“We don’t talk anymore,” she said.
“We talk all the time,” I said.
“About rashes, doctor appointments and lunch money,” she said. “But when was the last time we had a meaningful conversation?”
“Yesterday I told you all about the new iPad I want.”
“MEANINGFUL conversation,” she said.
“I think there’s an app for that. In fact, I’m sure there is. Let’s get it.”
“REAL TALK!” she shouted.
“Our hopes and dreams, our goals, how we want to encourage our kids in life choices, things like that.”
“Let’s see, in the future I want to be rich,” I said. “Short-range, I’m hoping you’ll fix a T-bone steak, medium rare, with all the fixings for supper tomorrow night. And tonight, we should encourage the kids to go out for pizza while we snuggle on the couch and, well, snuggle. Now that was meaningful conversation, wasn’t it!”
I’m guessing by the way she slammed the bathroom door that it wasn’t.
I have been a husband myself for 15 years. Plus, I know many guys who are husbands. Or who were once, anyway. None of us ever actually knows what our wives want to talk about.
Women apparently analyze life in detail from every angle. They want to know what a person is thinking, when they thought it, why, and what the other 463 possibilities are, emotion by emotion.
We guys kind of wing it. We may know that another dirty diaper is coming but beyond thinking how to get out of changing it ourselves, we just let it come.
I know plenty of husbands who could discuss at length the slugging percentage of Manny Ramirez in the eighth inning with men at the corners and two runs down with the wind blowing in from left center field at 12 mph, 40 percent humidity and a temperature of 69 degrees during a full moon. That’s meaningful. Vital, in fact.
But we’re not very good talking about picky little details like why cousin Ed called collect from a jail in Idaho when he was supposed to be on a cruise with Janice in the Bahamas, and was that kid’s hair on fire when he ran through the living room or did he merely get into the paint cans in the basement? You get ulcers sweating small stuff like that.
My college buddy Brian and his wife stopped over the other day. We sat in the living room watching an old version of Robin Hood – a movie of which we were pretty certain the outcome since we’d seen it at least 42 times over the last 30 years.
There was a lot to catch up on. He was still alive and so was I. We figured this out in silence. He had put on some weight and so had I. We figured that out in silence, too. I knew I still could outrun him and he knew he still could outrun me. It would have been too much trouble to find out who was right. Of course, we didn’t talk about that, either.
Our wives retreated to the kitchen, perhaps to discuss their favorite topic, “The misadventures of bone-headed husbands.” Neither wife has been married before so we have no idea on whose husbands they’ve collected so much material, but it seems they can keep at it for days.
During a commercial we’d both seen before, Brian and I opened up.
“Got any hopes and dreams?” I said.
“Guess so,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said. “Me too.”
It was a good talk.
Enough said, we finished our movie in silence.