Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Pretty Serious Dispute

I need you to solve a debate that is make or break for my marriage. 

Skylar, who is wrong, thinks it's rude when I'm working or writing and he starts trying to talk to me and I very politely ignore him completely. He also thinks it's rude when I mindlessly respond with a curt "uh-uh" without ever looking at him. 

Obviously he, who is wrong, would characterize this differently than I have. He would incorrectly tell you that I'm not "politely" ignoring him and that the fact that I'm ignoring him is inherently impolite, but nonetheless, I'm not doing it "politely" anyway. He would falsely say that all he's doing is trying to treasure the few seconds we have together, which his horrid schedule barely and rarely deigns to allow, and that my refusal to join him in that honorable quest in fact makes me quite rude.

Then I'd interrupt at this point (but I'd do it politely, obviously) and I'd say "no one made you go learn how to put cameras up people's butts and look at poop through a microscope" and he'd cut me off there and yell "for the last time, that is not what I do all day." And then I'd remind him that it's rude to yell and interrupt so maybe a little self-reflection would be a better use of his time than this current escapade of projection. 

He'd roll his eyes at that point and say it's "useless" arguing with me, which is curious, because he would then continue to argue with me. And look, I'd suggest that if you're doing something you think is useless, that probably says a lot more about you than it ever could about me. 

At some point he'd double down on the guilt-tripping, saying something about how if my work is more important than the careful preservation of our sacred bonds of matrimony which a lot of people fought and died for us to have the right to even pursue in the first place--he'd definitely add that part just to drive the dagger in a little deeper--he'd say if my work is more important than that then he'd like to see exactly what that work is so he can at least find out what I think is more important than him. 

But the thing is, this man does not want to have a guilt-trip war with me. For one, his guilty conscience is way more sensitive than mine. He literally married me just because he was worried I would be lonely if he didn't and my loneliness would be his fault.

Secondly, I, Eli McCann, was raised in the Cathie McCann School Of Guilt Tripping, where one lesson included a morning in 1994 when I made fun of a school crossing guard in front of my mother and she snapped back "I hope that poor woman doesn't die today having the last thing said about her the product of thoughtless cruelty."

So as soon as he went there with the whole "if work is more important to you than me and gay rights and everything Judy Garland did for you" I'd fire back, "I'm sorry that I'm working so hard to support our family during These Unprecedented Times of Uncertainty."

At that point he'd just start staring into his phone because this conversation is now a rerun and he doesn't make time for reruns. 

Not while he's so busy studying poop.

Look how smug he is.

Now, please enjoy some Strangerville:

This time in Strangerville, Eli thinks you should probably vote to retain your judges, Meg gave some bad medical advice and now you all have tuberculosis, and a woman receives a postcard from beyond the grave.


Haunted Postcard, by Emily Tsitrian (music by Loyalty Freak Music)

Production by Eli McCann, Meg Walter, & The Beehive 

~It Just Gets Stranger 


  1. Sorry not sorry I side with Skylar. Not even my super advanced sense of guilt can make me feel guilty for betraying you. My mom obviously did not guilt me enough growing up and I probably need therapy for that now. Or something? I’m starting to get confused about which way this goes.

  2. Did you mean conscience instead of conscious? I get confused by those because I read conscience for a long time as con-science and didn’t really assign a meaning to that strangeness

  3. My mom gets so focused in things that if you start talking to her without making sure you have her attention first, she genuinely doesn’t hear a word you say. She worked from home most of my childhood so that drove me nuts that if I needed my mom, I didn’t always know if I had her attention or not.

    But I do think it’s rude in and of itself to interrupt a person at work and expect their immediate attention. People need to find a stopping point so they can shift their focus without losing their train of thought.

    Tl;dr — I understand Skylar’s frustration, but think if the situation isn’t being approached right in the first place it’s not unreasonable or rude of you not to drop everything and give him your undying attention.

  4. My husband will go on a stream of consciousness streak while I'm doing something very important like scrolling through Instagram and then get annoyed with me when I don't pay attention or retain his aloud thinking process. Which I suppose is fair. But also, in my defense, sometimes I'm doing something OTHER than Instagram (like "work"). So what I'm saying is that it seems we have the same marriage.

  5. I love you and will never, ever side against you.

    Conversely, I adore Skylar and will never, ever side against him.

    But work is work. Can you call him at work any time of the day to discuss things? I'm guessing not. So he needs to give you the same courtesy when you are working. Yes, your hours together are limited by BOTH your professions. You need to work around that.

    Now, if your just surfing some kind of gay Utahan porn, perhaps you can tear yourself away to give Precious some attention.

    1. ^^^^^ THIS!
      My 'office' is in the living room and my son's (he's 11) 'classroom' is in his bedroom. He is constantly coming out of his room to talk to me about a video game or lego set. When I get snippy about being in the middle of work, he tries guilting me or asking what it is I'm actually working on. (Either thing can derail what little motivation I had managed to scrape together to get stuff done.) I make it a point to not go into his room while he is in class and I wish he would show me the same courtesy (within reason) to not come into my office during that time.

  6. I love everything about this post. Your relationship makes me smile.

  7. My husband and I had the opposite argument this morning.
    Him - starts talking to me after being in the same room both working from home for almost an hour
    Me - So now you're going to talk to me. You couldn't even say good morning and HOUR ago.
    Him - You were working and looked busy I didn't want to interrupt. You didn't say good morning either.
    Me - I was testing you. I always say it first.
    Him - repeating that I looked busy.
    Me - I'm never too busy for a good morning.
    Him - Fine, good morning.
    Me - Good morning (said in a chipper sing song voice)

    I'm not sure how I can be expected to deal with this office "drama". 🤣

  8. Clear and consistent boundaries!

    Work time may or may not be a good time to bother someone. It largely depends on whether the person is in the middle of a pressing project. The whole square diagram with important/not important against time-sensitive/not-time-sensitive comes to mind. If you are in the middle of something time-sensitive for work, regardless of whether it is important or not, you likely don't have the bandwidth to be interrupted. An important project that isn't time sensitive may still need a stopping point before you can engage outside of it (don't want to stop in the middle of a paragraph or even a sentence if you're in the middle of writing), and something not-time-sensitive and unimportant can likely be interrupted whenever.

    My wife will call me when I'm at work, and if I'm leading a training or speaking with a client or on my work phone or in a meeting with my boss, I won't pick up. And when I call her back, she'll accuse me of screening her calls. It's what we do. But if I'm not in the middle of something pressing, I'll pick up. Or if I am, I'll pick up, tell her I'm the middle of something pressing and only have time to ask if I can call back later, and then hang up on her regardless of her response.

    She works from home, so sometimes I'll try to talk to her and she'll shush me, or make me talk to her hand, or throw things at me, or detonate explosives or something to make me go away. I'm not sure, I usually black out and come to in the kitchen cooking something a few minutes later.

    1. “I'll pick up. Or if I am, I'll pick up, tell her I'm the middle of something pressing and only have time to ask if I can call back later, and then hang up on her regardless of her response.” Haha that’s gold

  9. Welcome to another classic marital argument over whose time is more important. If my husband insists that it's important, he can start the conversation with a passionate kiss to really get my attention. That's always a good way to gauge whether we have time for conversation or something more! Check the camera light first... Hasn't Utah passed anti-pornography laws?

  10. Once upon a time my roommate came in while I was working and I really didn't tune into what she was saying, because, again, working. But then she didn't come home for a few days and I was rather concerned and ended up calling her parents to make sure she was okay. She'd come in to tell me she was going home for the weekend and going on a date, and happened to be on the date when I called her parents, so that scared them a little bit. Whoops. But I WAS WORKING.

  11. Why can’t you work when Skylar is off spending endless hours studying poop and not when he is home for his twenty minutes of free time? Poor Skylar is lonely for the love of his life and he is rejected for something silly like work. I’m on team Skylar.


    A few weeks ago you talked about how people gush over each other on social media right before they split us AS you were gushing over Skylar. And NOW you're having arguments about not spending enough time together and communication . . . IS THIS A SIGN OF IMPENDING DOOM!?!?!?!?