I once heard that the real difference between men and women is this: Men can never remember. Women can never forget. “Much wisdom”, Yoda would tell us, “there is in that.” But the differences are much more far-reaching.
When I walk through the door, I hit the ground running. I don’t need a moment to myself because I have “just walked in”. Furthermore, it doesn’t take me so much energy to sit down that if someone needs something, I have to respond: “I just sat down.” What up with that? Is there some inner male process that needs to be ‘reset’ before they are able to get back up? Children know this about their parents. I always said that if I were hanging from my feet from the ceiling wrapped in duct tape with arrows sticking out of me (never happened by the way – just sayin’) and my husband was sitting on the couch, leaning forward expectantly towards them with his hand cupped over his ear, my kids would shout up at me “Mommmmm, can you help me with my homework?” A child’s ability to not perceive is nothing short of miraculous.
I remember a time when I had gone to bed a little early. The bedroom door was shut and the room was completely dark. The rest of the household (including, I might add, Dad) was wide awake and about their business. Suddenly I was awakened by the door opening and light seeping in from the hallway. A little voice whispered, “Mom?” And again, softly, “Mom?” To which I responded “Who exactly are you trying not to wake up?”
My neighbor tells a story of rushing out to work with a load of laundry half done. She called her teenaged son at home to ask him to put the wet wash in the dryer. His response: “Which one is the dryer?” As a thinking adult I might have suggested he try the machine WITHOUT the wet stuff in it. But there I go, applying logic where it clearly does not belong.
This same neighbor received a call from her husband while she was at work wanting to know if they had milk in the house. Thinking he had perhaps stopped by a grocery store, she abruptly stopped when she heard what sounded like a television in the background. “Where are you?” she asked. Apparently he had called her AT WORK from THEIR FAMILY ROOM. I believe he was promptly treated to the sound of a phone call ending.
I have been asked where the ice is. To which I respond, “Try the stove. Or the toaster oven.” (For the uninitiated, “Where is the ice?” is code for “Please get me some ice”.)
Gender differences assert themselves in various ways. When I am sick, I want to shut all of the shades, close the bedroom door and sleep it off. With pauses of course to crawl into the kitchen, empty the sink of dirty dishes and make sure no one has set the house on fire. Most men that I hear about prefer to lie on a couch in a public area of the house being waited on hand and foot while pontificating about their head cold being possibly one of the WORST in recorded history. Most women I talk to say they are also treated to a liberal dose of moaning.
I have never seen a sick man get off the couch to make the non-sick members of the household something to eat. At my house, the infrequent episodes where I really have to stay in bed are the exact moments when my husband chooses to inform me about the state of – wait for it – the FREEZER. I know. It seems unbelievable but there it is. Invariably, he comes in to let me know in my influenza-induced fog, that the freezer is packed full of what apparently are ALL items belonging to ME and that no one can find ANYTHING in it. This in turn leads to fever dreams where I am being attacked by a package of frozen chicken thighs. I have come to a startling revelation. Men know best how to cope with women at extremes of the spectrum. Those being: completely and totally healthy or dead. The in-between states, not so much.
A lot of men deserve an Olympic medal in conclusion jumping when it comes to dealing with their own illnesses. I have known perfectly rational men who suddenly turn into raving lunatics with the onset of simple symptoms. One wife told me that her husband asked if she thought he had head cancer. Really? I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing. And if there is, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come on like, say, a HEADACHE. I do not know a single woman who faints at the sight of blood. Yet, among my friends I number a 100% red-blooded American cowboy who faints when he gets a whiff of hospital antiseptic. This is a man who, to put it politely, has been known to turn little bulls into little steers. With his bare hands. But fill his nostrils full of the smell of rubbing alcohol and be prepared to catch him on the way down.
So those are the Stone Chips for today. If you will excuse me, I have to get back to work. In a minute though because I just got in and just sat down.