the cost of a cheap shot

Yesterday, Jeff and I were doing a bit of shopping. (I was the one doing most of the looking and buying, but he was there too, hence it is valid to say that Jeff and I were shopping.) At one point, I squat down to compare the merits of some ninety-nine cent bamboo placemats. I’m rambling about some decorating “vision” that I’ve had, and I glance over at Jeff. He has also knelt down, but I notice that his face has that glazing-over, on-the-verge-of-sleep look that it so often bears.

I quip, “Oh, are you sleepy already? Hey, I don’t even have my pictures from Nebraska…” I’d just mentioned the Nebraska picture fiasco in an email last week, after he seemed surprised to find that he could fall asleep sitting in a chair. He’s done this no less than three times while around me, and yet he’s surprised at this??

I said, “Yeah, I took that cheap shot,” yet my tone was hardly apologetic. If anything, I recall feeling quite pleased with myself. Then he replied, not meanly just quietly honest, “I could take cheap shots at you too…”

Oooch. Suddenly I was less pleased with myself and more ashamed for being so childish. The topic quickly changed, but this morning I found myself thinking about the exchange again. I had just told my sister after I took the cheap shot in the email that doing so was, as the self-help books say, avoiding the real issue. I’m still pretty raw about him falling asleep while I’m showing him pictures of my trip. Given the way I think he doesn’t really listen to me as it is, that incident was the supreme example of him absolutely not caring what I have to say, and I think about it every time I see him getting sleepy when we’re out. After it happened, I tried to bring it up (in an email), and I even wrote that it was pretty rude. He pretty much dismissed it with, “I blame the screwy hours at my job.”

It occurred to me that maybe I keep bringing it up because I’m hoping it’ll somehow be resolved to my satisfaction. As if I’ll mention it just one more time and he’ll suddenly realize, “Oh, you’re RIGHT! I’m a thoughtless, sleepy JERK! PLEASE FORGIVE ME!”

Right.

Instead, to his honest remark yesterday, I should’ve replied honestly that I guess I keep bringing it up because it really hurt my feelings. I should’ve briefly – not accusingly, just sharing feelings – said my piece about it and then let it go.

Hmm, I still haven’t replied to his email, so maybe I can clear the air then. But at some point, I should probably learn to *talk* to him.

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