Leaving Time
John Norberg, humor columnist s

When a man gets married he commits to his wife. This means a commitment to sometimes going to restaurants he doesn't like, occasional movies he doesn't really want to see, and stores that don't sell golf equipment.

Marriage, after all, is all about compromise. Comprise means agreeing to go to a romantic movie with your wife on Saturday night so you can watch football all day on Sunday. And Monday evening. And Thursday and Friday evening and all afternoon and evening on Saturday.

I didn't say it was a fair compromise. I just said it was a compromise.

I compromise and go to those restaurants that serve fancy salads with my wife because I know there's frozen pizza at home when we get back. And I go to stores with her because if I do I know I'll drive her crazy and she'll want to leave and go home where I can watch football.

Wife: "Why are you following me around the store?”

Me: "Because I don't know what else to do.”

Wife: "You're supposed to shop. You're supposed to pick things up and look at them and consider if you should buy them. You're supposed to look for ideas for decorating the house or new clothes you might like.”

Me: "I should go to that store on the other side of the mall and buy myself another new set of golf clubs. The clubs I have don't hit the ball right.”

Wife: "I think it's time for us to go home.”

The most difficult of all compromises in marriage is when to leave, whether it's a shopping mall or a party. Some people say women are sometimes late getting ready to leave. My wife is always on time, even early. The issue is when to leave the place we're going.

Me: "What time are we going to leave the party?”

Wife: "We aren't even there yet. You want to know when we're going to leave the party before we even arrive?”

Me: "I just like to keep on a schedule and know what our plans are. Why don't we plan to leave at 8?”

Wife: "It's 7:30 right now.”

Me: "Right. We shouldn't over-stay our welcome.”

Wife: "Who's playing tonight?”

I enjoy going to parties. It's just that I wrap things up a lot faster than my wife.

Usually men and women split up at these events. The men get together to talk about sports and complain about politics. The women talk about everything. And since it takes a lot longer to talk about everything than it does to talk about sports and politics the men are finished talking way before the women.

After an hour the men have said everything they have to say. But the women are still going strong.

Eventually all the men start dropping subtle hints to their wives that they're ready to leave.

Wife: "You look like you're ready to go.”

Me: "No, no. Take your time. I'm ready whenever you are.”

Wife: "You're sitting in that chair with your eyes closed.”

Me: "That doesn't mean anything.”

Wife: "You're snoring.”

Men and women are on different schedules. Women are on a social schedule. Men are on a napping schedule.

Men and women are also on different goodbye schedules.

When men say goodbye they shake hands and say, "see ya.” When women say goodbye they hug, one comments on what the other is wearing and before you know it they're planning a shopping trip, talking about where they'll go to lunch and what they'll eat and then one of them mentions a book she's read and then another women enters the conversation and the next thing you know their husbands are sitting on a couch covered in cobwebs.

Me: "Are you ready to go yet?”

Wife: "No. I haven't said goodbye to everyone.”

Me: "Why don't you just shout ‘goodbye' and we can leave?”

Wife: "That would be rude. I just need to talk with a few more people and I'll be ready.”

A few hours later I'm asleep in the car and she's still saying goodbye.

There is only one solution to this. When couples go to a party they need to cut to the chase.

Hostess: "Hello, I'm so glad you could join us. Come in. There are lots of people here you know.”

Me: "Thank you. We had a wonderful time. We're so sorry we have to go. The food was delicious. I wish we could stay longer.”

If you start goodbye as soon as you arrive, by midnight you'll finally be done and ready to go home

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