Friday, June 29, 2012

The grilled cheese sandwich

One day my husband asked if I knew how to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
Evidently, he had had one in a restaurant the week before and it sounded good again.

(Really?)   I know that we have had numerous grilled cheese over our 15 years of marriage, I didn't feel the need to begin that conversation.   So, in answer to his question, our 12 year old son quickly piped up, "Dad, even I know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich."   (Love this kid!)   With that, lunch preparations began.  

My husband watched what I was doing and wanted to know why I was buttering the bread first.   "Uh. . . that's how you make grilled cheese."   What else am I supposed to say?   "To make you ask questions, looks like it worked!"

He was sure that this was wrong and did not want this sandwich.   Ok, fine.   You asked me how to make it and I showed you but if you have suddenly discovered the secrets to a great grilled cheese in the last 2 minutes, go ahead.   Again, my starving pre-teen son was happy to help, "I'll eat it!".   I finished that sandwich and let my husband make his guess at what constituted a grilled cheese sandwich.

He proceeded to put the butter in first and then the bread.   Our son tried to assure him that this was NOT the way to do it.   My husband was sure there was no difference between butter on bread and butter in pan.    So, we stood back and enjoyed the show, chuckling very quietly.

Needless to say, he ended up with burnt bread and the frustration we all experience when we "know" something will work and it doesn't, especially when we've asked for help and then rebuked the help we asked for.  

My dear husband then looked at the sandwiches we were eating and remarked that they looked exactly like the one he had for lunch a few days before and how did I do that?    Oh, boy!   I know that I'm this dense at times and I hope that the people around me are just as amused and patient with me as I was with my husband on this particular occasion.   (I'm not always amused or patient).   I reminded him that we had this conversation already and I had tried to make one for him.   We tried again.  

I took his burnt excuse for a sandwich, and threw it away.   (He was going to eat it since he made it but no one deserves that kind of penance.)   I was then able to make his lunch without interruption.   He liked them and I had something to chuckle about for years to come.

I have reflected on this many times, not just for my own amusement, but because I realize that so often we cause our own distress.   We ask for help and then magically know better before instruction.    We are our own worst enemies sometimes.      Remember this the next time you decide you know everything.   And remember that the next time you have to help someone that thinks they know everything.