I have decided that Corey and I do not yet love each other as much as our neighbors love one another. I give you two examples:
1. Cookie, Josie, and the gas cans--One day, I saw my neighbor Cookie struggling under the massive weight of an enormous red gas can, dumping fuel into his wife's tank. Cookie is about 77 years old with a bigger baby belly than mine and a 1930s-era leg brace that looks like Forrest Gump's in the early part of the movie. I regularly tell him he looks like the Tin Man. Anyway, I said, "Cookie, did Josie run out of gas?"
"Ah, no dear. This is just from the fuel perks." Evidently, Cookie and Josie wait until both cars are just about empty AND they have enough Fuel Perks for a free tank. Cookie then drives his bigger car to the pump, fills up, and quickly shoves the dripping nozzle into the waiting gas cans he has lined up on the ground. He thus maximizes his grocery dollars. (For those unfamiliar with Pittsburgh, every time you spend $300 at the grocery store, you earn a free tank of gas at the store's line of gas stations, only I'm pretty sure they mean for you to only fill up your own car)
Corey and I never even considered this. The thought never even entered our minds. This is mostly because Getgo has really shitty gas that makes the engine of the Nissan knock around. We once thought we needed a new transmission or something because I filled up with Getgo gas. We basically let our fuel perks waste away...but even if we didn't I don't think we would have thought of such a thing. We just don't seem to put our heads together to learn how to maximize "the system" yet.
2. J, G, and the letter--when we related the Cookie/Josie story to our other neighbors, they scoffed. They were far more advanced! J and G also waited until both cars were approximately empty and they racked up the free tank of gas--they even went so far as to drive one another's cars depending on who was going further and who was closer to empty. But then they actually coordinated a time to both drive to the gas station together. Only they didn't visit just any gas station. They drove to the one in Lawrenceville, where they were likely to get a full lane to themselves. Since they had gas tanks on opposite sides of their vehicles, J would pull in facing forward and scootch up as far as he could at the pump. G would then back into the same pump and have his tank open and ready to go. J would fill up his bigger car first, then hurry up and move the nozzle over to G's car.
They were really milking the system, because G's car requires 91, so they were getting free, nearly-high-quality gasoline. I told them this was the most romantic thing I'd ever heard in my life. "Yes," J nodded, "It's a true partnership."
This was all until they got caught.
A few weeks ago, they were filling up at their regular Lawrenceville Getgo when the 16-yr-old attendant noticed their shenanigans and shut off the gas pump. I feel like Corey and I would have high tailed it out of there, or I sure would have, for fear of the law, etc. Not J. He went inside and raised a stink! G whispered to me all of the things J said to the poor attendant, using very J-like facial expressions and citing the printed fuel perks policy or something like that, and then told me J wrote a letter to the company. "You know that letter is on someone's office wall somewhere," I told him.
G nodded. "We never did hear a response." Just the mention of the incident had J all in a fit. He decided he was going to show them. He would switch to Cookie's method and buy some big gas cannisters.
All the while, G just sat back and smiled. He knew J had to do this, had to react that way, even if it was irrational. He knew he was powerless to stop the scheming and just sort of went along for the ride...and the free gas. And that is what made me see what I have to look forward to as Corey and I get to know each other even better.
Someday, Corey will realize that I have to keep talking about the awful police officer in the Strip and that I can't let it go, but that I also don't want him to list proactive solutions to the problem (I just want him to say, "That DOES sound terrible! You must have been so upset!").
And maybe I'll come to realize that he needs to have piles of receipts and Cold-eeze wrappers on the hard surfaces of our house and that no amount of bins or drawers or organizational accoutrements I install will change that, so I can stop spending our money at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and just recycle the piles without comment.
When that day comes, we'll stop bickering with each other and getting into arguments and we'll just get past it and work together for a common purpose. Maybe we won't steal gas from Giant Eagle, maybe we'll continue our mission to find free parking for Pirates games or avoid Ticket Master fees. Whatever goods/services we decide to take advantage of, I feel excited for the ways we'll plan it together and make it our own family process. Then we can drink a beer together and laugh at the suckers who don't have our coordination or problem solving skills. That sounds like love to me.