February 01, 2005

Modern Types, Part 5

He encouraged her to stay home and raise the kids. It made him feel like one of the men he’d grown up admiring, one of those guys from his father’s generation, proud to support an entire family through his own work. Six years later she’s become an overweight, sloppy hausfrau who spends all day in the same spit–up–spattered sweatsuit, letting her leg stubble grow for two weeks at a time because no one ever sees it. He winces whenever he hears the slither of her backless slippers approaching. She never has anything interesting to say—it’s all pediatrician’s appointments and kids’ clothing sales—but she’s always calling him at the office wanting to know what to do about the toilet or whether she should make this or the other thing for dinner, as if he were the answer man or something. Why doesn’t she show some initiative? He’s sure he could do a better job of it than she does, if he had to, if for example they got divorced and he had the kids half the time. He’d show her how to run a tight ship!

Lately the counter girl at the bowling alley has been looking good to him. She’s got a vivacious smile, and he once overheard her say that having kids doesn’t matter to her. She’s only fifteen years younger than him, that’s not so much.