If you want to watch harmonious gender division, come and visit us on any given school day early in the morning.
What you will find is the wife in action (aka, multi tasking to make sure the children will go to school on time, neatly dressed, their lunch boxes filled with nutritious, delicious goodies) and the husband sitting on the couch, reading his TIME magazine.
In his mind, there is no better time to strike up a meaningful conversation with his wife than between 7.15 and 8am. The wife loves his attempt of keeping her informed and educated about bigger things in life other than the stain on his shirt and a reminder for an oil change.
It goes something like this:
Husband: “Did you know there are more than 100 million sharks killed each year?” (Times, March 18, page 9)
Wife, thinking: Did Cruz feed his fish yesterday, need to go to pet store, we are running out of fish food.
Husband: “Hey lovey, listen to this, this is funny, ( quote) “We make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone.(Times, same edition, page 8) These delegates….”
Wife has water running, concentrates to make orange juice out of concentrate. Is thinking to herself “what was this all about?”
Aloud: “Mmh, interesting.”
Husband thinks this quote is hilarious, wonders why wife isn’t laughing and gives in to his desire to read it again. Still, no response from wife.
Somehow this reminds husband of an article in the PROVINCE from a few weeks back: “What about the story on gentrification in downtown Vancouver?”
Wife is thinking: I need to remember to write the cheque for school, how much was it again?
Husband rambles on, “Listen to this, this is quite interesting, “All you need to know about sequestration but were afraid to ask…”
Wife, aloud: “Boys, you need to give me your thermo containers back, hurry.”
Wife is cooking lunch, ravioli in pot is heating up, starting to boil and all she hears is this:
“….pulling out of Iran over next 22 months.”
Wife thinks “What is going on in Iran, who is pulling out? Is America pulling out?
Wife is brave (or dumb) enough to open her mouth to ask this question to her well informed, well read husband.
All he does is looking at her, shakes his head in slight desperation and thinks, Help, whom am I married to.? Aloud he says:
“Iran? I said Afghanistan – do you remember, it is the longest mission ever Americans were involved in?”
Wife thinks “Oops, need to get my ears checked, why is he talking to me now anyway, I am cooking lunch?”
This is the one that nearly killed her: “Lovey, can you get this, listen up The record for continuous gum chewing is 135 sticks over 8 hours. Assuming he chewed one fewer stick during the final hour than each of the previous 7 hours, how many sticks did he chew each hour?” (Times, Feb.25, p.53)
Wife thinks, He must be joking. Aloud: “Mmh, clever question!”
Isn’t my husband a sweetheart? I consider myself a lucky woman, being married to this fine, young, well informed man! As I said earlier, he makes sure I am in the loop of what’s going on around the world. Unfortunately, most of the time I have no clue what he is talking about; and I mean literally. I have no clue what he is jabbering about, I have never heard of these words before! He is a native speaker and therefore comfortable with the TIMES vocabulary, not me!
Still, I appreciate his efforts and hopes that after all these years some of the more sophisticated words may have rubbed up on me – or not!
This reminds me of an incident from a long time ago. I did my PADI diving course in Byron Bay, Australia. On the first day of the course we were discussing what you can’t do under water, wetsuit and all. One of the things you can’t do is fornicating! Did I know what that means? Of course not. I was the only foreigner amidst a group of Australians. They swore themselves to secrecy and kept me in the dark for the whole week – meanwhile my brain was working overtime about the action called fornication. What is it you can’t do under water with your wetsuit on….?