Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Leather Prada pumps and tears

My husband Thomas Friedman continues to play mum on what he meant by his mysterious remarks about Nicky K.

I'm not sure how much of that has to do with why he left in the first place last week and how much that has to do with the fact that he's pouting still over my comments last Friday?

On the former, Thomas Friedman is the Global Drama Queen -- so his storming out on that line or any other doesn't necessarily mean anything other than the fact that melodrama pumps through his veins.

On the latter?

Was I too harsh?

He went into the closet on Tuesday of last week after writing Wednesday's column. I kept trying to coax him out. Not because I needed him for anything, please -- we're talking about Thomas Friedman, but because he had a column due for Friday's paper.

So when he wouldn't come out by noon Thursday, I moved the computer into the closet. I would have thought he'd have sobered up from his heavy drinking at the Russian embassy; however, that didn't happen. I opened the door and was hit with a heavy blast of vodka fumes. It reminded me of a documentary I heard on KPFA about how moth balls have chemicals in them that build up in the closed closet. So I guess Thomas Friedman was basically a fumes huffer. Look for the soon to be written column on that.

He was wearing my Judith Miller wig which he'd put into cornrows. He claimed it was just a hat because he was cold (which doesn't explain why he was wearing one of my mini-skirts) but I didn't even care.

"Write the damn column," I told him, stepping out of the closet.

He did and he e-mailed it on to Gail Collins who, no doubt, was tickled pink because she loves to hand over prime print real estate to recollections about personal friends.

Then he wanted me to read it. And I wanted him to tell me what he meant by the Nicky K remarks.

Neither of us was budging. Finally, Sunday night, he said, "Betinna, what we have here is a Mexican standoff and, in case you haven't heard, Bully Boy's sending troops to the Mexican border."

He laughed so hard he was rolling around on the carpet. He laughed so hard, I was afraid he was going to soil himself.

Finally, he stopped rolling around and laughing. Right after he soiled himself.

He asked and I said no. Hell no. He wasn't wearing a diaper. I wasn't wearing the Peggy Noonan mask and he hadn't been playing William Safire.

I hate that sex game anyway but, with a little notice, I can numb myself inside enough to play it. (Which really is the story of our marriage.)

He decided to wear a pair of frilly panties (he said he was cold in just the thong) and he'd made the mess, so he could clean it up.

"Two people!" he screamed at me as he stormed off to the bathroom. "It takes two people for a marriage to work!"

Like much of my life before mid-2005, I don't remember my wedding. (With regards to the wedding, that may be God being merciful.)

So I shouted out through the closed bathroom door, "I seriously doubt I made a vow to love, honor and wipe your ass!"

Oh, he was mad when he came out.

He yelled about how easy I had it and how hard he worked. I offered back, in loud tones, that he wouldn't even have a job if it weren't for me. Not only did I beg Gail Collins to forgive him every time he got on her bad side (which might not be all Thomas Friedman's fault -- in all the time I've know Gail and looked at her, I've never found her good side -- a problem professional photographers have as well), but I was also the only one forcing him to write those full of beans columns.

"Full of beans!" Thomas Friedman cried, seizing on the phrase. "I knew you read 'Shoe Leather and Tears'!"

"I never said I didn't," I shot back. "In fact, the empty container of Dramamine should have been your first clue that I did wade through that nonsense!"

"Nonsense!" Thomas Friedman gasped, his large hand thrown back against his forehead.

"Shall I get the vapors, Blanche?"

"You continue to fail to grasp that you are married to a creative person," Thomas Friedman snarled at me.

"And you continue to fail to grasp that no one opens the op-ed page to hear itty bitty Tommy Friedman thinks all Arabs are bad! But at least that racist nonsense beats your wasting everyone's time with obits or didn't you know that the paper already has an obituary section? Apparently Gail Collins didn't know either which is why we also got an editorial shoved off on us!"

"You just take that back!" Thomas Friedman said waving his finger at me.

"Or what? You'll burst into tears and go back to hiding in the closet!"

It was getting very Thomas Friedman in the living room. Translation, ugly, real ugly.

"I am a professional reporter!" Thomas Friedman hollered as he stamped his foot repeatedly on the carpet.

"Oh, who told you that? Dexter Filkins!"

"A.M. Rosenthal was a great man!"

"He was an anti-Arab racist! And what kind of a name is A.M. Rosnethal? Was he twins? Did they name his brother P.M.?"

"You are speaking of the dead! How dare you! He was no more racist than I!"

"You're a racist too! That's why you got along!"

"Excuse me, Betinna, I cannot be a racist, I am married to a colored woman! I mean that in a 'woman of color' way before you get all high and mighty! A racist does not marry out of his own race!"

"Well alert the NAACP and see if you can get an Image award off that!"

"I am not a racist!" Thomas Friedman yelled as he began pacing around the living room.

"Racist and drama queen!"

"Just because I sometimes enjoy a nice Prada pump does not make me a queen!" Thomas Friedman insisted. "I have flat feet! I need the built in arches! You have never understood me! Never!"

"And you've never understood that inventing a cabbie who you claim carries your columns around with him isn't talking to real people! Where do you get off slamming bloggers who you feel don't do reporting? For someone who writes War! War! War! all the time, maybe you should take your fat ass to peace rally -- like the kids did and reported on it while the lousy paper you work for wrote a bad sampler and then basically ignored it!"

"I cannot believe you said that!" Thomas Friedman squealed as he stopped pacing and clutched his chest.

"Well, it's true. You write about war all the time and you can't be bothered to attend a peace rally. How is that living up to your hero Leon Daniel's idea of being out and about and writing of what you see?"

"I cannot believe you said that!" Thomas Friedman repeated, his eyes welling with tears.

I started thinking: Geez, maybe Leon Daniels was actually a person who meant more to Thomas Friedman than Thomas Friedman meant to Thomas Friedman?

I was starting to feel a little guilty. But then I stopped.

"How dare you, Bettina! How dare you! How dare you call me a," here Thomas Friedman's face screwed into a mask of rage as he sapt out the end of the sentence, "fat ass!"

Sobbing and wailing, he ran to the bedroom and slammed the door.

"Shoe Leather and Tears"? Try leather Prada pumps and tears. The column he wrote for tomorrow should be quite interesting. "Interesting." I didn't say good.