Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mr and Mrs Caveman

I know I mention my husband a lot on this blog. He's vaguely aware that he features prominently, but has no interest in reading what I write. In the nicest possible way - he laughs when he sees my blogpage and tells me to behave myself. He trusts me to provide an unbiased and fair portrait of our marriage. Which I think I do.

See, he's a very smart man in many respects. Today he lectured me all the way home from the bakery on the intricacies of distilling pure alcohol. My legs were pumping like pistons in an effort to get home sooner, but he held me back, explaining in detail - oh so great detail - how one would distill pure alcohol, if one wanted (one does not). Anything of a science-y nature excites him immensely; he is uncannily like my own father in that respect. And, similar to my father, this passion is combined with a didactic bent and a burning desire to fill the gaps in my patchy scientific knowledge. To fill the gaps in great detail, readers. Oh so great detail.

My husband also has a glib explanation for many of his idiosyncrasies. He blinds me with science and tries to convince me that his total lack of visual memory is the biological advantage of the male. According to him, Mother Nature bestowed the male species with the ability to espy things from afar, whereas women are able to see and remember detail in their direct environment. According to Mr Gingerbread, our ancestors in the caves would have had the following conversation on a regular basis:

Caveman: Oh, look. There's a woolly mammoth. Due north, with a prevailing wind coming in from the southeast.
Cavewoman: North? Which way is north? Is north over there, where that big tree is?
Caveman: Quiet, woman. Look, it's a whole herd of woolly mammoths.
Cavewoman: Where? I can't see anything. Do you mean those little specks in the distance?
Caveman: Of course I do! Look, I have no time for this. Where's my spear?
Cavewoman: Your spear? It's where you left it. On the large outcrop to the left of the sleeping mats, beside the pot your sister gave us for the last harvest festival.
Caveman: An out-what? Where? Which pot?
Cavewoman:  The outcrop. The ruddy big bit of rock sticking out of the wall.
Caveman: Sticking out of the wall? Is there something sticking out of the wall?
Cavewoman:  Near where we sleep. The huge big flat slab of rock - oh, forget it. I'll just go get it for you.
Caveman: And while you're at it, can you bring me my slingshot as well, please?

Millions of years later nothing has changed. Nothing. Nada. Nichts. Not a thing.
Yesterday my husband wanted a rug to put under his desk chair to stop the wheels from damaging the laminate floor.
Him: Do we have an old rug somewhere? I want to put it under my chair.
Me: Yes, we do. Go out into the hall and in front of the wooden shelves you'll see a box on the floor. On top of the things in the box there's the red rug we used to have under our coffee table in the old apartment.

Husband stares at me brazenly. We are both aware that I lost him after the first conjunction. He would prefer it if I followed him and gave him step-by-step instructions ("Open the door to the hall. Walk towards the loo. Turn left. Look at the bookshelves. Now cast your gaze downwards." Etc.) He doesn't like anything more complex than that. But I return his brazen gaze. The hall is only about 12 square metres big. There is only one set of wooden shelves. There is only one box on the floor. He sighs and leaves the room.

After five minutes of dramatic opening and closing of cupboards, despairing sighs and what sounds like a mini-avalanche, I go out into the hall and - this is not a lie - find him looking for the rug in his toolbox under the stairs. Wordlessly, I point at the bright red rug folded on top of the box on the floor in front of the wooden shelves.
"Well," he says, "I couldn't visualise it so I couldn't see it. I only notice these things when I know what I'm looking for."
"Spare me the story of the cavemen," I warn. "I've heard it all before."
"But it's true," he mutters. "It's biology."
Biology, my foot.

In the interest of fairness, I have to add that he later came in with a packet of butter.
"Why did you put this in the cupboard with the biscuits?" he asked.
Apparently I have the occasional bout of absentminded tidying, during which time I'm apt to distribute foodstuffs in creative places around the kitchen. Mr Gingerbread hasn't come up with a scientific explanation for it yet but I have no doubt that at some point I'm going to get a lecture about how it somehow pertains to our Stone Age ancestors. I can't wait.
In the meantime, I have to try to remember where I put the teabags.

1 comment:

glor said...

Another delightful read and yes, so true. You always tickle my funny bone.