When Kenny and I “re-met” at our 25th high school reunion, we had both been married before and were children of reasonably large, blended families, which simply means that we were both well versed in the different communication styles of men and women. At the risk of generalizing (and offending people who don’t speak in generalities…and you men know who you are), we agreed that men tend to be more “get to the point and stop talking; the game’s on,” while women tend to think “getting there is half the fun” of the conversation. One of the most interesting things about long-term marriage is the couple’s ability to effectively tune each other out, while still getting the gist of the conversation for later reference if necessary. Listen to any old couple who have been married for 3 or more decades, and you’ll see two people who are skilled at “sifted listening,” hearing and retaining the high points, while treating the rest as white noise that need only be slightly heard, then promptly discarded. Like all unspoken marital agreements, this can often have interesting results.
Kenny came home from an errand in my little car. “You forgot to pull the emergency brake knob again.” “The what?” “The emergency brake knob. The little black one on your left.” “Is that what that is?” “Yes. (Sigh.) I’ve told you about it before.” “You have?” “Yes, and it’s important.” “It is? Why?” “Because you CAN’T DRIVE WITH IT ON.” “Well, since I haven’t pulled that knob since you bought me the car in 2007, I’m thinking that’s not technically true.” “How can you not know this?!? I’ve told you about this like a dozen times!” “Well, you didn’t say it like that. And btw, those veins bulging in your forehead are not your best look.” Now I know why my mother used to call 5 p.m. “Attitude Readjustment Hour.”
Later that same week…
Got home from work to find Kenny in the kitchen, with every surface covered with tiny, slimy round fish eggs. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Making fish eggs for fishing. It’s a new brine, and I think it’s going to be great!” he exclaimed. “Fish eat their own eggs?? That’s disgusting. Why??” He rolled his eyes and replied, “They don’t know if these are their own eggs, so yes, they eat them.” “Oh. But how do you know they’re going to be good?” I persisted. He looked at me like I just sprouted 2 rather stupid green heads and said, “Well, let’s see. Because I tried some.” “YOU ATE THEM??” I gaped, trying to erase the disturbing visual image from my brain. “Nooo,” he spoke, veeery slowly, “I fished with some. Say hello to the big guy in the sink.” Well, why didn’t he just say so?
Maybe we should consider texting.