Amy and I were headed to a lecture that evening, so this had suddenly gotten tricky: Instead of picking her up, I was now headed the other direction; Amy would have to get her own ride to the lecture. I was going to be lucky if I made it at all. I arrived home in the chaos of a babysitter changing-of-the-guard while the kids went ape about the power outage.
LongStoryShort: I got the power back on relatively quickly. That's always a relief, based on the money we had just saved. Amy was going to be glad.
Hmmmm, I thought. Amy was going to be glad.
I called her. She was still en route to the lecture.
"It's back on," I said. "Everything seems to be fine."
"Great!" she said. "So you can still make it?"
"I'm on my way out the door." I paused. "You know, I'm billing you $130 for this." She laughed. "But don't worry about it," I assured her. "I'm certain we can work out an arrangement for compensation that doesn't have to involve money." She laughed again. We talked for another couple of minutes as I got my coat on, and as the little one talked to her briefly on the phone, but before I hung up, I whispered: "Yesssssss! I get to save a coupon! It's a freebie!"
+ + +
Several hours later, Amy and I were home, my head in her lap, the kids asleep. Because we had been out and hadn't had to go through the usual (exhausting) ritual of getting little ones to bed, she was exceedingly awake.
"I'm thinking about submitting my bill for the electrical work," I told her. She laughed and kissed me. "What do you think?" I pushed.
She avoided a direct answer for a few minutes as we talked about other things, and then finally said, "You know, I don't think I'm in the mood. How can you be in the mood after that intense lecture tonight?"
"That's a whole different part of my brain. It has nothing to do with the part working right now."
"But it was such a cerebral night," she said. "It doesn't put me in the frame of mind for this."
Cerebral? Was she kidding?
I pointed out that cerebral things were exactly the kind of things that tend to turn me on ... and I thought that was the case with her too.
"It does, but ... not that way. It's just that--"
"You know what?" I cut her off. "I'm whining. I hear myself whining about this. That's totally not what I want to be doing. This was supposed to be a fun thing, and it's going the wrong way. So I'm totally cool with a rain check."
That was that. In the same way that every grope doesn't have to turn to sex, every rejection of advances does not have to turn into another lengthy discussion about our unbalanced libidos.
But I did warn her about a simple fact of business: If she doesn't remit, I'm coming back later to collect. With interest.