When a team lets a player go, he must turn in his playbook. It’s a sacred text. So sacred, in fact, you might end up let go if you lose or compromise your play book.
Why do I mention this? Because I’m about to answer questions about my team – my, gender – posed by one of my favorite girl bloggers, Chris Carter, of The Mom Café.
I do this at the risk of having my playbook yanked, my spot on the ‘team’ taken away, my membership card revoked.
Pay attention. That’s a steep price to pay.
Then, go check out Chris’ blog, here. She’s spiritual, she’s outspoken, she’s kind of brilliant.
Dear Mr. Mister,
There are some things I need to know about you. I need to understand how you think and why you do certain things. I long to be patient with your ways. I hope you will guide me through my concerns and give light to all the women who wonder similar things…
There are so many questions. There are so many things that truly intrigue me about your gender. I will narrow down my inquiry to those things that consume my days living with my husband and see if you may perhaps shed light on these three particular puzzling pieces:
Why do you completely crumble at the first signs of sickness?
Woman’s take: The world could be at war, and yet your poor ailing body sinks into a self-consuming whimpering mess. You can withstand storms that blow through with whistling winds, and yet your sniffles seem to knock you into a world of selfish mourning and an uncanny decline of both mental and emotional health.
As we women work and battle through our sickness with superpowers we create from the depths of our very soul, you seem to be amiss of anything functional at all, and completely shut down. Yes, we might moan and groan through our sickness…but we endure and keep the world spinning on its axis. We have to.
Man’s response: Even Mahatma Gandhi griped when he stepped on a sharp pebble. But not all fellows are wired to implode at the mere introduction of a virus. Some of us are more prone to accentuate the possibility that a physical injury is, in fact, not just a sore shoulder, but a torn rotator cuff.
That we didn’t just bump our head on a jutting ladder from a parked work truck, but we’ve suffered a Grade III concussion. That when we crumple to the ground gripping our knee, we didn’t just “wrench” it, but it’s likely an ACL, PCL and meniscus tear that will require 18 months of rehabilitation.
We do this because heroes and great leaders in history have overcome so much to become heroes. When we take out the trash despite a head cold (or, as we put it, a SARS attack), we’re like Willis Reed, RGIII and Napoleon rolled into one. (I think I remember reading that Napoleon fought the War against Austria of 1809 just minutes after stubbing his toe and hitting his funny bone).
We do this because we want to be your hero, too.
How is it, that you can manage multi-million dollar projects and juggle an amazing “to do” list at work, and yet forget to pick up more than two items at the grocery store? (With a list)
Woman’s take: Better yet, how is it that the few chores you need to do at home, or the tasks on your “to do” list for our family… need constant gentle reminders? Do you know your father’s birthday? Why is your pile of laundry still sitting in the same place for a week? Did you simply forget that I have asked you NINE times to put the frame on the wall or do you just like to put things off for weeks on end?
I see your spreadsheets and your timelines for your projects, and truly they impress me. Perhaps I should make you some new spreadsheets and timelines so that the bathtub doesn’t have mold or the Christmas outside lights don’t stay up til spring…
Man’s response: Spreadsheets at home are a brilliant idea. Or, perhaps, work has it all wrong. I’d venture to say that if my boss just leaned over a few times a day and asked, “when is that story due?” or “do you think these blogs are going to write themselves?” I’d be an unmitigated success and a virtual skyrocket up the corporate ladder.
If we men clutter our memories with such trivial facts as extended family birthdays (aren’t you glad we remember yours?), we might not have the capacity to, once or twice a season, not only remember to hang that frame and take down the Christmas lights, but maybe, just maybe, to clean the gutters while we’re up there.
Or remember what wood tone that frame is, and, while we’re in Lowe’s weeks later, turn to you and say, “honey, we should get this shelf to go with that frame you love so much in the den.”
I’ll even hang it for you. Eventually.
Laundry note: If it’s in a pile, it’s in limbo. It’s neither clean nor dirty. There’s a 38 percent chance we’ll wear it again. Asking if these clothes are clean or dirty is like asking someone through a closed door whether they’re done in the bathroom. If they were done, they wouldn’t be in there.
Shopping note: For every list item you include that includes the words “with wings” and doesn’t pertain to the Buffalo variety, we’re required by nature to forget 12 aggregate items on future shopping trips. Now you know.
Your listening skills continue to amaze me.
I get better reception with a toddler or a teen. How is it that you need me to repeat the SAME conversation four times for you to finally process the information given? It baffles me to no end, how I can say something and within that very SECOND, you ask me something that I just gave you the details about and you nodded and even gave me eye contact while I was speaking?
How does your mind work?? Do you tune out the moment I start to speak? Do your neurons shoot in random directions as I provide critical (to me) details that you need to know? How is it that you can do conference calls with people in CHINA who speak horrible broken English and yet, our dialogue is misunderstood?
It is truly fascinating to see your mind process intricate details and immediately forget them…within minutes. “What are you talking about?” You ask? If you can stay with me for a minute, I will give you an example:
I say: “ We are going to your mom and dad’s house this Sunday, so I need to bring a side dish and some rolls. We should go after church and get back early. Oh, and remember I have to teach Sunday school that morning.”
You say in reply: “So what are we doing Sunday?”
Fast forward to Sunday:
You ask: “What are we doing today? Do you teach?”
Seriously. That. Bad.
Man’s response: What? Christmas lights. I heard you the first time.
If you only knew what swirls around in our brains. Fantasy football stats. Barbecue ideas. Whether the song “Bang Your Head” was on the album “Metal Health” or “Quiet Riot II.” Internal debates about who our favorite female TV meteorologist really is. What we might or might not have forgotten at the grocery store. (This doesn’t even take into account residual musings about Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues of our youth.)
Why do you think we have to watch SportsCenter three times in a row to retain anything?
We’re conserving brain space. We figure that because you remember everything, we’d better free up some storage in our own gray matter, so that when the day comes that you can’t remember whether Wednesday is Canasta or Bingo, we’ll have your back.
Chris’ Take: While I am feeling a little guilty for calling you men out on these particular inabilities, I would like to say that there are many, many assets you possess that us women certainly respect and love. I would go on and on about them here, but you know what they are.
You tell us about them all the time.
Eli’s response: No hard feelings. I have a few questions of my own to ask you on your blog. And yes, we do know about those many assets we possess. See? We can remember stuff.
And we tell you all the time, because you listen.