Things My Parents Argue About Now That They’re Retired

Like every couple who have been together for a significant amount of time, my parents are prone to the occasional argument.

I don’t think that this is particularly their fault. They have been together for thirty years now and being with same person for three decades has its challenges.

In addition, two years ago, my mum joined my dad in the realms of retirement and, as a result, the two of them have been spending more time at home together than they did previously.

Before they both retired, they spent long hours apart working shifts which provided them with a healthy break from each other. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder but presence does a frictionless relationship squander (not sure that this is an actual saying, not even sure that frictionless is a word tbh..)

Like most people, my parent’s never fight about the actual emotional tensions in their relationship.

Instead, they tend to use everyday items and mundane issues as proxies for the underlying problems that they are attempting to address. For example, they recently had an argument over a jar of jam which they insisted was ‘about the jam and nothing but the jam’. However, I personally think it was about my Dad’s percieved lack of emotional transparency.

Like most couples who have enjoyed many years of marriage, my parents have an unparalleled ability to create an argument out of just about anything, including the process of arguing itself. One of their favourite arguments is the ‘We’re Not Having an Argument’ argument in which each of them tries to convince the other that they are not pissed off whilst progressively becoming increasingly pissed off.

This argument, which sometimes feels like an infinite loop of disagreement, can basically be summed up as the following.

The pandemic has also put a lot of additional tension on my parent’s relationship.

Being together for thirty years is challenging.

Being together for thirty years and then retiring and living together in the same house is even more challenging.

Being together for thirty years, retiring and living together in the same house WITH NO FORM OF ESCAPE is another thing altogether.

I first realised that my parent’s relationship was suffering from pandemic pressure a few months ago when they had a full-on meltdown argument over a towel.

The argument started when my dad made the grave mistake of disrupting a towel washing system that my mum had put into place during the first lockdown.

I’m not totally clear on the intricate details of my mum’s towel washing system (something to do with keeping light and dark towels separate) but I assume she made it in an attempt to create some sort of order for herself in the middle of the coronavirus chaos.

Therefore, when my dad tampered with the system, he was messing with one of the things that was helping my mum cling to some semblance of control; this is the only thing I can think of to explain the ferocity of her reaction.

My dad bore the brunt of my mum’s towel-fuelled wrath for around fifteen minutes, making several further impassioned comparisons between her domestic activities and Orwell’s 1984 in the meantime.

The argument eventually climaxed when my dad stormed out of the house in order to get some ‘freedom from oppression’ time and threatened that he might not come back. However, his rebellious resolve didn’t last long as, ten minutes later, he returned home because he needed a wee.

Now, I don’t want you to get the impression that my parents have an awful relationship; they don’t. Obviously, things have been very stressful and uncertain over the last year and a half and this manifests itself in tension and outbursts of rage over insignificant things.

I’ve heard that it is important to look for small blessings in times of hardship and, as far as my parent’s relationship is concerned, I guess one of the small blessings is they haven’t been going on as many car journeys together as they would have done in the before times.

The car is probably one of the worst places to have a squabbling match as it physically impossible to take a time out unless you do a Ladybird and lob yourself into the road. Therefore, any argument that my parents enter into the car tends to escalate and become quite heated.

Obviously having an impassioned argument isn’t one of the things that driving instructors tend to focus on when teaching people to drive safely.

Maybe then, it is a small solace that my parents have been stuck in the house together because at least then I don’t have to worry about them inadvertently crashing because they’ve been fighting about towels.

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The Story Of My First Ever Date.

When I was eight, I went on a date with a boy named Alex.

Alex was nine.

I was quite nervous and excited, as most people tend to be on their first date with an older man.

At the time, I thought that Alex was very cool because he had a pair of Spiderman sunglasses which he wore all the time, even when it was cloudy.

He also owned a sick pair of wheels in the form of a scooter and I therefore assumed that he was the kind of guy who could whisk me off into the sunset – or as close to sunset as we could get before his legs got tired.

I had also once witnessed Alex do a wheelie on his scooter and he hadn’t been wearing a helmet or elbow pads at the time, which was exactly the display of death-defying daredevilry that really got my heart racing.

Looking back, I now realise that my perception of Alex was slightly warped.

In reality, Alex probably looked a bit like this:

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But, to eight year old me, he was a practically a god on two wheels.

img_0087As far as I was concerned, I had bagged myself an absolute stud and, as a result, I had high expectations our date.

However, once we actually sat down together, it quickly became apparent that we had absolutely nothing in common.

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After 10 minutes of uncomfortable silence, Alex cracked.

img_0084I hadn’t been expecting to get engaged 10 minutes into my first ever date.

I thought that things were potentially moving a bit fast but I was new to the world of dating and didn’t really understand how things worked so I just assumed that this was the natural rate at which the majority of relationships progressed.

I reasoned that organising a wedding would give us something to talk about and obviously didn’t realise that there were other ways of escaping an awkward silence than committing myself to a lifetime of matrimony.

We recruited Alex’s friend, Derek, to conduct the ceremony and wrote the word ‘priest’ on his head in Sharpie to make things feel a bit more official.

img_0080-1-e1521363834820.jpgAs a result, our wedding ceremony was a bit unorthodox.img_0089

Towards the end of the ceremony, Derek asked us if we promised to love each other for all eternity.

Alex said that he swore on his Blue Eyes White Dragon Yugioh card which, according to him, was his most prized possession.

He told me that it was one of the best Yugioh cards in existence and that he had been forced to go to some serious measures to acquire it.

For a while, I entertained myself by imagining the noble and chivalrous deeds that my new husband had undertaken in order to obtain the card.

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However, as is often the case in life, the reality of the situation did not exactly match up to my expectations – it turned out that Alex had forged a number of fake Yugioh cards and swapped them with another boy in exchange for the Blue Eyes White Dragon card.

Our marriage disintegrated pretty rapidly from there.

I decided that I could not possibly be wed to such a corrupt and soulless man and decided to annul the marriage there and then.

Alex consequently asked me for his gummy ring back so I took off the ring and ate it right in front of his disbelieving face.

It remains, to this day, the most badass thing that I’ve ever done.

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