Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Barbra says:
"You don't bring me flowers,
You don't sing me love songs."
Neil says:
"You hardly talk to me anymore,
When I walk through the door at the end of the day.
I remember when..."

I'm feelin' you, Barbra.

My Current Husband (CH) and I attended the U2 concert in Chicago Sunday night, where I made it perfectly clear that if I had a shot at The Edge, I was taking it. He is definitely Numero Uno on my "list," followed by presumable booze hound Vince Vaughn and current hottie Bradley Cooper. I don't even see those three guys drinking or bowling together, so don't ask me how they find themselves on the same list. (Vince would probably drink with anyone, but you get my point.)

Number One on CH's list? The first woman who would give him the remote, get him a beer and a sandwich, and rub his back. 'Not Much of a Talker' would probably be a big turn-on as well. 'Doesn't Blog About Him' would be even better.

We get to our hotel room in Chicago and check in at around 3 p.m. We are meeting another couple for dinner at 5, and I've found myself needing a belt. The jeans I'm wearing to impress The Edge are a little big, and the belt I brought is from college and was made for jeans that go around the waist, not the lower hips. I mention to CH that I would like to walk a couple of blocks to a store that sells belts. When CH does not answer, I look around the corner and he is asleep, remote on his stomach, the Cowboys game on TV. We have now been in the room for 4 minutes and 17 seconds. I sigh and sit down next to him. I change the channel to a forensics show about how to cover up evidence in a murder. I take notes.

CH wakes up at 4:40 and wants to know when we need to leave for the restaurant. I tell him I've been waking him up every five minutes since 4:15, and we are walking out the door in five minutes. He gets in the shower. Sadly, he is ready in five minutes, just in time to help me cinch the belt I've managed to pull through to the first hole. The belt has created a tourniquet around my hips, giving me additional muffin top and the beginnings of a rash. The Edge's wife is very beautiful and slender, so I'm hoping he's sick of all that.

We meet said couple and go to the restaurant. We eat delicious food. We drink delicious drinks. We share a fabulous dessert. We drink more delicious drinks. I start to get that "I'm king of the world!" feeling. I should remember that feeling comes just before the Titanic sinks. We go to another restaurant and have two more rounds of drinks. (In Chicago, this means we could've bought one of those cute little Cuban cars for the price of eight drinks.) The years are melting off with every sip, and thanks to the magic of vodka, suddenly I am 22!

After a fun cab ride to Soldier Field, and a round of beers before we get to our seats, the lights go down. The Edge is coming. The music starts, and I'm standing up yelling, "I'm up here, Edge!" but he does not seem to hear me. CH and people sitting around us do. Soon, they too are yelling at The Edge, "For all that is holy, get her out of here!" but the Edge does not hear them either. I start saying things to CH like, "The Edge would leave right now to get me another beer." The concert ends, and with it, my chance to be Mrs. Edge.

So CH and I leave Soldier Field with 70,000 of our closest friends, and try to get a cab. Cab drivers are running over people who jump in front of them with their hands up. Full buses are driving past us. People are riding horses and Vespas and unicycles and roller skates and jet packs past us, while we fall into a large group of people trudging toward downtown Chicago like a bunch of cattle. My belt is cutting off the oxygen to my brain, and my shoes are starting through their second layer of foot skin. I say to CH, "The Edge would've gotten us a cab." CH isn't laughing at these jokes anymore.

Neil says:
"Was it good for you babe?
Are you feelin' alright?"
Barbra says:
"Well honey just roll over
And turn out the light.
'Cause you don't bring me flowers, anymore."

Fast forward one hour and perhaps two miles later. CH and I are on opposite sides of Michigan Avenue. It is 1 a.m. Some crazy woman on my side of the street is screaming things at him like, "You are the worst husband! You are supposed to take care of things like this!" and he is yelling at her, "What do you want me to do!?" and she is screaming back, "Well not abandon me in downtown Chicago at 1 a.m. without any money, you $&**&@#!" She doesn't seem to realize that he hasn't abandoned her, he is perhaps afraid of her. A limo driver pulls over and motions her across the street. I go, because maybe The Edge is in the limo.

Limo driver: "You shouldn't be yelling at each other like this. Let me solve your problem. I will give you a ride."
Me, bloodshot eyes narrowed: "We are at the Hyatt on Wacker - how much?"
CH: Silence
Limo driver: "$30 for you, pretty lady."
Me, jerking thumb at CH: "We have $16 between the two of us. Give him the money, CH." And I get in the limo.
CH: Silently hands over money and gets in limo. He is angry, but tired.
Limo driver: Contemplates how to get crazy/cheap woman out of limo. Decides to drive her away.

So there we are. Married 14 years. Riding in a limo down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago at 1 a.m. with the skylight open and fresh out of a most amazing U2 concert. And we are looking at each other like two roosters in a cock fight.

Barbra: "Baby I remember, all the things you taught me..."
Neil: "I learned how to laugh, and I learned how to cry..."
Barbra: "I learned how to love, even learned how to lie..."
Together: "So you'd think I could learn how to tell you goodbye...."

I am thinking bad things about CH, which is funny, because two hours earlier I was in my happy place, thinking rainbows and ponies about him. We get to the hotel room, and he is asleep in less than a minute. I get a text from some concertgoers from the Quad Cities, telling us to come downstairs for one last drink. I am thinking he isn't bringing me flowers anymore, I'm getting those bad shoes back on and going downstairs. I take his debit card. I leave the belt.

I go to bed at 3 a.m. As my head hits the pillow, I know everything I've done for the past 4 hours has been a really bad idea.

I wake up at 8 a.m. I know we have to leave within the next 45 minutes for a 4-hour trip in the car to get our three children. I am unwell. I start thinking about all of the things I said to CH after midnight. Ouch. Suddenly, I hear a noise. It hurts my head, but I open my eyes. It is a glass of ice water and an Aleve. It is not coming from the hand of The Edge. It is coming from the hand of CH, who was so abused only 8 short hours ago. He is laughing at me.

He doesn't bring me flowers. He doesn't sing me love songs. But he brings me aspirin and water when I need it and has a short memory. I'm keeping him.


Anonymous said...

This is so funny! I can so see you and your husband walking downtown, I think I saw you...

pollyanns said...

Julie!!! Holy shit you are funny, girl. I could so picture the ENTIRE thing and somehow I knew you would work it out. The ending is priceless. One of your finest stories, hon! Thanks for sharing.

Anita said...

What I would give to hear Chad's version in a similar style....

Anonymous said...

ahhh - you made me laugh out loud.. thanks so much and hope the fish are doing ok.
Dip Dip dippy in the house

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