It’s a Fact: Opposites Attract
With Mother’s Day coming, this is my salute to women in general and mothers and caregivers, in particular.
My beloved spouse of 4 years was a registered nurse before her retirement and we could not be more different. Although we live in Hawaii, I am always chilled in the evenings and she is always hot all day. Our place would remind you of a wind tunnel at Boeing, fans everywhere, blowing things hither and yon.
As a once confirmed bachelor, the thought of having pets around never entered my mind. I never needed them. The one cactus plant I had died because I neglected to water it, now that’s bad. With her, it is all I can do to keep her from picking up and adopting every stray cat in the road. Now we have 3 golden retrievers, 1 cat, a rooster, a hen and 6 chicks. I have a farm here. But she compromises, I have an aversion, almost a phobia to dog poop in the yard. It gives me ‘chicken skin’. I just as well be walking through a mine field whenever I go into the backyard. She agrees to do the ‘poop patrol’ regularly and see to the animals’ basic needs.
She spoke to me about the advantage of having fresh eggs. I say that I can get fresh eggs from Safeway, so why do we need chickens? Her cooking is local and Asian, introducing strange vegetables and herbs to a meat and potatoes kind of fellow? The reality is that she prepares food that is high in nutritional content and low in calories, just the way we both need to eat now that we are well into middle age. As a result, I learned to stay out of kitchen and let her do what she does so well. I would not have imagined this just 5 years ago. It is funny thing about life’s twists and turns?
I was thinking about the song below while writing this, enjoy!
Opposites Attract by Paula Abdul
Without appearing chauvinistic, some of these other things may be attributed to the difference in the way men and women see things. While she certainly is not extravagant or what is referred to as ‘high maintenance’, she can be an impulsive shopper. Because of this, I have taken the role of ‘keeper of the wallet’. She acts much more on impulse while I like to carefully ponder things almost to the point of inaction. We have had to strike a balance between us on being rash and impatient verses endlessly procrastinating.
She has spent a great deal of time in the Caribbean area of the world and as a result has been exposed to hurricanes and its associated destruction. Relative to this, my life has had few if any ripples. She says that I am a pack rat and she is probably right. I still have my first grade class work laminated and shrink wrapped. I kept much of the stuff that survived from personal events that occurred almost 50 years ago. She says that I am crazy, because in this environment everything rusts and molds. Colorado, comparatively, is very dry and things keep indefinitely. Having lost so much in hurricanes, she has simply learned not to attach herself to physical things or give them as much sentimental value as I do.
I tend to be ‘freeze dried’ as I cherish certainty and security. That means that I am as focused as laser light on guarding my life, health and job. I always kept the adage in my mind that the only thing worse than being poor, was being sick or dead. She took a lot more risks in her life and could be considered far more adventurous. When I did go out and travel and do things they were always well within the realm of what I considered to be ‘safe’ parameters. That is the reason I could work for the same employer under the same conditions for almost 30 years. She said that would have been anathema and that she would have been bored to death. But, I remind her that my relative rigidity is why we currently have a pension that we now enjoy. But, now that there is much less to lose, I can afford to step out of my comfort zone a bit more.
She has had a couple of kids from a previous marriage where one of them, in particular, tries my patience. But, she loves them unconditionally. Everyone deserves a mother, what a great way to start in life. Nursing is hard work and she and many of her friends that are nurses have more than their fair share of ailments and maladies. My wife has spinal meningitis, problems with arthritis and daily experiences pain that would have me climbing the wall. She is heroic in how she bears the pain, not taking it out on me or anyone else.
On this ‘Big Island” there is only one Wal-Mart and it is the social gathering place of the town of Hilo. She engages in a practice known as ‘talking story’. This is a social interaction between her and anyone else she happens to run into. I thought that it was just idle banter, but she says that it is more. From this communication, she not only talks about the weather but obtains information relative to questions and problems surrounding how we run our household. For example, she has found people to work in the yard, electricians and plumbers who work for reasonable rates through this communication medium. She says to try it sometime, strike up a conversation just for the hell of it. Well, it always seems that when she engages in idle banter its ‘talking story’ and whenever I do it, she says that it’s just ‘bullsh*t. She says that there is a difference and that I don’t quite have the knack yet.
Then there was the time, a most extraordinary instance, when were at the physician’s office in the waiting room. There were 3 clusters of people in the waiting area. Each cluster were engaged in their own conversation. When we left on the way home, she spent the 30 minutes speaking about what she overheard from each of the groups that were conversing. I told her that I did not hear anything, as I had my nose in a magazine that I specifically brought along to allow me to pass the time. The level of detail of her account of the conversations would make you think that she was a party to each one. From one conversation, she garnered that someone needed to go to jail, etc. The point is that I learned that there are many varied forms of awareness. Mine is linear, it allowed me to go to school, hold and do well at a job, etc. But she operates having all her sensors engaged at all times, while I don’t pay attention to things that are outside my immediate concern. In her world, sometimes the whole is more than the sum of its parts. You actually know what you are not supposed to know under a linear kind of reasoning. So it turns out in the world of alternate and enhanced perception, 2 +2 can be five. This alternate perception takes into account faith and intuition, things that I would not bank on unless I was up against the wall. She uses these tools routinely. That is how she makes things work when I could not see how they could. The downside is that her approach uses a great deal of energy and can be most fatiguing.
This is an added protection and enhances the quality of my life. We are more powerful together than we are separately. I am most grateful that she ‘has my back’. Again, happy Mother’s Day to the mothers of the world and thanks for your attention