WASHINGTON — Today, as a special treat, I am going to interview my wife.
Me: How absent-minded am I?
Me: Does this cause . . .
Wife: Actually, I'm not sure if "absent-minded" is the right word. "Absent-minded" suggests a simple disability within the normal range of human behavior. With you, it's more like you have a hole in your brain. Remember the fiasco with the phone call?
Wife: It was a few years ago. You got a phone call. You talked for 15 minutes. You were laughing, arguing, having a good time. After you hung up I asked you who you'd been talking to. You couldn't remember. You spent the next 15 minutes walking around in tight little circles, muttering, "Who the hell was I talking to?"
Me: It was Joel. Our conversations are forgettable.
Wife: It was really disturbing. How about the fiasco with the parking ticket? Remember that?
Wife: We parked in front of our house. You got out and walked around the back of the car to get to the curb. You noticed a parking ticket on the windshield of the car behind us. "When did we get a parking ticket?" you asked.
Me: That other car looked just like ours!
Me: I think it's important we tell the reader this is all true.
Wife: This is all true. So, now we can get to the fiasco from last night.
Wife: It's the reason you're doing this column.
Me: Oh, right. So, tell them what happened last night.
Wife: We couldn't find the car. We walked all around the neighborhood. It was nowhere. You decided it had been stolen.
Me: I didn't really think it had been stolen.
Wife: Yes, you did! When I stopped to talk to our neighbor Kathy, you got all testy because having a stolen car was no time for chitchat. I had to tell you to relax, that no one would steal an 11-year-old car covered with dog hair. Remember?
Me: I do now.
Wife: So, then what happened?
Me: Hold on here. I am interviewing you. So, then what happened?
Wife: Then we thought about the last time the car was driven. It was the night before, when we went to a restaurant. The restaurant was only four blocks from our house, but we had the car because we'd come from somewhere else. We parked on the street near the restaurant. Do you remember what you ordered at dinner?
Wife: You ordered raw oysters, fried oysters and, finally, an oyster "shooter."
Me: I like oysters.
Wife: I know. And to avoid having to watch you consume that disgusting oyster shooter, I made a huge, terrible tactical error. Do you recall what that was?
Me: You left before I did.
Wife: Very good! And I walked home. And the very last thing I said to you, as I left, was, Don't walk home. Don't forget we have the car. Please tell the readers how much time elapsed between that warning and the time you left the restaurant.
Me: About four minutes. Five, tops.
Wife: And when I asked you, last night, absolutely incredulous, if it was at all possible that you had actually walked home the previous evening, what did you say?
Me: I denied it vehemently, outraged that you would even ask such a question.
Wife: And then we found the car, parked near the restaurant.
Wife: And when this forced you to re-remember the previous night, did you, in fact, recall that you had walked home?
Me: Yes. I remembered that, as I left the restaurant, I got a phone call, and it must have distracted me from my important mission of remembering to get the car.
Wife: Who was the call from?
Me: I don't remember.
Gene Weingarten can be reached at
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