Let’s Not Talk About It

For the past few years G and I have been involved in a continuous and somewhat circular conversation that is going nowhere. Perhaps every marriage has a conversation like ours? Maybe each has a different topic, or point, but I imagine the process is the same. It’s a little like being a road trip, except the road is a ring road on the highway of marriage hell.

The road trip begins at an optimistic little town called should we. After packing the car together with a spring in our step and a sense of adventure, we leave should we and head towards a beautiful location called it makes perfect sense. We love it makes perfect sense. We agree continuously while we stay here. We often finish each others sentences and share our perfect sense anecdotes with strangers in local cafes. But once we’re back on the road we inevitably find ourselves at an uncomfortable juncture. We’re at the what if juncture. One of us wonders if we should take a different route and turn left while the other refers back to the original plan. It has to be right. This is where the plans that were talked of in should we and it makes perfect sense start to look shaky. We pull over and look back over the map, one of us thinks we caught the other rolling their eyes, the other stifles a yawn. Exaggerated deep breaths are made. It almost looks like a stalemate and then there’s a break through. We choose a different path but in the same direction, it’s all okay, we agree to keep going. Suddenly the scenery begins to get really pretty and we find ourselves close to lets do it. 

Let’s do it is having a carnival, there’s people in the street and one of us is keen to join the parade. As we turn to grab the arm of our partner we realize they’re not even looking.  They’re back at the car with the map in their hands staring at the what if juncture, they knew we should have turned left.

We both get back in the car. The excitement has worn off, one of us is looking longingly at the parade that has now disappeared into the distance while the other is highlighting the practicalities that appear to be popping up everywhere. As we drive away the road appears to change, speed bumps are followed by pot holes and kilometres of unsurfaced detours. Things get ugly, there’s road kill and litter everywhere.

It’s at this point that we stop at a cheap roadside motel and discover the rooms are more expensive than we thought they’d be, and instead of a parmigiana and a cold beer at the local pub we’ll be sharing a bag of hot chips and continuing on. This is the part where we drive in the worst kind of silence, married silence. One of us eventually then suggests we need to think about it some more. We both know that in the language of marriage this translates to lets not talk about it at all – it’s too hard. We arrive home, put the bags inside and get back to the everyday.

And then one day, after enough time has passed to forget about the road trip, like it’s never happened before, the topic is raised again. Should we?

Every May. Every freaking May.

Every May we talk about whether we should buy a car so we don’t have to rent one in Australia.

The conversation always comes straight after the quote from the car hire company arrives. The quote that leads you to believe that hire cars must now come with personal chauffeurs and on call masseuses. Renting a sedan is expensive, but renting a van to fit a family of six involves hemorrhaging cash on a daily basis. And to enhance the experience of being completely fleeced, you’re then going to be spending your holiday being mistaken for the local courier or locksmith; your hard earned cash is going towards a van that is going to be white, square, automatic, and have the power of a mini bike. Once you’ve got your jet lagged family and the sixteen pieces of luggage squashed into every crevice of the vehicle, you will hit your first incline and mistake the weight of your suitcases and children for a carnival cruise liner. Your new van appears to have the power of a vespa.

In January this year when we were returning out latest postal van to the hire company, we agreed it was time to buy a car for Australia. We then agreed on the make, the model, the timing. And then we hit the ring road and talked about it some more. Insurance. Wear and tear. Who’ll start the car when we’re not there. What if? By the time you add it all up. Maybe we should?

I’m about to contact the hire company again.

What’s your conversation? Or is it just us?

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