I mentioned the "husband bench" in my last post. Now every guy knows what I'm talking about. But since I have very few male followers, I thought I'd clue women in. (And, yeah, I'll be giving out lots of secret guy things in the future, ladies. Just consider it a bonus for reading my blog).
The "husband bench" is always a very uncomfortable piece of plastic situated near the exit of department stores. Cold and sterile, the architects were no fools when they built it. The intention is to get the non-shopper out of the way so the shopper of the couple--straight, gay, doesn't matter--can do loads of shopping, unimpeded by the whining other half.
I imagine in the department store board-room meetings, Mr. Big-Time Department Store Magnate screams to his lackeys, "Make the bench as uncomfortable as possible! We need to keep shoppers moving in and out like cattle to the slaughter-house!" It's what makes America great.
My last visit to the "husband bench" was an eye-opening, yet soul-deadening experience. I took my seat, my back cold against the wall. Next to me, a tired looking man in a ball-cap eyeballed me, nodded, and we both went back to studying our feet. Soon, Ball-Cap's eyes lit up. His time in purgatory was over as his significant other approached, bags in hands. I gave him a farewell smile (but not too big, because I knew my tenure in tedium had just begun). It was time for a changing of the guard. The torch had been passed to me.
A young guy strutted up, full of energy and cockiness, and plopped down next to me. Didn't take long for his youthful vigour to slip into anguished mental pleas to the unfair gods to deliver him from this cruel fate. It was like watching air slip out of a balloon. He looked at me--the elder statesman of the bench--and I gave him a knowing nod, signifying that yes, this his hell, but soon it would all be over. Unless, there was a sudden announced blue-light special in aisle four or something.
After an eternity, celestial trumpets sounded! A glorious spotlight framed my wife, rounding the corner! I turned to the young guy and said, "now, you're in charge." He understood.
Later, I thought about this. And from my simple, yet agonizing, visit to the husband bench, my future series of suspense thrillers was born. It's too early to talk about it much, but the books begin with the meeting of two men on a "husband bench." But more about that later.