Getting her words out

While the hard data is all over the place, many experts say that the average woman requires more than twice the words as the average man does to get through her day. The data from my own 30-year study, albeit a rather casual one using only one test subject, indicates that my wife is well above average. But, it’s not just the overwhelming multisyllabic nature of her speech that sets her apart (“getting her words out,” she calls it); it’s her choice of words, phrases and timing that raise her stats to a level of sheer (sometimes dizzying) art. Consider the following gleanings from the extensive report.

Once, standing bewildered in our kitchen, having misplaced my glasses, she shouted, while carrying something hot, “Ugh! I’m on a mission and you’re hovering in my flow!”

When I wandered into our den looking for a place to flop because my brain was tired, she pointed to a corner and instructed me to, “stretch out on the couch, I’m going to be sorting with my elbows.” (This had something to do with laundry.)

While planning one year’s vegetable garden: “I wish you could grow chocolate.”

When comparing me to a friend of ours who smiles and laughs constantly: “You two were hatched out of the same clam.”

When I gave her a passionate kiss not long ago, out of the blue, while she was reading on the couch and I was just passing by on some errand, she looked up at me sweetly, and said, “I’m surprised I’m not sick of you.”

See what I mean? Brilliant. And there’s more.

Here’s a classic. During a bombastic family breakfast where everyone was speaking all at once, our daughter Mandy, five years old at the time, under the dining room table, and frustrated, shouted, “Mom, stop talking!” To which Mom replied, “I didn’t say anything, I was talking to your father.”

Coming home after a really long day, I stumbled into the kitchen exhausted and really hungry, and found nothing prepared for supper. When I asked my wife about this, without a shred of sensitivity regarding the difficulty of her day, she tossed out this brilliant one-liner, “Can’t you just suffer.” It was a statement, not a question, and I didn’t deserve a question mark.

While sitting up in bed one night reading, with my nappy little eye-mask pulled up onto my forehead in preparation for my impending sleep, my wife walked in, looked at me and began to giggle. “What’s so funny?” I asked. Then she waxed all nostalgic, nearly tearing up, and said, “Oh, that thing on your head reminds me of when you used to have hair.” By the way, “that thing” was bright blue.

Mandy and I were recently sitting together in our little home office watching a movie, she eating some Mexican casserole that her mom had made. We heard said mom approach, but before she reached us she stopped abruptly in the living room, sniffed the air, and in a panicky sort of way, announced, “Uh, oh, cat poop.” She made tiny circles in the room, sniffing all the more. “Yup, right here,” she said. I got up to join the investigation, but smelled nothing. We went back into the office, stepping carefully, and mom walked over to Mandy, bent down, sniffed the casserole, and said, “Oh, wait….”

I have reams of stuff like this. Clinically fascinating, sometimes unintelligible, often hysterical, but always endearing. And yes, my wife does seem to have a three-to-one advantage over me in terms of sheer numbers, but I don’t mind at all. Listening is something I’ve gotten good at.

While passing in the dining room recently, I stepped into her path (interrupting some obvious mission), and held her face. “You’re so beautiful,” I said. “And you’re so blind,” she replied. And then we just stood there, looking at into each other’s eyes, and for the first time in recorded history, my dearest wife seemed at a loss for words.


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