Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tigers And Berries

Something seemed wrong. I watched closely while he stared at the television and asked, "Is anything wrong," "No, nothing," as he continued watching. A short while later, still not talking and seeing that flat level gaze, I couldn't resist the impulse to try again, "Are you sure nothing's wrong?" "NO! I'm simply paying attention so I can turn up the sound when the commercials are over! There's nothing wrong!!" Okay...I got you....you don't have to yell.

Another version of that story, ends like this, "No! Nothing's wrong! I'm just trying to read!!!"

I'm not the only woman who puts a man through those paces. If I was, comedians wouldn't be able to make us howl with laughter when they perform their unique renditions of this idea. And, there wouldn't be a guy making big money on the circuit explaining his notion of a man's Nothing Box. So, I know I'm not the only one.

What is it about women that makes us over-analyze EVERYTHING? And, is there honestly such a vast difference between the sexes when it comes to how they process the world vs. our way? First answer, "I have no flippin' idea." Second answer, "Abso-friggin-lutely."

One of my favorite stories is about a guy and a girl driving home from a date. They've been dating awhile and everything between them seems headed in the right direction. However, this date, he's very quiet, which seems odd. Giving short answers to most things. He's driving and she's fretting, "What's wrong? Did I do something? Is he tired of me? Yeah, that's it, he's going to break up with me and he just doesn't know what to say to me. Can I do anything different? I really like this guy, how could this have gone wrong? What the hell did I miss???!!!!"

By the time they get home, she's in a complete emotional and mental melt-down. Bracing for the very worst. The guy, completely absorbed, unaware of her internal hysteria, is seriously contemplating, "Wonder when I changed the oil last?"

Yep. That about says it all...

I don't know. Maybe it all started in the days of the saber-toothed tigers. When the guys of the clan went out to hunt that stealthy cat, they'd be gone for days. Tracking it. Hanging back so the cat wouldn't know they were there. Searching the earth for the least little sign for tracks, bits of fur caught in the brambles, scat. The tiny details that tell a hunter he's on the right path. Silent hours remaining absolutely still so the quarry is unaware of their presence. Time becomes meaningless; everything else in the world becomes irrelevant. The hunters become the animal on many levels during the hunt.

That masculine, laser-beam focus was honed over millennia and can be witnessed, today, as men sit mesmerized by the electronic flickering fire-light. Seen as he concentrates on the television, to the exclusion of hearing your voice, and everything else in the world around him. If you ever wonder how a man can do that, thank the saber-tooth.

While men were laying for hours in the mud waiting to kill dinner, we females were walking great distances hunting, too. On the search for berries, grains, grasses, medicines, and other necessities. Finding a patch of berries, we'd start gathering as fast as possible to clear the bushes of their bounty. "Oh, here are some good ones, I found some more. Maybe there's more over there. Let's go see. How are yours? Oh, no, that one's no good. Let's keep looking!"

Combine that with, "Do you see the children? Children, don't go far! Put that down! Stay where we can see you. Which one of you girls banked the fire before we left the cave?! I swear, if you let that fire go out, I'm going to yank your hair! Stay on the look-out for willow bark, our supply is running low and you know the men will come home sore." So, when you wonder why we can't just pay attention to one thing...thank the berries and the grains, and the fire and the children, and the cave, and....and...and...

Both thought processes are valid and necessary. But they sure don't make it easy to live with each other.

Women tend to make it even harder. If your man isn't saying anything, in all probability it's because he's got nothing! Men are generally uncomplicated; their thought processes are straight forward and direct. It's we women who make it complicated. We create issues where none exist. We think about everything all the time, even when we wish we didn't. Like at 3:30 in the morning when you're brain clicks on by itself and won't turn off.

Men don't think until they have to.

I'm not sure why the feminine need to gather berries, pick lint, and multi-task continues today. But, it does. I have to remember to leave Michael out of that whirlpool. He always says what's on his mind. Eventually. When he's ready. So, if he's fixated and not talking, I think I'll try harder to leave him be.

I'm pretty sure we women would have been better at hunting the tiger. In all probability, the tiger would have simply thrown itself off the edge of the cliff rather than endure us asking repeatedly, "What are you thinking? Is anything wrong?"

Namaste' Till Next Time,


LionKing said...

OK then. you've demonstrated a remarkable understanding of the situation; not it's all about execution!

The tiger has his cliff for ultimate surrender - you'll notice I don't go upstairs very often in our house - the open railing in the loft area might prove too tempting!


Toni said...

I've noticed that a) the older I get and b) the longer Double BB and I are married, the less often comes the question, "What's wrong?" I've also learned NEVER to open any question with, 'How do you feel about ...' but rather with, "What do you think about ...' critical substitution of the word 'think' for the word 'feel' ...

p.s. I sometimes think I'd much rather be out learning Laser Focus Techniques in silence whilst tracking the Saber Tooth, ya know? than chattering amongst the berries. even if that means I CAN wear jewelry and a sassy hat.

jkc said...

I love the last paragraph!

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