Is it just me, or do married people fight about the most moronic things? If you’re married, I bet you’ll understand when I tell you a pizza started World War III at the Smirnov house a few days ago. Pizza toppings, to be specific.
The Russian had just awoken from a snooze on the sofa. He does not rouse from slumber gracefully. He is as grumpy as a bear on a chain being poked with a stick and forced to dance for coin-throwing tourists. Not that you see a lot of dancing bears around these days, but you get the picture.
Dinner was discussed. Pizza. I take instructions regarding toppings. The Russian likes anchovies and grilled chicken (I know. Please.) And in the middle of placing my order with the Nobel laureate on the other end of the line at the pizza joint, I forgot — did he want anchovies and grilled chicken all over the pie, or anchovies on one side and grilled chicken on the other? I paused to clarify this point and was met with a response bellowed with the fury only a sleep-deprived, English-challenged child of the Soviet era can deliver. Apparently my question caused my beloved some frustration, which sparked a chain reaction of sniping and spousal ass-hattedness that carried on for a good half hour.
On the sidelines for this infantile display was of course our six-year old son. He’s old enough now that he thinks it’s his job to diffuse our arguments — sometimes he does it by being naughty and distracting us, this time he did it with art. Maybe because it was handy on a nearby bookshelf, maybe because he knows how much I love painting — whatever the reason, my sweet son grabbed our Phaidon Art Book for Children and flipped the pages as fast as his little hands could manage till he got to this image:
“All Calm” was the headline at the top of the page. My son pointed to the picture and told me this is how he wanted me to be.
The painting is “Poetry of Silence” by Vilhem Hammershoi. It stopped me in my tracks. I’m not sure what inspired my son to connect the dots quite like that — on the one hand, I love that he turned to art to express himself. On the other hand, I hate that he had to do it in the first place.
I don’t have much to say for myself. The pizza arrived, anchovies were consumed and yes — all was calm at the Smirnov house. Perhaps next time the Russian and I will resolve our disagreements with the poetry of relative silence.
For the love of the six-year old with the art book in his arms, we have to try.