When we were first married my wife insisted I put the seat down on the toilet after I used it. Personally, I figured she could just as easily put it down as I could lift it up. To compromise, I took it upon myself to just leave the seat down when I used it. No up and down would be labor-saving for both of us and would probably add years of use to the seat hinge.
At seven in the morning after the first night of the compromise, my wife let me know in a very loud voice, while wiping her rear off with a wash cloth, that my compromise was not acceptable–I hadn’t calculated how inaccurate my aim can be in the middle of the night when I’m half-asleep.
Now we put the seat and the lid down on the toilet when we’re done. Anytime either of us uses it, something has to be lifted, but at least the water droplets don’t swirl around and coat everything within ten feet when we flush, (or so they say) and my wife doesn’t take an unscheduled sitz bath in the middle of the night. I also figure all that bending over is good exercise and should allow me to eat an extra doughnut or two. (Come on, work with me.)
There are always things you have to work out in any relationship. It’s the same with friends. You have to work hard to make some friendships work. Sometimes it seems like the other side isn’t even trying. There is always that one person you have to go the extra mile to meet them halfway. Every group of friends has one. Think hard and I’m sure you know which one of your friends I’m talking about. If you can’t think of anyone, it’s probably you.
Writers love that disagreeable friend. They’re a gold mine. A writer can get so much information out using a person like that in a novel. In my first novel In The Sticks Rhonda Oleson was that friend. She was brash, forward, self-centered and demanded her way at all times. I loved writing her, and the way the other characters reacted to her said so much about them. I don’t think I could tolerate her as a real friend. Someone that outgoing and demanding would bother me. I’ve become rather laid back as I’ve aged, although I’m not above taking a risk now and then. Sometimes I’m such a rebel I even annoy me.
When writing, it’s nice to use characters, especially minor characters, to get information to the reader. A group of people sitting around playing cards can deliver all the information you need to fill out a mystery. You can define people, their personalities and their emotions just through conversation. In real life it doesn’t work that way. Take a group of men. Men will talk about beautiful women, sports, whose farts smell worse and some really gross things, but they don’t talk about their feelings no matter what has happened in their lives. If a man even says, “I feel the Ravens will win the Super Bowl next year.” All the other men will turn their heads and snicker because he said feel. Men in a group don’t feel. A conversation with a group of men will usually go something like this:
Ed: I think I’ll have another slab of this Colby cheese. I don’t have to worry about the cholesterol now that I only have two months to live.
Ben: You only have two months to live? You lucky stiff. I never get to eat cheese anymore. Gives me gas.
Ted: Looks like you won’t need your bass boat next spring and your wife, Cathy, doesn’t fish, so how much do you want for it?
John: Hey Ed, since you’re going to die anyway, would you mind if I asked Cathy out?
Ed: That would be up to Cathy.
John (Taking out his cell phone): Is she home right now?
Two guys will sometimes talk about their feelings with each other–if they’ve been friends since birth and one of them had his arm chopped off and the other one clamped the artery with his teeth to keep him from bleeding to death. Even then they don’t talk about feelings much, because the dirty secret is men don’t have many feelings. We don’t look for the deep emotional significance behind everything that happens. If Bob doesn’t have one of our brownies, a guy doesn’t think it’s because the last time we colored our hair it accidentally ended up the same glorious golden blond as Bob’s hair, and now he hates us because he thinks we copied him, and not taking a brownie is his way of giving us the finger. Guys figure Bob just didn’t want a brownie.
Thinking like that works great for writing mysteries. A wife can see her husband left the toilet seat up, and she knows that her husband’s real name is actually Yuri Bartoszewicz. He has ties to the former KGB and is plotting to sell genetic altered seed corn to the Chinese communists as soon as he kills her and runs her body through an industrial paper shredder. A writer can get a lot of information out there in a short space. Now I need to go. I just thought of a good storyline for a novel, and I have to go to the bathroom.