More Banana Than You Can Handle

More Banana Than You Can Handle

It was my husband Andy’s birthday yesterday and we fought for ten minutes over a banana. I am desperate not to be the bad guy here, but I think I might be.

I was eating the last banana and asked, just like this:

Hey Hon, do want some of this banana?

He says, I don’t want banana right now, but you can leave me half of it.

But do you want banana?

I’m eating toast.

Ok. But do you want some banana?

I wasn’t going to have any banana, but I can have some if you want.

No. I don’t need you have any banana. Do you want some? I am happy to give you some if you want it, but I can also eat all of this.

I bought the bananas because I like them. I thought you didn’t eat bananas.

I’m eating them this week. Were they supposed to be for you? Did I eat all your bananas?

It’s fine. I don’t care. I might eat it later. I just thought you didn’t eat bananas.

Yes or no, do you want some of this banana?

Andy replies with words that are neither yes nor no. And that unfortunately is an issue for me. I should let it go. I should learn to interpret what he means. But I have this overwhelming need to be able to communicate on my own terms, so I persist. I follow him into the bedroom and keep going. I say:

Is this a southern thing? Are you not answering me because both answers show a lack of care for me and you are only interested in showing care? Like if you say yes, that means you might be depriving me of a whole banana and saying no means you might be rejecting my generous offer?

He nods while making the bed and replies, that could be. I thought maybe you were offering it because it’s like eggs and was more banana than you can handle.

He is so considerate of me he can’t answer the question. He’s only thinking of me and how much banana I can handle. The yes or no makes it only about him. What a man. I was actually asking him if he wanted some banana because I love him.

A little later I came into his office and said. Yes or no only! I just poured myself the last cup of coffee. Do you want half? He said yes. And he got half.

Responsibility Seesaw

Responsibility Seesaw

A seesaw appears to be a binary. Either you’re up or down. Emotionally it’s easiest to imagine this as you’re happy or you’re unhappy. Stressed or not stressed. I am often stressed by responsibility so naturally I dream of relief. How wonderful it would be to roll the backpack of anxiety off my weary shoulders and shove it deep into the closet, not to be hoisted again until next season. I wish for this so often. I am delusionally imaging a world of equilibrium. I think if I am not stressed about too much to do, I will be in a stasis of happiness.

No. Stasis does not exist, it is merely the briefest moment of passing through the fulcrum from one state of anxiety to the next.

I noticed this last night. I was taking stock and feeling pretty darn good about my week’s accomplishments. I had managed to do so much! And the future was looking a little less hectic. It’s as if I had been stuck in the up position of the seesaw for a month by an elephant of labor who either refused to pump his thick legs up and down or who was just too large for it to be effective. But miraculously, he had shrunk in size and I was slowly floating down. Happiness is just on the other side! Here I come!

I felt total bliss as the board evened out, me and the now skinny elephant smiling across from each other, perfectly aligned, our eyes meeting in joyous anticipation.

How brief was that joy, how fleeting that sense of ease. The skinny elephant suddenly transformed into an emaciated rodent who flew up in the air as my terrified butt whacked the ground. Thrown from the game he scurried away, leaving me unable to go up again. What if I don’t get any more work? What if all the jobs dry up? What if I have nothing to do? All the anxiety was back, just a mirror image.

Too much or too little. Those are always the main course. The hoped-for sense of ease is a momentary movement in between.

I am glad I could see it so clearly. And the metaphor helps. Possibly the thing to do is get off the damn seesaw.


Illustrations by my brilliant husband, Andy Norman.