The Dandy and I had a good talk the other night.
His job lets him work from home sometimes (software development), and as long as he gets a certain amount of shit done in a day it doesn’t exactly matter when. I’ve seen him opt to work from home and then spend the morning watching YouTube videos and do the actual work in the afternoon and evening. And yet whenever I suggest he works from home so we can run an errand during the day, he acts like I’m being a gigantic, unreasonable asshole.
So the other night (a Saturday) he mentioned that he might want some stuff from Ikea, and I also want some stuff from Ikea, so I said “Well, I have a few days off this week. Maybe one day you could work from home and we can go grab stuff during the day, when it’s not crowded.”
“I can’t just take time off! I have to work!” The Dandy said, irritably.
“I believe I specifically used the phrase work from home.”
“But I don’t have two days off! It’s Saturday night. I only have one more day off: Sunday. You said I had two days off but I don’t.”
“Oh, for – I didn’t say you had any days off. I said that I have some days off, and wondered if you could work from home on one of those so we could make an Ikea run.”
“I can’t! I have a meeting at 9am on Monday!” (WTF? When did I say anything about Monday? My days off are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, which I had mentioned to him about fifty times over the previous few days. And why was he getting so defensive? Why did he not appear to be hearing or comprehending anything I was goddamned saying in that entire conversation?)
“I have to work on Monday, too. Why are you – what are you even -” and then my brain imploded and I said “I CAN’T TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW” and stomped off to my bedroom in a rage and sat up in bed angry-internetting.
After a while, The Dandy came into the room and stood in the doorway looking kind of expectant and conciliatory. I warily closed my laptop and set it aside. He lay down next to me and started petting my back and head, and I still kind of wanted to punch him in the face but I quelled the urge and tried to enjoy the closeness and focus on my breathing and stuff.
The Dandy made small talk for a bit, just talking about how he was gonna reorganize his bedroom furniture and stuff. And then he said “How are you doing?” and it was clear he meant “how angry are you at me/why exactly are you angry/let’s talk this out.”
I managed to stay pretty calm and matter-of-fact and told him that it just seems like a weird discrepancy how if I ask him to work from home, he’ll always get irritated and say that he can’t just do it any old time…but then half the time a day later he’ll be like “the weather looked yucky and I didn’t feel like going out in it so I’m working from home today!” Like yeah he can’t do it all the time but it clearly is a thing he can and will do sometimes on a whim. And if for whatever reason he’ll only do it for himself and not for stuff I want to do with him, so be it, but tell me that, don’t just act like I’m being a crazy asshole for even suggesting he work from home, like I don’t understand the basic concept of needing to get work done in order to get paid. I mean when I’ve suggested running errands during the day he’ll say “I HAVE TO GET MY WORK DONE THO” and yet I’ve seen him restructure his day for his own purposes and then do his actual work at night.
The Dandy said that working from home really is discouraged and he only does it when he’s really, really tired or otherwise feeling like shit. He’s afraid that if he stays home one day to run errands like I suggest, he might really really need a work-at-home day later that week and not be able to take it because he’s already taken advantage of the option recently.
So cool, now I get it. I told him he should’ve just said that in the first place.
I then vented about a time recently that he’d worked from home and needed to complete some stuff at night, and when I asked in the evening if he could possibly walk the dog (I mean literally asked in a tentative tone if he could possibly do it, not “asked” like told him to it), he yelled “I HAVE TO GET WORK DONE!” (I knew that, which was why I’d asked like I did!) and then proceeded to go fix himself a snack and sit at the dining room table eating it for longer than attending to the dog would have taken. Like if he NEEDED TO GET WORK DONE!!!!!111!ELEVENTY! then why the fuck was he wasting twenty minutes eating? When I’m feeling pressured by a deadline I’ll grab a hunk of cheese or something and eat it while doing the thing. Now, in fairness, The Dandy did take the dog out after he’d finished working, and I did appreciate that. I just didn’t like the inconsistency between The Dandy’s words and actions. And I guess I was also feeling jealous that he felt no qualms about reserving time to take care of his own needs. “What’s it like, being able to set aside time to take care of yourself? Is it nice? I bet it’s nice,” I said, and then started to cry.
The Dandy held me and petted me and asked why I don’t feel like I can reserve time for myself. I thought about it and said a big part of it is that I’m accustomed to ignoring what my body needs so often I flat-out don’t realize I need taking care of. But also I feel guilty, like there’s always other stuff I should be doing. Then I realized (but didn’t say) that probably right now it’s the paranoia about earning my keep around here that’s driving me, too. The night I’d asked him to walk the dog? It’s because we’d gone for a huge assload of groceries and I needed to clean out the fridge and then put the new groceries away. And I’d already worked a model shift that day, cleaned the kitchen, made The Dandy lunch for the next day, scooped the cat boxes, taken out several trips’ worth of garbage and recycling, and was generally feeling hypervigilant about “does everything look okay in here? Is there some chore that needs doing and I’m not noticing it and The Dandy will resent me?” and I was starting to bottom out really hard. I didn’t take time out that night to space out and eat some food – too much to do!
I’m feeling a bit more assured lately that The Dandy isn’t expecting me to be some big homemaker, though. And with him shouldering the lion’s share of food and rent expenses, I don’t have to drive myself so hard to get a constant stream of model gigs in order to stay afloat – I can start building days off into my schedule on purpose. I can relax. It’s okay.