So recently I read that a sure sign of a good relationship or a bad relationship is how you respond to your partner when they make a comment or show you something that interests them. For instance if your significant other, says "Look, the moon is just coming up," and you either say nothing or shrug and say something like "Don't bug me, I'm watching America's Got Talent," then you might be heading to either a life-long disengagement or a permanent split. Instead, if you got up from your Lazy Boy to look out the window and watch the moon rise together, then chances are you are in a healthy place.
We all mess up sometimes, but after witnessing something this last weekend at my booth at Summerfest in Logan, I'm committed to being a more present, a more interested spouse, and a more interested and invested friend.
My booth was in a great location under a beautiful oak tree, providing shade on a hot summer day and adding to the ambience of my handmade pottery. Two couples were strolling boy. They were probably in their 60's. One of the men turned to enter my booth and his eyes brightened. His wife and the other couple kept on walking past. He paused at one of my pie plates. It had a lovely mountain scene on it with wax-resist design. His hand lingered on it and he turned to see where his wife was and she was already past by now. He turned to get her and bring her back. She took a few steps back and stepped momentarily into my booth without letting her eyes rest anywhere except on her husband. She loudly said, "no, no, no." as if she was scolding a child who was about to touch a hot burner. Then she walked on.
In that moment, with his hand still on the pie plate, the husband's eyes met mine. We shared a knowing sadness. He knew that I knew he had been scolded. He was embarrassed both for the rudeness of his wife to me, but the lack of respect she showed him. I too, was embarrassed for him. How could someone treat someone else like that? How hard would it have been for her to at least look at the pie plate. I admit I don't know the backstory, if there is one. Maybe the man has a fetish for pie plates. Maybe he bakes up a storm, pie and pie and expects her to eat them. Maybe he spends too much money, but I doubt any of this is true. Instead, I see a man who is sadly married to someone who doesn't get him.
I said, "Thanks for appreciating my work."
He said, "I really do." And I knew it was one of the highest compliments I'd been paid. Now, I only wish that I could take that moment back. I wish, oh how I wish, that I would have handed him the pie plate and said, "Enjoy!"