I like to tease the Bean.
I try to take him seriously and deal with him a mature, straightforward manner…
But then he gets too serious.
And once he gets all serious/adult/mature/stuck-up, it brings out the little sister in me.
When I look at him, I no longer see an intelligent, handsome man who is joined together with me within the bonds of holy matrimony.
I see someone who needs to be teased, and teased hard.
See, the problem with The Bean is that he is very good at what he does. He is very intelligent, and very persuasive and he started excelling in the business world before he was even allowed to legally drink. We’re only three weeks apart in age, but while I was running around, enjoying lazy summer afternoons, horses, and traveling around the state in my beat up old ’91 Ford Ranger, he was spearheading the development of overseas production plants and working 60 hour weeks to get ahead.
He is used to being taken seriously.
Taking things seriously has never been my strong suit.
What makes it even worse is that he never really tells me “No.” I mean, can you blame me? Who can resist such an open door?
As a little sister, I’m familiar with the way teasing usually goes down.
The other person becomes annoyed.
I pick on them harder.
The other person becomes even more annoyed.
I continue picking on them.
The other person snaps at me to “KNOCK IT OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE.”
I heave a contented sigh at a job well-done and wander off to go find another victim.
The Bean never says “No”.
He never says “Quit.”
He never says “Leave me alone.”
During the first few days of our marriage, I remember actively trying to find his breaking point.
What happened if I waited until he was asleep and wrote all over his back with a permanent marker?
Sadly, nothing. The joke was on me – I chose to play my practical joke on a too-warm summer night, and with the lack of air conditioning the Bean just sweated the marker off and stained my favorite sheets.
What happened if I sang the same song thirty times in a row while sitting beside him in a car? THEN would he tell me to be quiet?
The Bean ignored me stoically, hands firmly placed at ten and two, executing safe lane changes and dutifully checking the rearview mirror on a regular basis like the DMV handbook recommends.
What about if I poked him? What would happen if I poked his arm… and then continued poking him even after he’d said “What?” I tried this one day while waiting in line at the store. The Bean ignored me, continuing to place the items on the conveyor belt.
I shifted my weight, annoyed. Where was his breaking point? I upped the ante, moving from poking his arm to slowly poking his head, waiting for some sign of annoyance. An angry look? A grumpy sigh?
Nothing. The Bean continued along with his purchase, digging in his wallet for his ATM card.
I decided to go all out – slowly, giving him every chance possible to avert his head or smack my hand away, I extended my finger, aiming towards his eyeball. Surely. Surely he’ll tell me to stop before I poke his eyeball.
The Bean ignored me, squinting his one eye shut as he continued on with his transaction.
Fascinated, I tried it again. The slooooow finger of doom crept towards his eyeball.
The only sign he noticed it was that he squinted his eye shut milliseconds before I actually touched it.
“STOP IT!” said the cashier in a frustrated, annoyed tone. “LEAVE HIS EYE ALONE.”
I looked up, startled, to find myself beneath the baleful glance of an extremely annoyed woman in her late 50s. Mollified, I let my hand drop back down to my side. Well. At least I’d gotten a reaction from someone.
You know, now that I think about it, I really only managed to get a good reaction out of him one time. Late one evening while we were still living in Long Beach, I waited until he fell asleep, then snuck into the kitchen. I grabbed one of our gigantic, plastic tumblers we used as drinking glasses and filled it full of water, hiding it in on the bottom shelf of our refrigerator. The glasses were enormous – they probably held somewhere close to 30 ounces of water. Snickering, I crept back to bed and fell asleep.
The next morning, as The Bean stumbled sleepily into the bathroom to shower before work, I feigned sleep.
I waited until I heard the sound of the shower door close before throwing off the blankets and tiptoeing into the kitchen to retrieve my gigantic glass of frigid, icy cold water.
There are many disadvantages to living in an absurdly tiny apartment; however, this was one of the times when I managed to make it work in my favor. The bathroom may have been minuscule, but clambering up to stand on the toilet seat put me in a wonderful vantage point above the shower.
“Oh, Beeeeean,” I sang out gaily as I slowly tipped the icy water onto his head.
“Crap! ACK! COLD! COLD! ACK!” said The Bean eloquently as he hopped around the tiny box of a shower in a failed attempt to avoid the icy stream.
“What’s the matter?” I continued in my singsong voice. “It’s just water… you’re already wet….”
“Cold! COLD COLD! ACK! WHY? WHY?! QUIT IT! QUIT IT! QUIT—BBblbllbblbl!” He gasped as dumped the remaining water on his head.
I smiled in satisfaction and hopped off the toilet seat.
Success at last.