Saturday, April 5, 2008

He Said - The Call of the Domestic

There I am, braving the elements of the Yukon winter, ice crystals frozen to my face as my trusty sled dogs bravely charge across the frozen wasteland. As I fight against the blinding light of the cold sun, the frigid wind lashing my face, and the uncertainty of my own survival, I have never felt more like a man.

Jack London’s world has become my own, but just as I begin to think that nothing could ever tear me away from this land, a jagged crack rips through the sky, and The Call of the Wild is suddenly – viciously – overwhelmed by the call of the domestic.

“Blaine, honey,” she calls. “Can you come here for a second?”

I snap back to the present, and with some chagrin I find that I am of course relaxing in a warm, comfortable chair. (Despite appearances, I am not completely stupid; while I certainly don’t mind reading about 60 degrees below zero, I could certainly make it to my grave with no great amount of disappointment if I never actually experience it).

I quickly analyze the “Blaine, honey”. While I proclaim general ignorance to the overall ways of women, like most men who have shared years of their lives with a woman, I have come to some understanding of the subtle nuances of how my name is called. From the common you’re in big trouble “Blaine” to the less frequent that was so sweet of you “Blaine”, I can often prepare myself for what lies ahead (and sometimes actually put the shovel away) prior to answering.

To my dismay, I realize that this is the I want to completely rearrange the furniture in the living room for no particular reason “Blaine”, with the “can you come here for a second?” meaning that she intends to have this done right now. Tentacles of basic instinct reach out to me from the rapidly fading arctic, urging me to make a decision on which my life may depend:

Fight or flight?

I don’t think most men really understand the “rearranging of the room” disorder that seems to constantly plague the fairer sex. In fact, I doubt that the thought would ever even occur to us. Left to my own devices, I can fairly admit that wherever the moving guys put the stuff when they unloaded the truck would no doubt be perfectly okay with me. They are trained professionals, you know.

But whether it’s some aberrant genetic trait or simply a less appealing aspect of “nesting syndrome”, it is a predicament that husbands often seem to find themselves in for no good reason at all. And no matter how reassuring my agreement is to her that “it most certainly does in fact need to be done”, I’m still puzzled that it should be so bewildering to Catherine that I don’t share the urgency of the situation. It’s not like it can’t be done tomorrow.

“Blaine,” she calls, with the I know you can hear me and if you don’t come down here in the next few seconds you’re going to be in big trouble “Blaine.”

Well, I’ve got to go. Like I said, I’m not completely stupid.

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