A careful perusal of Zazzy and my medicine cabinet reveals an interesting truth: there is a “Hers” shelf and a “His and Hers” shelf. The top shelf is overflowing with makeup thingies and perfume and female products and hair doodads and things that look like medieval torture devices. The next shelf is a hodgepodge of colognes, hair products, and facial hair grooming tools (all mine) alongside the Q-Tip holder, contact solution, and mouth wash (all shared). Further investigation reveals the same holds true of the drawers under the sink, one of which is entirely filled with her things and another filled with things belonging to the both of us. In fact, for a long time I thought they were both her drawers until she pointed out a gift set of toiletries I received several years ago buried in the bottom after our Minneapolis bathroom remodeling.
There was a time this would have bothered me. I mean, it would have really bothered me. And despite much maturity and growth since that time, it is still something that caught my eye. It felt wrong. Unfair. Indicative of a greater flaw in our relationship whereby I give and give and she takes and takes. When I am in a particularly bad mood, I can look at things like this as evidence that affirms my persecution complex. “See? Look no further than the lowly bathroom to see just how monstrous you are in this sham we call a marriage!” I don’t actually say that but curmudgeony, brooding Kazzy certainly things such dark things.
But for some reason, just the other day, it all clicked. “Isn’t it obvious? She simply has more stuff. Of course she needs more space.” How petty would it be of me to demand the same shelf space for an objectively smaller quantity of stuff in pursuit of an overly simplistic and ultimately immature idea of fairness? Pretty damn petty, I realized.
Further thought on the matter revealed other areas of our home where the phenomenon existed in the inverse. A perusal of our pantry reveals not one, not two, but five different varieties of salt. Zazzy barely even salts her food. I wonder if she’s ever looked at the spice shelf and said, “Why is a full quarter of our shelf dedicated to salt? Do we really need Himalayan pink sea salt?” I’m sure she hasn’t. Bless her heart, she is a better person than I in this regard. But much like she claims — rightfully! — more space in the bathroom because she needs more of it, I claim — rightfully! — more space in the pantry because I need more of it.
Rather than evidence of some deep flaw or great injustice in our relationship, these little imbalances demonstrate exactly why it works as well as it does: we’ve arrived at a certain equilibrium whereby both of our needs are being met. Sure, the equilibrium gets upset from time to time and, if so motivated to do so, we can find evidence that these minor disruptions are actually major catastrophes (again, something I am far more prone to do than she). Yet return we do to our equilibrium. The bathroom shelving allotment remains what it is and any rearranging of the pantry is a result of my hyper organization/anal retentiveness.
I am proud of our medicine cabinet. Well, maybe not the hemorrhoid cream tucked surreptiously into the back of our shelf But definitely the rest of it.