We met with our former school class. That was funny and but at the same time made me thoughtful. I wandered through the room, chatted with several groups and moved on as everyone else. Sometime in the course of the evening I sat with Martin and Elena in the corner with a glass of wine and we came to talk about the topic of jealousy.
Martin told that his wife who is slightly younger than he is and with whom he has two children in school age found in their car when they were driving together a lady’s sock. What followed was a dramatic scene of his wife in public – since they were just at a petrol station – for which not even the National Theatre would have to be ashamed of. Martin stood next to the car, helpless and ashamed because of all the audience and wished that it would pass soon. He was not aware of anyone who could have lost this little nylon sock in his car because in the last two months he had only driven male work colleagues apart from his two daughters.
After about 15 minutes he managed to convince his wife to get into the car and to drive away. But he could not get rid of the suspicion that he had been unfaithful. All his objections, all his arguments were countered by his wife as soon as he had been able to formulate them. Their life together turned to hell. Martin solved the problem by working even more and ran out of their common flat whenever possible. His wife was emotionally boiling and seemed to overrun like an autoclave and it seemed that time did not ease her anger.
Suddenly Martin remembered that actually three months ago he had taken the neighbour of his mother in his car. The neighbour is a woman of 70 years, round, funny and understanding. They know each other since Martin is born. Marin called her and asked whether she lost a nylon sock in his car. She thought, confirmed that she is wearing such socks and that she always has a spare pair in her handbag. Thus it would be possible that she had lost the sock but she could not really remember.
Martin being a chemist thought that maybe a DNA analysis might help to assign the sock to the neighbour. But the sock which his wife still kept was clean and washed so that this possibility did not work. Martin nevertheless presented the explanation to his wife and after two additional evenings of nerve-wrecking discussions and an exclusive Hermes bag, for which Martin sacrificed his entire finance reserve originally intended for a new racing bike, his wife agreed to bury the hatchet. But she still did not completely trust Martin.
Martin told it in such funny way that we had to laugh. But he added that these few weeks had not been funny at all. I asked myself whether there had been something in the past which gave his wife good cause for such jealousy and as I knew Martin this was not unlikely, but I did not dare to ask.
Elena laughed very much and said that unfortunately this could not happen to her and Martin slightly kicked her under the table for that. Elena told that her husband is a scientist and everyday life completely passes him. Jealousy and social competence are not his strong sides. Two years ago when her husband was working on an international project, he left on Monday morning and returned on Friday evening. During this time he often washed his laundry away from home. One Saturday morning he came to her and gave her a lady’s panties size 38 in pink. He looked at her reproachful and said that her panties have ended up with his things. Elena look hat the panty. She herself is a rather ample woman and has size 42. Furthermore all her panties are without exception white and made of cotton. Her panties are large, comfortable and practical. And that for the last 10 years. The possibility that this tiny lady’s panty could be hers or had ever been hers was more or less impossible. Elena stood there and started to laugh. Again it became clear to her that apart from his science her husband did not have eyes for anything. She categorically excluded the possibility he cheated on her. She told him that this was not her panty and asked him whose panties they were. He looked at the panties with absolute lack of comprehension and frowned. “Did you cheat?” Elena asked him and had to supress her laughter to make the question seem serious. “Don’t be silly” he said indignantly and again looked at her reproachful. With that the story was finished at the piece of cloth ended in the rubbish.
Martin looked at Elena with respect and said that this would have been sufficient for a divorce for them. Well, different approaches lead to different results. But when listening to them I did not want to change with any of them.