Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Alleged Power Of Prediction, And Tactics In The Marital Blame Game

Gah, and double gah. Bloody men. Before he goes to work this morning, Max pops round to Ellen's to collect the car keys and comes back in a foul mood.

"What's the matter with you?" I say.

"That was really embarrassing," he says.

As it bloody well should be.

"Well, yes," I say. "I know. I'm not surprised you're ashamed you didn't ask me before lending Ellen the car again. Especially after last time."

"Not that. It was embarrassing having to ask her to come back early. And unnecessary."

I'm so incredulous, that I can't think of an appropriate reply before he leaves for work. I sit and fume for most of the day, and then decide to go into town. It'll do Max a power of good if I'm not at home when he arrives. Let's see how he likes wondering where I am for a change.

I'm wandering around the library when my mobile starts ringing. It's Max, so I decide to ignore it. He never answers his phone when he's late home, after all. This attitude lasts for about ten minutes and then I become a bit unnerved, and decide to go home, just in case. (I'm a bit of an amateur at this "suffer baby" technique.)

When I let myself in, I find the house in darkness. Surely Max can't have gone out again already? I'm already imagining him sitting round at Ellen's muttering about how unreasonable I am being about the car, when I spot a note on the kitchen counter.

"Molly, have taken your Mum to A&E. I think she's broken her wrist. Will call you from the hospital. Max."

Oh, dear God. Isn't that just typical? The first time I ever make myself unavailable, and ignore my phone, and then I miss news of Mum having an accident. Now I am consumed with guilt.

I dither about whether to try to phone Max to find out how Mum is, but decide against it in case I set off a series of explosions amongst the oxygen cylinders in Casualty. (I assume that's why hospitals ask you to turn off your mobile?)

I spend the next hour walking around in circles, staring at the phone and willing it to ring. It doesn't, but then the front door opens and Max walks in.

"How is Mum?" I say. "What happened? Is she okay? Where is she?"

"She's still waiting to be seen," he says. "But Ted's there with her, so he told me to come home and get something to eat. He'll phone me when she's been X-rayed."

It turns out that Mum didn't fall over in the snow as I'd assumed, but instead buggered over the legs of one of those bloody side tables.

"Oh, for goodness' sake," I say. "I kept warning her that those stupid tables were a total hazard and that she needed to be careful. Thank God we had the car back so you could take her to the hospital."

"Humph," says Max. "I don't know about that. But you need to be more careful."

I have no idea what he's talking about, seeing as Mum's the one who had the accident. And surely this has vindicated my insistence that we need full-time access to our car for emergencies?

"Why do I need to be more careful?" I say. "It's not me who's broken my wrist."

"No, but it was your fault," says Max, before walking out of the kitchen as if the subject is closed. It isn't, so I follow him along the hallway.

"How can it be my fault?" I say. "I didn't cause the accident - I wasn't even there!"

"No," he says. "But you definitely talked it up."

I'm not a little tempted to predict something nasty that might happen to a husband who always blames his wife.

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