“Do you want to watch ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ with me tonight?”, my wife Brenda asked as I walked into the living room after supper. “It stars Maggie Smith and Judy Dench.”
I squinted my eyes in an effort at some foggy recollection. Brenda tried to rattle any memory of movie stars not named Clint Eastwood or Arnold Schwarzenneggar. “They’re both stars and they’ve been in movies that you don’t want to watch with me at the Rainbow Cinema.”
“On Toonie Tuesdays?” The hamster ambling slowly in my brain’s treadmill was still warming up, slow to work the arthritis out of his old joints. I seldom want to attend a movie younger than three months old if it will cost me more than $3.50, Toonie Tuesday’s new price tag. My daughter wonders why I sneak my own muffins into Tim Horton’s.
“Is it another one of those movies from Edwardian times?” I remembered a failed attempt at watching the opening episode of ‘Downton Abbey’ with my wife. I followed through before she could answer. “No, I don’t think so. The Habs are playing tonight.”
My wife sighed and returned to her newspaper. “At least we have red wine in common.”
“And don’t forget single malt scotch.” I was trying to be agreeable. It’s amazing how many married couples out there need counselling.
Not us, of course.
In our first year of marriage we were both teaching in Lindsay, Ontario. Situated in the heartland of Ontario it is largely a town of rye drinkers. We were delighted to find out in 1986, the year before we were married, that we both had a taste for scotch and the local liquor store was accommodating us by holding a year-long sale on the single-malt variety. This mutual love of the same refreshment inevitably led to a marriage proposal. And fortunately this tidy arrangement also lasted through our first year of marriage , which helped us weather many of our first-year-of-marriage storms.
“The Lord makes ’em and the devil matches’em.” I can still hear my grandfather’s words of wisdom passed on to me during my formative years, as we sat by the wood-burning stove in his kitchen. He would be chewing tobacco while I smoked a cigar, both of them habits that are today ranked lower on the socially-acceptable scale than smoking crack and injecting heroin. Even though many of my relatives never took the plunge, I now regard marriage as an almost mandatory step on the road to learning how to get along and play well and share with others. At the same time I know it is not for everybody. A lawyer friend of mine tells me that a long list of his divorced clients end up living in a single-room apartment without even a vehicle in which to get around town.
I constantly remind myself not to ever hire him as my attorney.
For the sake of marital accord, I did end up watching ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.’ In fact, I enjoyed it so much we also viewed ‘The Second Best Marigold Hotel.’
The Habs are having a terrible season anyway.
And what Sonny Kapoor, the character played by Dev Patel says about life can just as well be applied to the whole institution of marriage: “It will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not yet the end.”