Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It occurred to me some time ago that many of my female friends and I seem to have essentially the same complaints about our husbands. Not that I complain about my husband often. He's really astonishingly tolerant. I'm not just saying this. People I barely know tell him so. I'm widely known as a lunatic.

So, on to the complaint. Husbands often don't seem to understand the highly time-sensitive nature of household tasks. Let me given an example. In my husband's work, he might have to write a letter. There's a deadline, let's make it Friday. So any time between now and Friday, he writes the letter. And when the letter is written, it's done. It doesn't unwrite itself and need to be rewritten tomorrow. And it doesn't particularly matter whether he writes it Monday or Wednesday.

Dishes are not like this. If he agrees to clear the dishes, this is not a single endeavor, a ceremonial Clearing of the Table after which the table will be ever and always cleared. In fact, the table is at most temporarily cleared, until such a time as we need it again, about eight hours from now. So when I ask what happened to the table some twelve hours after we ate dinner and accuse him of failing to clear it, his defence of "I haven't failed to clear the table. I just haven't cleared the table _yet_." doesn't really accomplish my objectives.

My objectives are to keep the knives away from Firefly and not to feel like my mother is looking down on us, judging.

My mother is also a very nice person who would not actually stare judgmentally, but worse, try to demonstrate how a helpful schedule-oriented system would prevent my house from looking like a frat house from an eighties Revenge of the Nerds movie, only with a wider selection of alcohol than just beer. Even though she's known me my whole life, my mother has never quite accepted that I'm a total loss on the domestic front.

So I had more or less decided that this must be a genetic defect that travels on the Y chromosome when a woman I know related that she had the same problem with her girlfriend who, as far as I know, does not have a Y chromosome.

Now I'm left thinking that perhaps I just make friends with people who are neurotic (as I am) and WASPishly uncommunicative (guilty), and that's why they can't make their life partner understand that if we don't change the children's close occasionally, the other mothers will talk.

Actually, if my husband were in charge of the dishes, he'd convert the whole house to paper plates and plastic cutlery by nightfall. I have stronger feelings against disposable tableware than I do about most of what shows up on Amnesty International, including a to-the-wall fight over the appropriateness of a plastic table cover for a formal occasion. I am against plastic cutlery. I am not quite sure why I am so against it. It's not just because of assiduous pro-environmental brain-washing as a child, because I feel very little uneasiness, say, tossing recyclables, and I never reuse scrap paper. I think it has to do with that imaginary-mother-judgement issue again.

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