My Darling wife wrote affectionately on her blog about my natural tendency towards pessimism. This got me thinking about the fundamental differences that I think sometimes exist between
the sexes. I will, of course, preface this with the statement that I am completely aware that I'm probably generalising and that none of us are cut from the same cloth.
I have noticed, however, that we men generally don't expect technology to work. Women, on the other hand, interpret things at face value and if something is supposed to function a certain way, then that is the expectation.
I have an understanding with our lawnmower. I paid $50 for it some 5 years ago. I really didn't expect it to last much longer than a year. And so each time I go to start it I caress its spark plug, talk to its starter motor and tell it that if this is indeed the time for its passing I will respect that.
After a 10 or 15 minute ritual it splutters, then roars into life. My darling wife can't believe the amount of preparatory time I spend with this decrepit machine, telling me, 'Just buy a new one'. As if a 'new one' would perform any better than my old friend. I just know that if , heaven forbid, I buy this new, brash kid on the block it would have its own eccentricities and inconveniences.
This goes some way to explain why we blokes keep those old pair of shoes, go to the same crinkly old duffer who cuts our hair, insist on using paper clips and blue tack to keep some poor dilapidated thingy from making its way to our garbage bins. Sure it's imperfect, but that's part of the' rich tapestry of life.'
I have never owned an oven that has ever heated or cooked anything successfully according to the instructions on the food packaging. I accept that will be the case. I would be stunned if it wasn't. How can some food packaging author somewhere far away from my oven possibly know how long my oven takes to cook anything? The entire system is based on some funny little numbers painted on my oven's dial.
Not one of the many beautiful books I own is in pristine condition. At some stage every single one has either been stained, torn, eaten or creased despite my somewhat zealous protectiveness.
As one of those comic bookish types who love things to stay as they are in mint condition for the rest of all time, this really used to bother me. I think we men mature when we realise that there is nothing on this earth that can stop the 'rich tapestry of life' coming along and buggering the thingy you treasure most.
We sit back and say, 'Well done son' when he takes Darling Wife's hair dryer and glues it to a previously cherished collectible creating the latest and greatest avenger for truth and justice in his bedroom.
Decades of work and 3 billion dollars spent on the Hubble Space Telescope, of course it would be launched with a defect that causes focus issues brought about by confusion between metric and imperial units.
Overthrow a cruel, belligerent dictator and offer democracy and the free market, naturally Iraq would descend into anarchy and war.
More people voted for Al Gore than for George W. Bush in 2000, it goes without saying that W. would be in the oval office for the next 8 years.
Darling Wife and I order a new door for the laundry, logically the wrong one will get delivered.
It's the way things are, and how they will probably be next week.
If the instructions or label says that something works a certain way, women think it is perfectly reasonable to expect that to be the case. No use putting silly little small print disclaimers on things. If it's not supposed to work that way, then don't say that it does goddammit!
If there is anything arriving at close to perfect in our lives it's all down to my Darling Wife. Left to us men, doors would be held on by paper clips, certain buttons on the remote would be no go zones and irons would work only if held using a very specific grasp.
I often wonder if big world-changing negotiations were strictly 'women only zones' what the outcomes would be. Imagine a place where everyone, based on the logical and thorough arguments set out before them, were utterly convinced that process would work. No room for fudging around the edges: world hunger....do this, this and this. Financial crisis: put that over there, move that here etc.
No room for paper clips, blue tack or Saturday afternoons talking to old lawnmowers.