Our dishwasher stopped working.
This is technically inaccurate. The dishwasher still works; it all depends on which definition of “works” we apply to it.
Does it use water? Yes.
Does it slosh that water around in a way that cleans our dishes better than if I made the attempt manually (by which I mean I told the kids to wash them)? Yes.
Does it make a satisfying growling noise that drowns out the television, kills all conversation and annoys the whole family while I smile because my hearing’s not as good as theirs? Yes.
There is, however, a downside. The dishwasher keeps filling with water to the point it pours onto the kitchen floor. This is a problem because it means I now have to do something; and like most men older than 50, I don’t like to do anything.
“When are you going to fix the dishwasher?” my wife asked, knowing full well that would be the same as if she’d asked what time I was scheduled to perform brain surgery.
“I’ll get to it,” I told her. I hated lying, but this was a conversation I didn’t want to have. Fixing the dishwasher meant I’d have to bend, squat, get my hands dirty ...
More lies. Fixing the dishwasher meant I’d have to call a repairman, schedule a time, remember to be home at that time and all those things required me to talk to people. I’d be a great companion on a deserted island if the person I’m with didn’t expect me to reply.
Painful, sudsy months went by and my wife started to look at me like she wondered what would be the easiest way to take me down. She’s a bit iffy when it comes to blood, so I knew I had a few more days until she shivved me.
This is another simple case of men and women’s expectations being wildly out of synch. Studies have shown men’s and women’s thought processes are different, but ultimately we arrive at the same solution. With women, things get done. With men, things get done, but after six months and a lot of beer.
Don’t believe it? Here are five examples:
Home repair: Women immediately call a repairman. Men claim we can fix everything ourselves even though we know we can’t then wait out our wives, hoping they forget we own the item.
The seasons: Women measure changing seasons on arbitrary factors, like hours of sunlight, greenery and the calendar. Men measure changing seasons on concrete facts, like when our television turns from football to baseball and the local liquor store sells Irish stout or Oktoberfest lager.
Shopping: Women go shopping. Men go buying. Shopping implies there may be something in the store we don’t know we want. Buying means we’re out of toilet paper.
Driving: Women have a plan, a map, a GPS and a kind of psychic link to wherever they’re headed. Men stick a finger in the air to gauge the wind and drive exactly where we want to go – even if it takes an extra six hours.
Eating: Women eat food on a plate. Men put barbecue sauce on pie. See? Different approach, same result. (Oh come on, don’t tell me you’ve never eaten pie.)
Which leads me back to the dishwasher. If my wife would just eat her meals over the sink, we wouldn’t even need the dishwasher.
I guess I’ll call the repairman.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for a Road Trip,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.