I have a hard time not correcting people. There are few things more painful to me than overhearing someone state blatantly wrong information in a situation where it would not be appropriate to educate them. Like the family standing in front of the tiger cage at the zoo and telling their son to look at the lions. Or the women at the salon talking about the winter of 2009-2010 and the horrible snowstorms we had in January and March. (Um, no- the first one occurred in December a week before Christmas. The second round was at the end of January into February.) Or the college student talking about going to Africa for spring break and her friend asking if she saw any kangaroos there. (The worst part? There were about five people involved in the conversation, and no one corrected her.)
It’s just as difficult not to simply offer my opinion when I hear someone saying something with which I disagree. A few weeks ago I was eavesdropping – I mean, inadvertently listening- at Panera when I heard a woman telling her friend about her son’s new girlfriend, and I heard her say, “They never argue. It’s the best relationship he has ever had.” And I really wanted to tell her (after asking her if the enmeshment with her son extends to actually going on dates with him and his girlfriend) that not arguing is not necessarily a good thing. No one agrees on everything, so if there’s never any arguing, someone is not being honest.
For example, Nick and I have argued about:
- Ikea furniture
- Cat discipline
- Friends of mine that he does not trust or like
- Friends of his that I do not trust or like
- The skanky band whore hanging around Nick at his gig the night before
- Leaving knives to rust in the sink
- Leaving DVDs and piles of mail on top of the turntable
- Shoeboxes being appropriate storage devices in the living room
- Nick’s inability to read my mind
- Proper techniques for cutting paper
- Chicken and bananas
Actually, it’s more like chicken, bananas, bacon, corn, and cannellini beans. With white wine and cream. Because one night when we were going over to my parents’ house to cook dinner, that is what Nick suggested that we make. My response?
I’m not entirely sure why I had such a strong response. I think I had already partially formulated a possible menu in my head, and I have a hard time shifting gears (i.e., relinquishing control). I was also convinced that my parents would hate it and at that point in our relationship (this was several years ago), I was still a little protective of Nick and concerned about things going smoothly between him and my family. But honestly, the “no” was really just a gut reaction, and then I spent the good part of an hour trying to maintain my stance even though I had almost immediately recognized I was being irrational.
I don’t remember much of the content of the argument, other than Nick bringing up the good point that he had yet to cook anything horrible, and he hadn’t given me a single reason to not trust him in the kitchen. It finally got to the point that I realized I had to be a grown-up and just admit that I was being unreasonable.
So Nick ended up making the chicken and banana dinner. I’m not particularly crazy about banana, and I’ve only started to recently warm up to both corn and cannellini beans. But this was absolutely awesome. And my parents at least pretended to like it.
I highly recommend that you give it a try yourself. It’s actually Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Chicken Maryland, which I don’t understand at all. I would expect Chicken Maryland to consist of chicken and lump crab meat. (And I swear I’ve actually had that in restaurants before.) From what I’ve been able to find online, traditionally Chicken Maryland just refers to Maryland-style fried chicken (pan-fried), served with a creamy gravy. Not sure where the bananas came from. Nevertheless, it is a surprisingly good combination of flavors. And I have (almost) never questioned Nick’s cooking plans since then.