Short Story Long

I have always been a believer of balance.

Philosophically, I guess I mean Yin and Yang. My marriage is Yin and Yang. My wife of 25 years and I offset each other quite nicely. We are opposites in many ways, but always seem to balance each other.

But, like walking a high-wire across the Grand Canyon, balance isn’t always easy. For example, I am a relatively quiet and reserved person. Can’t necessarily say it’s because I’m Japanese because that would be stereotyping. Same as if I said my wife is quite talkative because she is full-blooded Portuguese. But she is — talkative, that is. Not in an irritating way, as she is an interesting and smart woman. But she is talkative in a time-consuming way.

Our conversations are like this publication. I speak like my column, very short and to the point. My wife, on the other hand, would be like a Don Chapman cover story — six pages for each of a three-part series. Don’t get me wrong, both Don’s and my wife’s stories are highly engaging and informative. It’s just that they’re very detailed and long.

In my wife’s case, I think the length of her stories are for my benefit. The other evening, she wanted to relay to me an incident that occurred on her way home from work. She witnessed a car hitting a hydrant, and with the water gushing from it, the woman in the car was trapped. It was a truly riveting story, so I listened to every detail .

But the story took twists and turns, and was filled with insignificant details not related to the incident, like what had happened at work before she left and what to get for dinner as she drove home. I secretly wanted to fast-forward the story like my DVR. Just then, my wife’s cell phone rang. It was her sister calling. My wife told her the story about the hydrant car crash.

Strangely, that story was the Twitter version, done in less than 140 words. At least I knew the outcome and that the trapped woman was safe. When my wife hung up, she came back to me and said she wanted to finish her story. It took everything I had not to say that I already heard it as she relayed it to her sister. I guess I had to get the husband version, which is enforced by our marriage vows, “for better or for worse, until death do us part.”