"I don't know how we're going to sort out tonight's schedule," I gushed as my husband, Richie, came through the door. "You're late—and Andrew has a game an hour away. One of us has to get him there by 7:00. Jordan has a game here. Kaley is cheering at Jordan's game, but she also has a game right before his. And it's the same time as Andrew's away game. That's also the time Allie and Daniel are supposed to have practice at ."
I hadn't even gotten to the dinner dilemma part of my list, when I knew by Richie's wide-eyed, zombie stare that he'd shut down somewhere just after "You're late."
I've seen the look before.
How many other wives have seen their husbands processing information when suddenly their "screen saver" kicks on? My husband is able to process a lot of information. I know—I can dish it out in hefty chunks. There are times, however, when something seems to happen to his internal processor. Everything locks up and I feel as if I need to, well, reboot. It's as if I'm living with a computer!
Funny thing is, Richie tells me he's living with a cell phone.
The night he arrived home late, he'd had a long problem-filled day at work. He'd been looking forward to coming home, to his refuge where he could simply veg out and not have to think.
As he opened the front door, his peace bubble exploded into an outline of the evening's agenda. I'd been poised at the door, ready for the attack. Every word about every game and every place the kids had to be came at him nonstop.
Richie told me later that my actions were akin to settling into a comfy seat at a movie theater only to have his cell phone blast.
I'm a "cell phone"? I thought. And I realized I can go off unexpectedly and sometimes at the most inopportune moments. I'm also faithful to keep "calling" until I'm answered. Oh no! I thought. I am a cell phone!
I don't know about that whole Mars/Venus thing, but I think I can safely say men and women certainly operate on different hardware. We're wired differently. To me, it seems as if men are computers and women are, well, cell phones. The computer's communication is most often a one-way communiqué. Cell phones, on the other hand, require two-party participation. They're all about communication.
Dr. James Dobson hits on the wiring problem in his book, Love for a Lifetime. He writes: "Research makes it clear that little girls are blessed with greater linguistic ability than little boys, and it remains a lifelong talent. Simply stated, she talks more than he." Dobson suggests that God may have given Mrs. Cell Phone 50,000 words per day while Mr. Computer may average 25,000. By the time he's walking up the driveway to his relaxing safe place, he's most likely used 98 percent of his daily word store—he's practically in "sleep mode" already—that mode that's used after the screen saver's been on for a while. She, on the other hand, is ready to give him most of her 50,000—and she wants a similar number from him. But all she gets is a busy signal. How can we find common ground?