It’s all Root Beer in the End

“Mom, can I color when we get home?”


“Is that yes or no?”

“It’s maybe.”

“Yeah but can I?”

“If you keep pestering me it’s ‘No’.”

Maybe was never a good bet, but it was better than ‘No’. I retreated to a corner of the backseat.

“You kids want to stop for root-beer?” asked dad.

I think, “OK, if we stop for root-beer, then we get home later and ‘maybe’ is ‘no’ because it will be bedtime.”

“Do you? Kirk? Martha Ann?”

“Root-beer!” says my brother, only 3 and already a saboteur of my wishes.

“Root-beer it is.” Dad pulls into A&W, a car hop comes out, takes his order and returns with a root-beer for my dad, a root-beer float for my mom and two baby root-beers, one for me and one for my brother.

I think in every relationship there is a tug-of-war over control. Every person becomes “controlling” when he or she wants something different from what you want. My totally unsuccessful method of controlling a situation is to ask for what I want. If it isn’t what the other person/people want, I’d say in most of my experience they don’t say so or they will even agree, and then, when push comes to shove, dig in and not move. It’s all a big “maybe” and rather than going home to color, I end up with a baby root-beer.

13 thoughts on “It’s all Root Beer in the End

    • It’s a soda made with sassafras root and other ingredients. I don’t think it exists in Europe. My Swiss friend, Adriano, says it tastes like toothpaste and he’s right; there’s toothpaste in CH that tastes like root beer.

      • Coincidentally, I had a root beer last weekend for the first time in forever.

        It resulted in instant headache that took a couple of Advils to correct. Whatever it is that’s in there, it doesn’t agree with the adult version of me.

  1. First of all, I loved, loved, loved the A & W drive-ins, along with a good ol’ Mama burger. That was our family restaurant experience every now & again. Secondly, I enjoyed your story & thoughts about maybe.

  2. Funny thing….when I was going through all my surgery the beginning of this year, I had the strangest cravings. Root beer was one of them. At like 8 at night, I looked at my husband and said, “Root beer.” He bought two bottles. I took a couple swigs (I am NOT a soda drinker!), smiled and that was it for me. Such good stuff.

  3. I have trouble asking. So I internalize my partner’s failure to “get it” without my telling him. Then, when I can’t stand it and say something, I’m already mad. NOT very effective. Fortunately (??) Garry is exactly the same. So whenever one of us gets on a roll, the other one points out “You’re a fine one to talk,” and that usually ends it pretty fast. Because it’s obviously true. It helps to have a partner who is smart and rational. Even if we are also crazy.

    • I ask and expect to be ignored or placated. I think it helps to have a partner (or friends) who are self-aware and observant as well as rational and kind. So, I live with dogs 😉

  4. Like Marilyn, I don’t ask … I hope my inner wishes are magically understood … then I’m profoundly disappointed when they’re not. Sigh.

    • In my experience, it makes no difference whether you ask or not. In fact, I recommend against asking. When you ask then you put the power in the other person’s hands and they go, “A-HA! I’m in control here.” Best just to go your own way after the thing that matters to you. 🙂

      • I agree with that advice. I learned that the only person who can make me happy is me … although admittedly I occasionally drop the ball. Even I don’t get it right all of the time 😉

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