Monday, March 27, 2017

I Get Off Work at 6

I just found this post that I never published. It's a little rough and from almost three years ago, when my husband was still driving (only in town) and was home alone while I was at the office (three days a week). We live less than a mile away:

He shows up at the office at 5 o'clock thinking I should be home by now. I explain that I don't get off at 5 o'clock. I have never gotten off at 5 since I started working at this job (25 years ago).

"Well, what time do you get off?" he asks impatiently.

"6 o'clock," I reply. (My hours are 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., with an hour for lunch.)

"6 o'clock? Who gets off at 6 o'clock?!" He leaves the building in a huff. As quickly as he arrived, he gets in his car and vanishes.

But he comes right back and parks in the parking lot, where I can see the vehicle. He comes in without saying anything, standing right inside the outer door, in my line of vision. He is obviously very impatient, shifting his weight from one foot to the other and back. He leaves without saying anything. It's a little creepy, to tell the truth.

I used to think this was passive-aggressive behavior. Maybe it is, but maybe he just misses me, wants me to be with him all the time, and doesn't understand why I'm not home at 5 like everybody else. Yes, I am aware that not everyone is home from work at 5. But, evidently, he doesn't remember that when he was working, it was a minor miracle if he was home before 7. I decide to leave work a few minutes early and arrive home at 6 p.m.

"What took you so long to get home?!" he demands, looking at his watch. [He still looks at his watch, but he could tell time back then.]

"I came home a few minutes early," I cheerfully respond.

"Early? It's 6 o'clock!"

"Yes. I get off at 6 o'clock. I left a few minutes early."

"Who gets off at 6 o'clock?!" he exclaims.

Reading that again, I marvel at how "normal" (comparatively speaking) our life was at the time, and how restricted it has become (more on that to follow). He never did remember my work hours, though, no matter how many times the conversation was repeated. Before I "retired," he wondered why I was still working, why I had to stay until the end of the work day, why we couldn't just go somewhere. Now that I'm retired, he wonders why I'm not at the office. I can't win.

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