I have direct experience of being married to only two women, Susan and Laurel. In between Susan and Laurel I got divorced, to set aside any conjecture about polygamy.
So I'm having to extrapolate from this small sample size to the much larger universe of wives.
Both Susan and Laurel thought I was crazy. Not clinically, but in the sense that sometimes, and maybe often, the way I looked upon the world baffled them. My strong suspicion is that this is normal.
Meaning, almost all wives look upon their husbands as crazy. I hope so, because otherwise I'm a husbandly aberration.
This came to mind today as I was going off to fight in the Leaf War. Since 1990 we've lived on a non-easycare property in rural south Salem. Our house is surrounded by large oak and fir trees.
The firs drop needles all year round to some extent. The oaks drop their leaves in the fall, of course. This being late November, I've been battling the leaves for some time.
But here's the thing: I enjoy the fight. Heck, sometimes I can even muster up admiration for the opposing force, as I wrote about ten years ago in "The Tao of leaf ranking."
Last weekend I slipped into my old habit briefly when I interrupted my work for lunch, then said to Laurel, "Well, I'm back to the leaf wars." That was the old me speaking. The new me manages to mostly look upon the leaves as friends who simply need some nudging to get them into their proper places, since they aren't able to move purposefully on their own.
I actually look foward to dealing with the leaves.
Now that I have a system, albeit a constantly evolving one in accord with the ever-changing Tao, the three hours or so it takes me to do a complete run-through of our yard (which needs to be repeated several times in November) is a largely pleasurable opportunity to follow the Zen'ish adage "chop wood, carry water, rake leaves."
Which should have been called The Tao of leaf blowing and raking, because my weapon of choice always has been a blower -- raking alone, given our yard, being way more than the proverbial "bringing a knife to a gun fight." It'd be like bringing a toothpick to a gun fight.
Now that I'm 72, Laurel has been saying more often, Are you sure you don't want to hire someone to deal with the leaves? I always reply, No way, as long as I can physically do this, I want to keep on doing it.
Well, actually I'm going to still want to handle the vast amount of leaves in our yard even if I'm physically incapable of doing the job.
This is something wives find difficult to understand about their husbands -- again, I'm assuming that my experience is typical of many or most male-female marriages.
By and large, Laurel is eager to turn over a household chore, like carpet cleaning, to someone else who is wiling to do it for money.
I'm fine with this also up to a point. It just seems that my attachment to certain manly chores, such as spending several hours dealing with fallen leaves in our large yard, is greater than Laurel's attachment to certain womanly chores.
That seems to be the root of the question about how crazy I am. I am really reluctant to have someone come to our house and do something that I'm fully capable of handling, even if that thing takes a lot of time or is somewhat dangerous.
Like, cleaning our gutters by walking along the edge of our roof with my Stihl backpack blower.
In both cases, gutter cleaning and leaf removal, I explain to Laurel that it is simpler to do it myself, in part because the jobs are much easier when leaves and other debris is dry.
And it's hard to predict when dry days are going to occur in the fall, since this is Oregon. So I can leap into action on a dry day, while we'd need to schedule somebody else well in advance, most likely, so it could be raining when they come to do the job.
But that's not the whole story. If it was, I wouldn't seem so crazy, because that reason is rational.
The truth is, I'm irrationally attached to certain chores that I've been doing since Laurel and I got married thirty years ago. I don't want to sit in the house and watch someone else do those things. To paraphrase Charlton Heston, they're going to have to pry my Stihl backpack blower out of my cold dead hands.
Which admittedly could literally happen if I keep on blowing out the gutters past the time I'm able to balance on the edge of our roof.
Anyway, it doesn't bother me when my wife thinks I'm crazy. I think the same about her at times.
Men and women are different. Heck, all people are different. It's amazing that we understand each other as well as we do, given that the only mind we ever know directly is our own -- and that only partially.