Like most men, I feel grateful that I’m not married to me. Laurel, my wife, simply is a better person than I am. Less egotistical, more compassionate and generous. Here’s an example.
Last week we stopped at the Mountain High Grocery in Detroit, our habitual halfway pit stop when driving back and forth from Salem to our cabin in Camp Sherman. The coffee is good, the toilets are clean, and the snacks plentiful. Nirvana.
This visit I also wanted an Oregonian for my reading pleasure after we got home. Looking to my left as I walked through the Mountain High door I saw there was one paper left. Nirvana plus.
I snatched it up. A USA Today caught my eye. I grabbed it too, putting it over the Oregonian. Then I saw that another customer had darted over to the newspaper rack. He was semi-frantically scanning the shelves.
“Oregonian, Oregonian. Are there any Oregonians?” he asked me. I casually rearranged the two papers I was holding to cover up what he was looking for. I told him, “No, I don’t see any. Sorry.” He turned away, disappointed.
I was elated. I could hardly wait to share my story with Laurel once we were back in the car. “Ha! Look! I got the last Oregonian. Ten seconds after I picked it up another guy walked in, wanting one. It’s my good newspaper karma day.”
Her reaction: “Oh. You mean you didn’t offer to give him the paper? That’s what I would have done. Maybe he’s out of work and driving to Portland to find a job, needing to read the classifieds.”
Wow! I thought. Amazing. That option never went through my mind. Not did it start to enter my mind. Nor did it stand on the outskirts of my mind, waiting to be let in. It was nowhere in the neighborhood.
But the Generous Option was right there at the top of Laurel’s female mind.
This helps explain why, come December 31, she’s the one agonizing over whether we’ve given enough to charity that year, and why we always find ourselves logging onto environmental and animal rights web sites to beat the midnight IRS charitable deduction deadline so that her guilt won’t carry over January.
I’d worry more about my ungenerous, unempathic maleness if this weren’t the normal state of affairs.
After reading this article, I think there’s good reason to say that women are the more generous sex. Not a big surprise. (Notwithstanding my own impression of the cited research, the article does conclude that “both sexes have their graces and their own styles of being virtuous.”)
Well, on the plus side—or is it minus?—compared to women, men are particularly able to engage in wars.
While I’m (vaguely) on the subject of Detroit’s Mountain High Grocery, this is a good opportunity to publicize their search for the culprit who stole this marvelous piece of art that once hung over the toilet in the men’s restroom. I found it so intriguing I took a photo of it before it was stolen.