“Are you mad at me?” is one of the most common questions that couples ask one another. This classic question dates back to Prehistoric times. It was first uttered by a Tyrannosaurus Rex when he was afraid that his Brontosaurus wife was upset with him.
Of course he didn’t ask this question out loud and in English; that would be ridiculous. He wrote it with a rock on the wall of their love cave, which was later found by the Romans and translated by Marie Antoinette before she died of a red velvet cupcake overdose. And that ladies and gentleman, is your history and science lesson for the day.
As you can tell, history and science are not my strong suits. Sure, I took both classes at the prestigious University of Wisconsin…River Falls, but at that time, I had undiagnosed ADD and spent most classes feverishly shaking my leg under my desk, thinking about the scrapbooks I would never finish, doodling in my notebook in a desperate attempt to finally master the art of drawing a successful 3D cube and being distracted by a classmate whom I had a crush on.
I liked staring at his feet. He wore Converse tennis shoes and tied his shoe laces around his ankles. At the time, I thought his shoe lace placement was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
I imagined that he did this in order to rebel against an oppressive world led by Fred Rogers and his “Neighborhood” – a world of obsessive compulsive patterns that conditioned us to believe that we could only feel whole if upon entering our homes each day, we sang a song begging people to be our neighbors while putting on a cardigan sweater and the same pair of blue tennis shoes that we tied the “right way.”
From the ankles down, he was living off the grid and raging against a machine of societal norms that were forced upon children of the 70’s and 80’s by public television. His rebellious nature and passion for being the change he wanted to see in the world, was intoxicating.
Sadly, ten years later, this passion is gone. From the looks of his Facebook page, he’s given up the fight. He’s married now. Everyone’s married. And in holy matrimony one must tie his or her shoes the “right way.”
I often wonder why we ask a question we already know the answer to. If you have to ask a person if they are mad at you, they most likely are. This question is most commonly asked during a disagreement, after you’ve said something inconsiderate or after you are caught cyberstalking the boy you had a crush on in college.
This question is never asked during a picnic in the park on a sunny spring day while the two of you blissfully ponder the names of your future children. Instead it’s asked while sitting in a 98 Honda Civic in the drive-thru line at Arby’s after he’s given you the silent treatment for the past 5 miles because you woke him up at five in the morning to express how hurt you are that he gave you the “Way to have no self-control, fatty” look after you finished an entire pizookie during dinner.
You then wouldn’t let him go back to sleep until he assured you that the giant cookie skillet you inhaled in less than two minutes was actually quite small and that it was probably only 100 calories since you saved a corner piece for him. Sure, he didn’t eat that piece, you did, but the offer was given.
Then you locked yourself in the bathroom and cried until he demanded you open the door or he was leaving forever. In this case, there is no reason to ask, “Are you mad at me?” It’s safe to assume that he is.
His silence speaks volumes and the fact that six hours later you are now in line at Arby’s is definitely a sign that you are both eating your feelings.
So in the spirit of my once rebellious and progressive college crush, I am going to attempt NOT to ask such an obvious question in my relationship.
Instead I will assume that he is definitely mad when I make him an hour late to every function we attend due to my procrastination and the fact that I still believe that I can “be ready in five minutes.”
In lieu of asking this question, I will apologize, promise to work on my lack of time perception and offer to buy him Arby’s.