I had only been scouring Etsy for 25 hours before I asked him, "Do you like orange and gray together?"
In retrospect, I didn't really want him to have an opinion about this; much like the recent conversation we had about our Christmas card, and how that led us (him) to the awkward idea of shooting a really powerful fan at our faces for the purposes of capturing it on film. I wasn't looking for the kind of idea that makes your skin puddle--but more for validation on how a monogram captures the essence of my very soul. This is, in fact, the battle ground of our marriage, where he uses my hand towels to dry off after a shower, and I fight to retain just a small portion of my dignity.
"Even if it's May, and not October?"
"Um, sure," he said. This sounded suspiciously like he was humoring me, and NOT at all like validation. The proper response in situations such as these is enthusiasm that stops short of wanting to become intimately involved in the future selection of throw pillows.
"Do you want to see if first, before you decide if you like that color combo?"
"It's ORANGE. And GRAY. Right? I think I've got it."
"Are you thinking pumpkin orange, or melon orange?"
"Is there a difference?"
"You're kidding, right? Yes--there's a BIG difference."
"What are we talking about anyway?" Without being too *vague* the answer to this question must never imply that this is about his wardrobe, OR that I am about to spend a lot of money.
"My new iphone case."
"This is important."
"I don't think you know what important means."
"It's important TO ME, and who I declare myself to be with my new iphone case. I'm finding it difficult to translate myself into protective covering."
"For example. Do you like this chevron pattern?" I ask.
"Like the gas station?"
"It's the zig zag pattern that's popular right now. But SEE, there's the problem. It's REALLY popular, like toile in the early 2000's."
"What is your point here?"
"I don't want my case to be one of thousands. And I don't want everyone to know I bought it in 2012. I'm looking for TIMELESS."
"There's such a thing as a TIMELESS iphone cover? I mean, there's no such thing as a timeless iphone, so this seems kind of ridiculous."
"The chevron is really just the start of the problems, really. Then I need to pick out colors, and then a monogram style, and then a frame for the monogram--"
"How much does this cost, exactly?"
"Anywhere between $15 to $80--"
"Then I like whatever costs $15."
"That could mean stripes or chevron or polka dots--pattern is irrelevant to price, actually."
"Is this a trick question?"
"No, it's a LIFE question. If the right answer was always the most expensive thing, then we would ALL just wear nipple guards made out of jeremejevite. I think we can both agree that while it might be expensive, it would be REALLY tacky."
"I'm not agreeing with anything. I'm not even sure how it is we are having a philosophical discussion about a phone case."
"I guess I'm just wondering--how do you KNOW if the aqua and lime green looks better than the light pink and orange? Or if the ikat pattern is about to EXPLODE and be the next big thing?"
"Curly or block monogram? I'm thinking block."
"How. Much. Does. It. Cost?"
"I don't know yet."
"When will you know, exactly? Because that is the point at which I will become interested in this conversation."
"When I find an online retailer who has the EXACT combination of patterns/colors/fonts/monogram frames that I'm looking for. I want to love it. And then cost will be kind of irrelevant, I guess."
"Just remember--a monogram made of baby teeth is GREAT and all, but it's not going to say a damn thing about you, until you get in that habit of throwing the phone in your back pocket, where it will eventually slip out and fall into a public toilet. Now THAT is how I would define you with an iphone."