Sleep Out in the Rain
Money, sex and conflicting styles of parenting are sited as the most common sources of marital strife. Not so for Todd and me. We’re bickering about Percy Sledge. Have been for years.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” was the catalyst to one of our earliest arguments. This was back in college. Todd had a little black Broncho II at the time. We were out for a drive, the two of us, when Sledge’s 1966 classic came on the radio.
When a ma-an loves a woman,
Can’t keep his mind on nothing else,
He’ll trade the world for the good thing he found…
Mid-way through what should have been an affectionate sing-along, Todd took exception to a line in verse two.
He’d give up all his comforts,
Sleep out in the rain,
If she said that’s the way it ought to be.
“That is stupid,” Todd said. “I don’t see any sense in sleeping in the rain.”
“You wouldn’t sleep in the rain for me?” I asked.
“Not just because you said that is the way it ought to be, no.”
“Well, I am glad we’re getting this out in the open now!”
“Look I’m not saying I wouldn’t sleep in the rain for you under the right set of circumstances, all I’m saying is that you’d have to give me a reason. A good reason.”
“Well I think you should trust me,” I said. “If I said ‘Go sleep in the rain,’ I think you should have enough faith in me to know that my request warrants action. I have a good reason for asking. You should trust me enough to comply. If you loved me, really loved me, you would.”
Nothing has changed. In the twenty years that have passed since we had this original argument, neither Todd nor I have changed our stance. Oh, we put it out of our heads, but when the song comes on, we resume our respective positions and commence to fighting as though no time has passed.
Tonight it is raining. It is raining, Todd is sleeping soundly as I type, and R&B legend Percy Sledge is dead at the age of 74. May he rest in peace. Sledge, that is. Not Todd. On the contrary, I think I’m going to go wake Todd up – send him out to the deck with a pillow and an afghan.