“I am so sad,” I said to the Man I Married while I manned my post at the window, watching the Little Monster jog up and down the block.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” MIM said reflexively, not looking up from his magazine.
Thirty seconds later, he looked up, the visible gears kicking in as he remembered our Gottman Institute training about successful couples and how they manage Bids for Connection.
“What are you sad about?” he asked mechanically, as if he were reading from the manual.
Gottman says that happy couples “bid” 100 times in ten minutes—bids can be verbal or non-verbal. What’s a happy couple to do when all one of them wants to do is drink his coffee and read? Indeed, MIM remembers the term as “Bids for Attention,” which was more than I remembered a few years after the workshop. I had to ask MIM, “What’s the Gottman term for that pestering thing?”
Six-hundred times an hour? Hand me some eyeliner and an asp.
I laughed because I could tell about the Gottman thing, and he knew I knew. I could say, “Oh, never mind,” since he would obviously rather read his magazine, which was fair enough, but, since he was trying despite his desire to do something else, I went ahead and answered.
“I’m sad because I’ve lost eight pounds now, and apparently it was all martini weight. Which means I’ll never be able to drink martinis again. I’m very sad about the martinis.” It had been three months since I’d foregone my nightly seven-olive martini and the snacking (and second martini) that went with it.
Then he started to problem solve.
“Well, it’s not that you can’t drink martinis again. You’ll just have to drink them with more moderation, and then you’ll just have to balance them with more vigorous exercise.”
I looked at him.
He looked at me.
He returned to Go and said, “That is really sad about the martinis.”
I laughed again. We might not always manage to respond positively to Bids for Connection (though MIM manages Bids on eBay quite well), but I am sure we must laugh 100 times a day.
Now the Little Monster can easily surpass 100 bids in a quarter hour. Let’s just say that around the 67th bid, I’m not seeing that Lego firedog. All I can see is this: