By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
I have a strong marriage. I can prove it, too.
How’s that, you say? How can I possibly know with complete certainty that my wife Maya and I are built to last?
Well, there isn’t any written testimony or anything to that effect. It’s not based on the opinions of any relationship experts either.
I know that our marriage is strong by simply evaluating the type of arguments we usually have nowadays. It’s not about money. It’s not about fidelity. It’s not about our vows to each other.
Hmm…maybe it is a little about money. Maybe it’s better if I just describe our disagreement in some detail.
A few days ago, Maya and I went out for our weekly date night. We ended up at a local Chinese hot pot restaurant not far from home. There was a line out the door when we arrived, so I put my name down on the waitlist and I included my phone number so that they could text me when our table was ready.
I was really hungry by the time we sat down, so we ordered quickly. I ordered the assorted meat hot pot and Maya ordered the spicy seafood hot pot. Note: What we were eating really doesn’t pertain to the story, but I just thought you might be interested. It’s what we writers call, “adding color.”
Anyway, the meal was terrific as it always has been at this restaurant (more color for those of you who are interested), and as we finished, I told Maya that I wanted to use the restroom before we left.
Shortly thereafter, I came back to the table, and Maya wasn’t there. I scanned the restaurant, and on the other side, near the lobby, I saw Maya sitting near the entrance, looking at her phone, reading emails. I walked over, met her there, and we got into the car and drove off.
A few minutes into our drive home, I suddenly get a call. It was the restaurant.
“Yes, Mr. Chan?” the voice said. “Yes,” I answered.
The voice continued.“It looks like you forgot to pay your bill.”
“Really?” I said, sounding incredulous. “I’m so sorry, we’ll come back right now.”
I swing a U-turn, and within a minute, I’m back in the parking lot of the restaurant. It was still very busy, and there were no open parking spots available. I pulled up to the front of the restaurant.
“Why don’t you go inside and take care of it?” I said to my wife.
And what followed was a heated conversation in the car.
Maya: Why do I have to go inside?
Wayne: Because there’s no parking spaces available.
Maya: Well, why don’t you go inside and I’ll wait in the car?
Wayne: Because this is your fault!
Maya: My fault? You always pay the check!
Wayne: I USUALLY pay the check. But I was in the bathroom!
Maya: Why didn’t you pay for it when you came out?
Wayne: Because you weren’t at the table! Who leaves the table when they haven’t paid yet?
Maya: You should have paid anyways!
Wayne: I WAS IN THE BATHROOM!!! Do you think the waiter was going to follow me into the bathroom and give me the check there?
With a slight grunt, Maya gets out of the car and pays the tab. Then she gets back into the car and we head home.
And that’s how I know we have a strong marriage. If that’s the biggest argument we’ve had in the last few years, we must be doing OK. We finished the argument and it hasn’t come up since.
Well, except when we go out to eat and at the end of the meal, we both shout to the other, “Don’t forget to pay!”
Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.