I never bought into bickering. Isn’t it just a cowardly way to argue? A tennis match of snipes and grumbles? I always thought a proper argument was the best way, a fulfilling venting of irks and dislikes. Now, I am converted. Arguing ends too quickly. Arguing is a quickie on a Sunday night when your working week is about to begin and you really just want to sleep. It’s a roar followed by a huffy conclusion that can only end in heavy silence. No, I have now decided that bickering is for me following my first real encounter with it this weekend.
The setting was Tesco, the trigger what to eat and the duration was up and down every aisle and back again.
Him: “What about some steak?”
Me: “Too meaty. I can make chicken kebabs with yoghurt and some cous cous if you like.”
Him: “I don’t like any of that”
Me: “You don’t like much do you? So bloody fussy.”
Him: “You’re fussier”
Me: “No I’m not. Name one thing I don’t like then? Because I can name about 20 of yours.”
You get the picture of how it began. We wandered through the supermarket pecking at each other like angry hens, while choosing the accompaniments to a roast after it had been agreed on with a snippy “Well you’re cooking it”, followed by my exasperated “Fine”.
I actually couldn’t tell you if there were other people in the supermarket that day. For all I know there may have been a security emergency with a shoplifter chase as yoghurts were dropped onto the floor while the person in question clung to their oversized jacket full of Walls sausages. On this shop it was just me and him. Others were merely shadows, blurry shapes adrift around us like clouds.
Me: “Breakfast, we need some bread.”
Taking a large brown loaf I place it in the basket.
Him: “I’m never gonna eat all that.”
Me: “Well just freeze it then. It will be there when you need it rather than having to traipse over here all the time.”
The bread lies in the basket being scowled at.
Him: “There’s no point. I don’t eat much bread.”
Me: “Well you do when I’m around. It makes more sense.”
The bread is pulled from the basket and placed back on the shelf in a slump.
Him: “I’ll just end up having to throw it out. Smaller is better.”
He grabs a half pan and throws it on top of the potatoes, then walks off leaving me and the abandoned bread to seethe.
In the alcohol aisle the bickering stops as we search for a particular wine. There was nothing to argue about, we were both in agreement at the choice. The bickering cloud was lifting like a hangover. Finally we made it to the express check-out tills.
Him: “These arguments are going to happen you know, when we live together.”
Me: “I’m aware of that.”
He scans the food as I stand to the side, unable to bag anything until we pay to ensure the machine doesn’t start giving out about the ‘item in the bagging area’ in a robotic voice.
Him: “I’m just saying. I have lived with other people before you know.”
Me: “So have I.”
Him: “I mean girlfriends.”
Me: “Really. And how long was that for then and when cause I haven’t heard much about it?”
Him: “In England. When I lived in Cheltenham.”
I guffaw, loudly.
Me: “That wasn’t living together. It was long distance.”
He turned to look at me, a dimpled chicken clutched in his hand.
Him: “No it wasn’t. She came over and lived with me for four months.”
Me: “Ooooooh for you. Well I did live with my boyfriend too you know. He was my flatmate and my boyfriend.”
He gave me a look that said it wasn’t the same thing, but he wasn’t going there. I whack him over the head with a packet of bacon crisps and start packing.
Carrying a bag each we walked outside. Back to the world of people, cars and noise that wasn’t ours.
Him: “You’re cooking this you know.”
Me: “I know. Didn’t I say I would?”
Him: “I’m just saying.”
Me: “Yeah, well don’t.”
Apartment in view I take his hand and we cross the road.
Me: “You have to do the gravy though.”
And we go on, until the next bicker bout.