This cartoon reveals how it all began. How men became hunters and women gatherers. Naturally, the guy was told to do it by his woman.
I don't know which sex ended up with the better deal. However, I do know that this goes a long way toward explaining why Laurel, my wife, was bewildered when my Garmin GPSMap 60CSx Handheld GPS Navigator arrived in its Amazon box.
"Don't you already have a GPS receiver?," she asked. "Sure I do," I told her. "But it's ancient. This one has a color display and does a lot more than the old one."
Unwilling to relent, Laurel pressed on. "I bet it cost a lot. $500, right?" "Actually, it was about $300. Amazon sells them at a deep discount. And your point is?"
Which brought the conversation to an end.
Because if it'd continued Laurel knew I'd bring up the rather significant price difference between (1) the GPS receiver and (2) the continued remodeling of our kitchen and living room areas, which carried on last week after a several month hiatus.
Once part of our thirty-five year old house appeared more up-to-date, Laurel couldn't stand how old the adjoining rug looked. Plus, she wanted Dura Ceramic tile to lead from the front door into the kitchen.
So the family gatherer arranged for the tile and carpet guys to come in for four days, seriously disrupting my blogging and Internet life. In other words, my life (my office got recarpeted also).
The cost was well over an order of magnitude greater than what my GPS receiver set us back. It was worth it – I'm happy with the new tile and carpet now that my laptop life is back in order – but this experience pointed out to me again how different Laurel and I are when it comes to our respective hunter-gatherer tendencies.
Evolution: you can't argue with it. I do most of the grocery shopping, but in a hunterish way. Laurel shops in a gatherish way. She browses. I track down my grocery prey with ruthless efficiency.
I don't use a GPS receiver. But I'd like to. I've already gotten more than $300 worth of enjoyment from the Garmin 60CSx (which I can highly recommend, along with lots of other satisfied users).
The first day I got it, I went on my usual around-the-lake dog walk with the receiver in hand. When I walked into the house I yelled to Laurel, "Pretend that you're interested in the GPS details of my walk."
I made her listen to how far I went (1.15 miles), my average moving speed (2.98 mph), the time I spent moving (26 minutes), and other fascinating facts I can't recall numerically: total elevation gain, highest elevation reached, total time (which included the minutes I spent standing still trying to figure out a receiver feature), and more besides.
Laurel was careful not to say anything back to me, not even a "that's nice," because that might have encouraged me to bore her further with how absolutely wonderful the 60CSx is.
No problem. I'm happy talking with my new friend Garmie about himself. The fact that he's a piece of electronic machinery and I'm a conscious human being doesn't keep us from bonding. I just hope Laurel feels the same way about her new carpet and tile.
I've no doubt that my caveman ancestors would have been just as thrilled to have a device that told them exactly where they were and how to get back to the cave.
I've also got no doubt that while they were doing what they had to do – hunting down mammoths with nastily large tusks – their women were pondering a different arrangement for the hides on the floor.
Like they say, Plus ça change.