Twice."


"How about the time I let the baby fall off the couch?" he offered up. "No witnesses anywhere and she couldn't talk. But I told YOU!"

It wasn't looking good for me, I have to admit. I mumbled something about Alison possibly suffering brain damage and the car being both an inanimate object and a "no-harm; no foul" kind of situation. 

He mentioned the $50.

"Ha-HA! I still have birthday money from your father!" I crowed. 

He just shook his head. "Sin of omission," he declared.

"Inconsequential incident, " I countered.

We went back and for a while over dinner, which was fabulous, by the way. That damn merlot tricked me intoo a second confession that I'd gone home from work early that day just because when really it was because Alison had called in a panic because she'd locked herself out of the house again. Her phone was running on fumes and I couldn't reach her but I had my neighbor reach out so I knew all was under control.

On the slight chance she'd called Jeff, too, I called him as I raced northward. "Whatcha doin?" I asked. Upon determining she hadn't called him, I was trying to end the call when he asked where I was. I told him I was heading home. He asked why. "Because I can," I said, not wanting to rat her out.

Before I got to the house, she'd calmed down, retraced her steps to find where she'd dropped her key and was having a snack at the counter.  No harm, no foul, right?

"Sin of omission," intones the Captain in what I expect could be a mantra I'm treated to for a while.

I think we need arbitration. And if it helps you side with me, I'll bring over a bottle of that merlot.

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