Apparently I am not a very good sharer. I've known this most of my life, but the fact was recently reconfirmed for me. When I was little my parents forced me to repeat the phrase, "Take as much as you'd like but leave some for me please," whenever I was forced into a sharing situation. I would sit on my hands and bite my lip to keep from ripping or biting off the hand of the person with whom I was "sharing" my cotton candy or Bubble Yum gum. My mom would take my brother and me to the grocery store. At the check out we could each choose one type of candy. Mind you, this was a couple of times a year because my parents were huge "healthy choices/no sweets" people. I would scarf down my foot long Tootsie Roll before we made it out of the parking lot. And that was pretty fast, since my mom drove a brick red Camaro.
Don't ask me why. It was 1987. I guess they were cool at the time. To give you a visual, my mother is maybe 4'10" in her tallest shoes. Crusing down the road in her Camaro she looked like a soccer mom attempting the ultimate low-rider maneuver. In reality she had phone books piled up just to see over the steering wheel. From the street, however, you'd swear she had leaned the seat all the way back and was jamming out to Kurtis Blow while waiting to pick me up at school. Now this was pre-hydraulic bounce vehicles. But, dammit, if little Patty could have bounced, she would have. This midguided auto selection unfortunately led to other extremely misguided vehicular choices in my household. It opened the door for my brother to purchase the electric blue Camaro. He drove this automotive blemish until 1998, by which point he had become an ordained minister. I'm sure the first day he pulled into the parking lot of the church in Very Affluent Chicago Suburb with his hoop-ti-mobile and gold chain (thank goodness there were no medallions on the chain), the congregation had to swallow pretty hard. The old folks were probably convinced that the church was part of an urban ministry exchange program. Until they heard my brother speak and realized that he was simply a suburban sheep in wolf's clothing.
But, I digress. I would finish my Tootsie Roll in 11.5 seconds while my brother would save his Kit Kat for days. I swear he had a whole cache of moldy chocolate bars in his dresser drawer just to drive me crazy. And it did. He would pull out his Kit Kat five days after the grocery run and I would have nothing. Can't you just hear me now?
"Mom, make him give me some!"
Yes, I was a little brat. But usually my mom would make him because I was a completely spoiled second child. And thus, my definition of sharing was born: 1.5 for me and .5 for you is fair and equal sharing.
By this point, you should notice a trend. Most of my sharing "episodes" happen with food. Yes, I love food. Kevin tells people,
"Yep. She's my big eater."
And in the privacy or our own home he very lovingly calls me "piggie." Good thing I have some serious self-esteem and I'm not overweight. Otherwise he'd be in big trouble.
It's not just food though. It is specifically foods containing chocolate with which I have this problem. In fact, most people who know me would consider me to be a very giving person. This whole bad sharer thing really is a closeted personality trait that only my immediate family and my husband know about. But put a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie in front of me, and we're going to have a showdown.
This all came to head last week in a screaming fight with my husband. Let me preface this by saying you know you are in a very good marriage when the worst fight you've had in months is about chocolate chip cookies.
I made a batch of 24 Pillsbury cookies. Nothing fancy. Just the spoon-up-heaps-off-the-roll-and-pop-them-in-the-oven kind. We were watching Scrubs on DVD and sharing the cookies. It was roughly a one-for-one eating encounter. Kevin was leaving town the next day for business and asked if I would save some cookies for him. "Sure," I said. And I meant it.
End of Day 1 (Wednesday): 11 cookies left
Knowing that I am not good at temptation, Kevin sealed the cookies in a tupperware container and put tham on the VERY top shelf of the cupboard. I had to climb on a stool to get to them.
Kevin was gone for one night and when he returned on Thursday, he didn't eat any cookies at all. End of Day 2 (Thursday): Not exactly sure how many I ate, but...
Beginning of Day 3 (Friday): 2 cookies left
We were driving down to Denver to help my brother and his wife move to a new house. Kevin pulled the tupperware container down and very sarcastically said,
"Oh look. You saved me some cookies."
I, of course, was very proud of the fact that I hadn't eaten the last two. It took a lot of self discipline to keep from climbing up on that stool to eat those last two cookies.
"No. I saved you a cookie. One of those is for me. And one is for you."
Kevin rolled his eyes and thought that it was the end of the discussion and he had simply gotten screwed. But I was mad about the fact that he hadn't given me kudos for saving 2 cookies. After a lot of sputtering about getting Alex ready to leave and silent fuming, I finally let Kevin have it on the way down the mountain.
"You don't even appreciate the fact that I saved some cookies."
"You saved a cookie according to you. Besides I was hoping there would be some left for tomorow on the plane."
"So then just tell me. When one makes a batch of 24 cookies, what is the appropriate timeframe for saving/eating these cookies."
"Oh forget it," Kevin said.
"No, seriously. Obviously, I'm not following the rules. So just tell me what would make you happy and I will save the cookies for the predetermined amount of time."
"Well the serving size is 2 cookies."
"Right. So let's say we're having 1 serving for lunch and 1 serving after dinner. That's 4 cookies a day times two people. 8 cookies a day. So they should last us three days. Which they have. This is Thursday and I made them on Tuesday. Three days!"
"No, you made them Tuesday night. So technically, it hasn't even been a day and a half. You just have different definitions of sharing. In the past 90% for you and 10% for me has been fine. But I really like these cookies, so I was hoping to get a few more. 90/10 in your mind is fair and equitable."
"Oh, you really want to break this down by percentages? Let's talk about the amount of time that I am at home with the cookies vs. the amount of time that you are there. I spend 95% of my time at the house, with the baby. So all of my nutritional and caloric needs are met by food we have at home. You are here maybe 25% of your time, and most of that is sleeping. So fair and equitable should in fact be 95%/5%."
Yes, I did in fact say that. Can you believe how desperate an argument can get when cookies are involved?
"So, I don't care about the percentages. Just tell me how we can solve this because I'm sick of fighting about this every time I make cookies. Besides, to quote The Little Red Hen, 'He who makes the bread, will eat the bread,'" I said.
"Well, I guess we're going to have to split the cookies up."
"So you're saying that if I make a batch of 24, I give you 12 up front and I take 12. Your 12 cookies are yours to eat at whatever speed you would like?"
"Yes, I guess that's what I'm saying. Will that work?"
"I guess, but it sounds a little childish to me," I said. (Not mentioning that in fact this entire conversation is the most childish thing I've ever heard.)
"Childish? Yes. But necessary if we're ever going to stop having this discussion. Besides I'm sure I will end up giving you some of my cookies anyway. Because at the rate that you eat them, I will have stockpiles of cookies by the end of the year."
So it was decided. We would take the childish route. Pretty soon we're going to have separate shelves in the refrigerator for his food and my food.
I made another batch of cookies when we got back from New Hampshire. After they had cooled, I put 12 in a ziplock bag and delivered it to me husband. My cookies were gone in two days. I ate 9 the first day and polished off the last three yesterday. And my husband's cookies are now lurking somewhere in this house waiting to be eaten one at a time. Here I am 18 years later, and I haven't learned. I know this is a Dr. Phil episode just waiting to be filmed: food addictions, childish sharing techniques, selfish life choices. But you know what? Kevin is right. In my world when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, 90%/10% is definitely fair and equitable.
Now where did he hide his little bag of cookies?