Buttons Reveal Ageless Lesson

You would think very few things would surprise you in a relationship after three decades of being together.

“What is the deal with the buttons on your car,” I said the other night as my wife and I drove across town.

“What do you mean?”

“The stations – the stations are all out of order,” I said.

My wife shot me one of those time-tested looks – a one combining “I have no idea of what you’re talking about” and “whatever it is, you’re wrong”.

To be honest, this refined and efficient look is well earned on my end.

Pressing the button furthest to the left on the dashboard, music began to play. I then pushed the second, third, and fourth with the same result.

“See what I mean,” I said. “The stations are out of order.”

Again, the look flashed my way.

Trying to help, I offered an explanation.

“Look,” I said, repeating the sequence of buttons. “You’ve got stations out of frequency order. Why wouldn’t you have the lowest frequency number at far left and progressively move across to the higher frequency?”

“Because,” she said, “button number one is my favorite station, number two is my next favorite…and so on. Makes perfect sense to me.”

Suddenly a strange silence settled in the car as we waited for the light to change – both of us realizing we’d been completely oblivious to the other’s point of view for all these years. Why, I thought to myself, would you place stations in any order than a nice, neat numerical sequence progressing from left to right? My wife’s plan, using the numbered buttons to rank the stations from favorite to least, felt like total ‘chaos’. To me her theory is more closely aligned to telling me the earth circled the moon.

But to her my theory is ridiculously misguided. The numbered buttons indicated easy access to her favorite stations — a foreign concept never once crossing my mind over all these years.

I was totally stunned we’d somehow traveled a life of three decades, two grown children, and  over a half-dozen cities together and never once crossed this bridge before.

This revelation is special to me. Common logic might lead you to believe the magic of a relationship fades or loses its luster over time. There is truth the fact my wife and I know more about each other than any other living soul on the planet. But there is also truth in the fact that there is always something new for us to discover in each other.

My wife and I have known each other since before we even knew ourselves. But this recent discovery serves to remind me of how wonderful it is to be in love with someone you realize will always hold surprises revealed only through the currency of time.

In the end, we’ve reached an amicable agreement about preset buttons debate: I am wrong and she is right.

That is until we get into my car….

– 30 –


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