The dream washes out | AspenTimes.com

The dream washes out

Barry Smith

I’ve discovered that after a few years of marriage, the reality of the relationship starts to edge out any fantasies you may have once had. I’ve been married for a while now, so I’ve learned a thing or two about relationships. More than anything, I’ve learned this: You can’t force your wife to play your washboard.Bad double entendre? No, even worse: it’s literal. See, I have this fantasy of traveling the country as a husband-and-wife guitar-washboard performing duo. My wife, to put it mildly, doesn’t.The problem here is that I’m all about dreams, and holding on to them, and never letting go. I’ve done est, listened to Tony Robbins and read Deepak Chopra, so I know that you can have anything, anything at all, that you set your mind to. However, I’m starting to think that this might be one dream that I need to let go of.But I just KNOW that if my wife took up the washboard, and I learned to sing and play the guitar a little better, we would dominate the market. We’d be like the White Stripes of the washboard world.Alas, there are a few potholes in the road to this dream, namely my wife’s refusal to so much as touch my washboard.”Why is this thing in the bedroom?” my wife, Christina, will ask, pointing to the antique washboard that I’ve left leaning against her pillows.”Oh, that’s where I left it. I’ve been looking everywhere for that old thing. Well, as long as we’re all here, why don’t you … hey, where are you going?”The direct method doesn’t seem to work, so I’ve had to resort to trickery. The washboard isn’t a complicated instrument, but in order to get the necessary amplification – in order to play it right – one should ideally be wearing a thimble on each finger of each hand. Once this is accomplished, once you have two fistfuls of thimbles, well, why would you not play a little washboard? This thimbling up is not an easy thing to talk someone into without them catching on. Especially Christina, who is already on Orange Alert.”I’m thinking of taking up sewing. Will you show me how these thimbles work? No, all of them, at once, on each finger, like this. Hey, where are you going?”I play washboard-centric CDs, of which I have many, pointing to the speakers at the parts where the versatility and beauty of the washboard really shines through. Then I pantomime playing along, scrubbing my hands against the imaginary instrument, bobbing my head, pigeonlike, to the down-home rhythm.”See,” I say. “See how much fun it could be? Hey, why are you putting your coat on?”I’ve tried leaving subliminal notes around the house: “Gone to the library washboard. See you washboard later. I’m on my you should really play the washboard cell phone if you need me washboard.”I’ve tried reverse psychology: “You know, I don’t think the washboard is really for you. I don’t think you have what it takes.”Bargaining: “If you learn to play the washboard, I’ll stop pestering you about it.”Threats: “Woman, you pick up that washboard right now and give me some background rhythm! A-one, a-two, a-one, two, three, four. Don’t make me count to five.”Passive aggression: “Fine. Whatever. You just go on enjoying your life. I guess I can live with unfulfilled dreams.”More trickery: “Listen! I think I hear someone downstairs! It might be a burglar. Quick, put these thimbles on and let’s play ‘Pick a Bale of Cotton.'”Flat out lies: “Says here that washboard playing has been shown to prevent colon cancer.”All to no avail. My poor washboard sits alone, unplayed, while my wife wastes her time working really hard, reading interesting books and cooking for me.I don’t mean to sound bitter, but with the death of a dream comes certain emotions that are hard to keep down. I guess I always thought life would turn out different than this. My own loss I can deal with, but I’m really sad for you, the American public, and how you’ve been deprived of a much-needed traveling washboard/guitar combo.