Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Too Much Is Never Enough

JV: What do you live with Tim?

Tim: I live with my husband who I have renamed ‘too much is never enough.’

JV: Mmhmm.

Tim: I won’t give you the rest of his name because he works at the ABC and he might hear us.

JV: Oh okay! What area of the ABC might he work in Tim?

Tim: Part of the television department.

JV: Part of the television department...okay...Go on, what does this husband do?

Tim: He thinks a small amount of something is good so therefore a large amount of the same thing is always going to be that much better. So the front loading washing machine is always in suds lock because he always puts in a lot of soap.

JV: Mm.

Tim: A small dinner party for four people will always become a dinner party for eight adults and six children.

JV: So he’ll just keep on inviting people? You’ve had in your mind ‘this will be a lovely intimate occasion and a chance for us to get to know Eric and Dave,’ and suddenly there’s 15 people there.

Tim: That’s right, and the Camparis that we serve to start off have always got too much Campari in them and not enough blood orange so everyone’s drunk before we even start eating.

JV: Right, right.

Tim: And a three course dinner becomes and eight course dinner, you know.

JV: Wow. So excessive in everything?

Tim: Everything!

JV: Mm...and how have you tried to deal with this?

Tim: Well I’ve given him the name ‘too much is never enough.’ And...That’s pretty much all you can do now.

JV: So your only reaction to this is a bit of a nickname?

Tim: Well, I used to pull him up on things and ask why but I long ago gave up trying to change him.

JV: How long have you been together?

Tim: Thirteen years.

JV: So I imagine, in the first year or two, you’d think it was specific. You put too many suds in the washing machine. You put too much Campari in the cocktails. When did you realise he put too much into everything?

Tim: It’s been a gradual realisation over a period of time but it really dawned on me maybe five years ago. I thought ‘this is just a universal behaviour.’

JV: Yeah that’s what I mean because I would imagine at first you’d go ‘don’t put so many suds in the washing machine.’ You’d be trying to deal with the specific issue. Was that what happened?

Tim: Pretty much. It sort of started with one thing and then it was another thing and know...he mows the lawn every week, and if two tomato bushes are going to produce enough beautiful tomatoes then we’ll have 25 tomato bushes in the garden.

JV: So everything!


JV: Everything is bigger and bigger. Wow!

Tim: It’s hilarious! You have to laugh.

JV: Well, are you laughing about it Tim?

Tim: (in a high voice) I am.

JV: A little bit hysterically. Does he think of you as stingy?

Tim: (laughs)

JV: Is the flip side ‘that’d be Tim, he doesn’t know how to have fun, Mr keep it to himself,’?

Tim: Yeah ‘the fun police’ is what he calls me. Because I only have two pairs of shoes going at any one point in time and he’ll have about 24.

JV: So have you ever tried to talk to him about the fact that this is across all areas? ‘You have a character flaw my friend, you do everything to excess.’

Tim: Yes. It’s become a joke now amongst all of our friends as well. It’s a very endearing quality that he’s so enthusiastic about everything that... yeah... everything. I’ve come to embrace it as a particular character trait which is more endearing than it is annoying.

JV: Yeah. Well Producer Laura has reminded us of the Oscar Wilde quote: ‘Moderation is fatal, nothing succeeds like excess.’

Tim: Well he’s extremely successful.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our Door's Always Open

JV: What do you live with?

Maureen: I live with a husband who has a severe aversion to closing doors.

JV: Really?

Maureen: He will not close any door, ever.

JV: Now is this just doors to rooms or cupboard doors?

Maureen: This is all doors. His normal routine after work would be to come in, park the car and leave the car door open, or leave the car door open, or if the car door does close, leave the window down. Then he opens the fly screen which remains open and the front door remains open. Then he’ll go to the bedroom to the wardrobe and get out clothes and leave the wardrobe open. You can walk around the house and know everywhere he’s been because the pantry will be open, the wardrobe door will be open. Everything is just left open.

JV: So he goes out the back door to water the pot plants...

Maureen: ...leaves it open. Just does not ever close a door.

JV: Right. How long have you been together?

Maureen: We’ve just had our 20th wedding anniversary and we were together 6 years before that.

JV: And in that time has the leaving the door open become worse?

Maureen: Oh it’s just always been the same. He’s never, ever, closed the door. We talked about it early in the marriage. It used to really drive me insane and now it still drives me insane. But he thinks I’m insane, he can’t see an issue with it whatsoever.

JV: (laughs)

Maureen: He thinks he’s doing me a favour, like I don’t need to open the wardrobe door or the pantry door now.

JV: So he could call in and say ‘I live with this woman who thinks it’s mad that I leave the car door open,’?

Maureen: Exactly. He thinks I’m totally insane because it really upsets me that the doors are left open.

JV: But leaving the car door open, I mean, that might leave the light on which drains the battery..

Maureen: Well quite often the key will still be in the ignition with the radio playing. When you walk out at 11 o’clock at night, the door’s open, the key’s in the ignition and the radio’s playing.

JV: oh!

Maureen: Yep. Quite often.

JV: So, I mean there’s issues beyond whether it’s just kind of ‘I’m a bit casual about it, it doesn’t really matter.’

Maureen: Even in August the heater’s on in the house but no, the door’s wide open.

JV: So all the heat escapes.

Maureen: Yes, yes. The freezing southerly blows in the lounge room.

JV: Is the car parked on the street, or is it a garage?

Maureen: No, no, it’s in the driveway.

JV: So therefore anybody could walk in while the car’s open?

Maureen: Of course...they could drive away, or walk into the house. Yep.

JV: What about when he leaves? Does he leave the front door open when he leaves?

Maureen: Yes, of course.

JV: So leaves in the morning and leaves the front door open?

Maureen: Yep. Leaves the front door open. We’re all in bed.

JV: And what about when he gets to work, say, does he leave the doors open there as well?

Maureen: Quite possibly. I’m not quite sure what he does when he gets to work. Quite possibly. I would find it hard to believe that he closes them. I think maybe as a child he was locked behind a door. There may have been an issue.

JV: You’ve thought about whether there’s psychological scarring.

Maureen: I have. I have because I personally like the wardrobe door shut. I can’t go to sleep without it. As a child I used to think there were things in the wardrobe so I need to have it shut to go to sleep. Maybe he’s the opposite. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it.

JV: Sometimes it’s good to look for family traits in these things. Are there brothers or sisters?

Maureen: He’s got an identical twin and I’m pretty sure he’s very similar.

JV: That’s interesting isn’t it?

Maureen: Yes, yes.

JV: Now would you be able to raise this, this evening?

Maureen: I could.

JV: And what sort of reception would you expect to get?

Maureen: He’ll just shake his head and look at me like I’m insane and what’s the issue. He won’t see it as being a problem. He just thinks it’s all me.

JV: What does he do for a living?

Maureen: He’s in air conditioning. (laughs)

JV: That’s almost perfect too isn’t it?

Maureen: An air conditioning mechanic.

JV: Do you think when he’s out there servicing he says ‘now don’t forget to shut the door when you’ve got the air conditioning going in this room,’?

Maureen: Maybe that’s the reason why the house isn’t cooling or heating.

JV: Thank you Maureen. Good luck and thank you for joining us. Now, one of the things I love about this is, of course Maureen has this issue, and now feels better having talked about it. We’re now trying to get some mediation happening in the house. But also, other people may have the same problem. Denise?

Denise: Yes James?

JV: You’re not alone Denise.

Denise: Oh God, James it drives me absolutely insane!

JV: Now my son is 13 years old and has listened to your segment while in the car and he said to me ‘you need to ring James. We’ve got the same problem mum.’ You’ve got the same problem. So, the 13 year old has recognised the problem in the father.

Denise: Correct, and it drives the 13 year old insane as well. Just as it drives me insane.

JV: Any other children?

Denise: No, there’s just the three of us and the dogs, and the cats, and the goats, and the alpacas. And he leaves gates open!

JV: Leaves gates open?

Denise: Gates open! So stock goes wandering.

JV: You’ve got animals so therefore he really should know better. That’s endangering the animals and others.

Denise: Correct. It drives me insane and, when I get home from work, if he beats me home I can see where he’s been all day.

JV: Well this what was Maureen was saying.

Denise: I can track his movements.

JV: And is he at home all day?

Denise: No, no, he comes in and out but if he beats me home I can tell where he’s been and what time he’s been home because the other annoying thing he does is he leaves all the cupboard doors open. So you know if he’s made a cup of tea or he’s been to the pantry...and then the dog gets in the pantry so I get dog biscuits on the floor. And another annoying thing he does is he makes a cup of tea and he leaves the teaspoon on the bench and he never puts it away. I can always tell that he’s made a cup of tea.

JV: Oh...that’s just...really...I mean appalling behaviour.

Denise: Appalling!

JV: You know. Apparently a civilised man and yet he leaves the teaspoon on the bench.

Denise: Yes. Yes. I’m just glad I’m not alone.

JV: You’re not alone Denise. Have you tried to talk to him about it?

Denise: I gave up! Gave up years ago.

JV: What know I said to Maureen would you try and talk about it tonight, would you do the same?

Denise: Oh, I gave up. I think I’ve been married three years longer than Maureen and I’ve given up but maybe the thirteen year old – I’ll tell him when I pick him up from school – he’ll be so happy that I’ve spoken to you James.

JV: Tell the thirteen year old – he’s probably technologically savvy – tell him to record the conversation with his dad. Ah, Linda has written in and said James could you give me the contact details of Maureen? I think she’s having an affair with my husband. There could not be two guys that leave everything open: car doors, front door, every cupboard and drawer. Well that now makes three guys. Three guys that do this as standard. Janet’s got a solution. Janet, how are you today?

Janet: Well actually I think I’m married to Denise’s husband. It’s a little disquieting.

JV: Yeah well Linda think she’s married to Maureen’s husband or Maureen’s having an affair with her husband.

Janet: Well it’s obviously a common affliction.

JV: You would know, I think, if there was an affair going on because they’d leave the door of the lover’s house open.

Janet: Well it couldn’t happen behind closed doors.