My sweetie and I have experienced a strike first hand. When we had been married for about 9 months, we moved back to my hometown. I was 19-years-old and pregnant with our first child and rather ornery…does this story sound vaguely familiar? It was summer (I think, my sweetie might remember it differently) and like any little family, we were struggling with our roles and trying to decide how to divide up tasks. My least favorite task was taking out the trash. The complex had a large dumpster about 100 feet from our front door, and we lived in the basement apartment. It wasn’t that hard, not really, that’s why I couldn’t figure out why my sweetie couldn’t just take out the trash. The crazy thing is that he was feeling just the same way! Before we knew it, the trash bin in our tiny apartment was over-flowing. So being the dutiful wife, I demanded that my sweetie take out the trash. I’m not sure of my choice of words, but they must not have been good… At least they weren’t very effective, because he refused to take out the trash. Ever. Again. Well, I couldn’t have that, so I refused to take out the trash. Ever. Again. There would be no negotiation. We had a full-fledged garbage strike!
It took several days for the bags to really begin stacking up, not to mention the smell. But we each stubbornly refused to budge. By the fourth or fifth day we had at least that many bags stacked against the wall and spilling onto the floor. I appealed to his better nature, by asking (not demanding this time) him to take it out. But the response was still the same, “Why don’t you take it out?” The pile grew.
A couple of days later my sweet grandma stopped by for a visit. The trash pile had become a bit of an eyesore by then, so naturally she was curious. I spilled the entire story, hoping to get her to side with me. She listened, shook her head, and said nothing. We chatted for a while longer and made our plans for a future shopping trip. When she was ready to leave, she reached over, picked up a couple of those heavy, stinky bags and made her way to the front door.
I begged her not to take them, insisting that it was a man’s job to take out the trash and she was messing up my strike, but she didn’t listen. She made her way up the stairs and out to the parking lot. I watched her from the door as my less than five-foot grandma heaved those heavy bags up and into the huge dumpster. Then she climbed in her car and drove away. Later, when my sweetie came home, I told him the story. Then, together we silently hauled all the trash to the dumpster. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten…a nag is a horse, not a wife. And sometimes when there is a strike, nobody wins...or everybody wins, depending on how you look at it. Happy Labor Day!