Photo by Muffet
The Ex and I don't argue often. For the most part, we keep our interactions brief but friendly. We are perfectly comfortable sharing space at The Kid's soccer games and birthday parties. But, like any divorced co-parents, we don't always agree. Sometimes we argue, sometimes we annoy the hell out of each other, and sometimes we completely piss each other off. And we have very different ways of dealing with it. I generally talk to him about whatever the issue is, and I usually even use my inside voice. He generally lets me know something's bothering him by lobbing a completely irrelevant personal attack. To his credit, he (almost) always apologizes later and, to my credit, I (almost) never take it personally. And (almost) always, the lashing out belies an underlying insecurity.
Look at me, playing therapist.
For most of our divorced relationship, the attacks have revolved around me and and my "elitist college-educated friends." ("Attacks" is probably too strong a word, but I'm just going to go with it. Who has time for a thesaurus?) The Ex, as you can probably guess, is not college-educated while I am. I don't have an issue with that, but my guess is that he does.
Lately, though, the attacks have taken a new turn. (And I can't help but notice that the origin of the turn coincides quite nicely with The Man's taking up residence in my house. Me thinks we've triggered a new insecurity.)
Look at me, playing therapist again.
During a rather heated child-support conversation last month, The Ex suggested that the food I eat (mostly whole and organic) is "hippie bullshit;" that my concerns about the nutritional value of the slurpees and beef jerky he feeds our son is "hippie bullshit;" that my concern about pesticides and things like BPA is "hippie bullshit;" that the Prius The Man drives is "hippie bullshit;" that limiting time spent playing video games is "hippie bullshit." Even my choice of milk was scrutinized:
The Ex: "I've seen what you have on your windowsill."
Me: [confused silence]
The Ex: "Next to the front door..."
Me: [confused silence]
The Ex: "Those milk bottles..."
Me: "Oh." [confused silence] "Oh?"
The Ex: "...all lined up on the windowsill like a badge of honor."
Me: [nearly laughing tea out my nose] "Badge of honor?! What are you talking about? They're on my windowsill so that I remember to return them to the store. There's a buck-fifty return on those babies."
The Ex: [scoff] "I don't think I should have to pay more for your hippie bullshit."
You might notice that none of these has anything to do with what we were actually talking about: child support. Except, I guess, for his notion that he's somehow overpaying support because I buy milk in glass bottles. (And if you knew how little he's been paying in support, you would understand just how ridiculous that assertion is.)
True to our respective natures, he apologized later and I didn't take it personally (much), though it was a full month before I could pour milk without muttering incredulously under my breath.
But seriously, you guys. If I'm ever in need of a badge of honor, I'm totally going with milk bottles.