Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mysteries of Life

I can't help but envy blogger friend Debby a bit, going to college here in the prime of her life. Not that I would want to take tests and write papers -- believe me, I did my share of that -- but just gaining that type of knowledge with a few more years to my credit would be attractive to me.

I was a journalism major in college. I did a feature story on one of the psychology professors for the school newspaper and was so impressed with him I decided to take a psych class. I loved it. And I really do envy Debby for getting to take Psychology. I think I would have a completely different view of such a class in my 50s than I did when I was about 20.

I think I would enjoy a psych class at this point in life because I am aware of so many "mysteries of life" that I would like to hear addressed by someone who is learned in the field of what makes people tick, or why things happen the way they do. Here are a half-dozen of my unanswered questions:

1. We don't have a huge house but it is big enough that we can entertain 20 - 30 people fairly comfortably. We rarely have that many at one time but will on occasion have 10 - 12. Our kitchen is a decent size but not one of the really huge ones like some of the newer houses today have. We have a very nice sized family room/den that flows through a cased opening from the kitchen. Yet, inevitbably, when we have folks over and Wife is cooking dinner, almost everyone, to a person, will congregate in the kitchen, right around Wife while she is cooking. She is a very good sport about it, but she has to constantly dodge people who are sipping wine or eating appetizers while she's putting the final touches on dinner. Why is that? Why don't they go where there is more space and they can move around more comfortably?

2. The local YMCA where I go to work out has plenty of parking. When I go early in the morning, I can usually get a fairly close spot because the crowd is rather small. By the time I leave, things are picking up a bit and more folks are coming. When I go to my car, people who are arriving and looking for parking spaces will sit in their cars a couple of car lengths away from those leaving and even sometimes honk, waiting for the soon-to-be-vacant parking place. (Note to the ones who honk to try to make me move faster: this actually makes me stay in the parking space a little longer, checking my phone, fiddling with the radio or rearview mirror or making sure my seatbelt is comfy. In other words, you annoy me). These are people who are coming to EXERCISE but they are bound and determined to get a close parking place so they don't have to walk a few more feet. Ironic, you think?

3. I have a good friend whose wife has been out of town for a couple of weeks with her mother who is ill. He came over and ate dinner with us last night and told us that, while his wife has been gone, he has many times just forgotten to eat at night. 9 p.m. comes, he's gotten busy doing something and he realizes he has not eaten but by then it's too late, he thinks, and he just goes to bed. I, on the other hand, have never once in my life "forgotten" to eat. In fact, I "remember" to eat way too much. And if my wife were out of town, rest assured I would still not forget and would, in fact, probably eat way too much out of sheer loneliness. And I would no doubt gain weight. Why the difference? Why don't I forget to eat sometimes?

4. How is a wife able to articulate, with total and accurate recall, every word ever spoken by her husband since the day she met him? This is not just reflective of my own marriage. I have done an informal survey and every husband I have asked says that it's true of them also. Why do husbands not possess the same ability and have a snowball's chance of occasionally prevailing in a discussion (that some might lable an "argument")?

5. I think I addressed this in a previous post but it's still a mystery. Why do we clean our house before the housekeeper comes?

6. And, finally, this one. I can do a load of laundry and I will have gathered perhaps ten pairs of dirty socks, for a total of twenty socks. I put them in to wash with other clothes. I remove the load from the washer and put it in the dryer with all socks still accounted for. When the dryer is done, I take the entire load to our pool table, which doubles as our laundry folding table, and somewhere between the dryer and pool table at least one sock has totally disappeared and often more than that. The stray sock (or socks) goes into a basket in a closet that holds approximately 50 other stray socks. Every once in a great while a stray that goes into that basket will match one of the other strays, which is a time of great rejoicing (and if you're thinking, "This guy needs to get out more," you'll hear no argument from me). But more times than not, the new stray just joins the others and the stray sock basket just grows in volume. My question, of course, is where, oh where, did that sock -- or socks -- go between the dryer and the pool (folding) table?


quid said...

Bob -

Your first 3 ironies are definitely mine as well.

#4....we don't talk about it much, but we all get a photographic memory injection in the bridal shop where we buy our dresses for upcoming nuptials. It's handy, and works fro 3 decades. Ssshhh... don't tell any husbands.

#5 ...we do not clean before the cleaning lady comes. We "remove debris". There is a distinct difference.

#6 One of my favorite books to read to children at elementary schools applies here -

The Sock Snatchers have been living in your house.


Debby said...

Bob - it's evident to me that your company comes primarily to spend time with your lovely wife.

The parking lot thing makes me laugh. I actually park as far away from things as I can, for the extra walk.

I used to forget to eat when I was young. Before I had children who expected to be fed three times a day whether I was hungry or not.

Because we have mental abilities far beyond those of mere men. :)

I've never had a house cleaner. Although I have been one, and the folks that I worked for did not seem to share your quirk.

Bob, my friend, no one can understand the great mystery of the socks. I'd like to add one come when you finally decide that the lone unmatched sock has had every chance to find a suitable mate, when you finally say, "Okay, then, this sock is lost and gone forever..." that's when the mate shows up. I threw out my favorite sock after a full year, only to have the mate turn up when I was shaking out a pair of flannel sheets I hadn't used since last winter. GAAAAAAAAAAH!

Bob said...

Wow, Debby, only a couple of weeks in Psychology and you're already espousing great wisdom. Now go tell Tim something he said ten years ago and let him try to deny it . . .

You're probably right about our guests and my wife. When I suggest moving into the family room they look at me as if to say, "now who are you again?"

Kelly said...

I envy Debby getting to have fresh school supplies. I love school supplies (and office supplies).

1. This happens at my house every holiday, not just while preparing the meal but also when I'm cleaning up.

2. I experience this quite often at Wal-Mart. I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one who takes even more time when I feel like I'm being rushed.

3. I NEVER forget to eat.

4. Our children will tell you that my husband and I can neither one remember a past conversations correctly. Guess I missed that memory injection Quid spoke of since I eloped. At least he didn't get one, either.

5. No housekeeper for me these day, but I would "straighten up" for one if I had one.

6. Always check the insides of pants legs and shirt sleeves. Sock like to hide.

Pencil Writer said...

Bob, let me begin with the last question of the missing sock phenomenon. It's been in existence ever since socks and dryers have been co-partnered. I've heard several theories about the mystery and the one I think I most agree with is the one that states that there is another dimension that socks enter somewhere in the drying cycle. They get disoriented in said cycle/dimension and rarely find their way back home. I hope this helps. And remember: You Are Not Alone! (But they are. The single socks. In the single sock basket. And their companions who are lost in space . . . er . . . that other dimension.

To the question of wives remembering every detail of what their husbands say since they met . . . I must be a failure in that department. My husband "quotes" things better than I in those "discussions" we sometimes participate in. However, I do remember dates, clothing worn, etc. that are significant. However, it's getting a little spotty now that I've crossed the 60's threshold. (Gee! Did I just say that?)

I enjoyed your post, like I usually do!

Pencil Writer said...

Oh, I forgot about the gathering in the kitchen phenom: Food smells good. One of a newborn's first needs is food. Food = love. Food cooking smells good. Food = love. People congregate where they feel accepted and

I always envied my mother-in-law's kitchen den. It's huge and very functional. We had many, many large family gatherings there. It was wonderful. That was one of the hardest parts of having to sell that house after my husband's parents were gone. It took us 4 years to get around to it.

So, enjoy the love of your wife cooking for your family/friends in the crowded kitchen. It's where great memories (and love) will live.