Straightening Up

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this little detail, but men and women communicate differently. In my not so humble opinion, the definitive exploration of this obscure phenomenon was written by Dave Barry several years ago. If you haven’t read “The Difference Between Men and Women”, please read it here before you go on. It’s funnier than anything I am about to write.

One of the best examples of a communication catastrophe happened to me recently. My much more significant other and I arrived at our hotel at the beach last week. The first load of luggage made it up to the room and my wife and I headed back down to get the last of the things out of the SUV.  I placed what I thought were the last few items on the trolley and gazed lovingly at the beautiful babe I married. She smiled and said, “Do you want to straighten up the car?” 

That was an odd request. It wasn’t our first trip together and, after six hours in the car, we usually didn’t clean out the car. It was time to go to the beach and catch the last rays of the day. Being a loving hubby, I figured there was a reason behind her request so I proceeded to pick up the trash left by the kids and move the last few items from the back of the SUV. For my part, I thought it was a bit silly to move the beach chairs all the way up to the ninth floor when we could stop by the car on the way to the beach. Once I finished that, I looked at her and smiled as I locked the doors.

She gazed at me with a puzzled look on her face. “Aren’t you going to straighten up the car?”

At that point, slight irritation began to set in. I had gotten the trash. The beach chairs were ready to go up to the room. Was she wanting me to take it to a car wash and vacuum it out? She hadn’t helped with any of the cleaning to this point which was also out of character. She is more of a do-it-right-the-first-time-by-doing-it-myself kind of girl. This was getting ridiculous. I didn’t want to clean anything else. I wanted to get sand in my swimsuit and have a drink with rum and maybe an umbrella sticking out of it. Honestly, a shot of rum would have been fine after a six-hour drive through the mountains.

With as much of a neutral tone as I could manage, I replied. “That is really bugging you isn’t it? Go ahead.” I handed her the keys.

Her confusion and frustration mirrored mine as she took the keys and sat down in the driver’s seat. As she began to back out, my worst fears were confirmed. She was going to take it somewhere to vacuum it out. Then she turned the tires, and pulled the car back into the parking spot so that it was not crooked and crossing over into the parking spot beside us.

It took me five minutes to stop laughing and explain the difference in my mind between “straightening up the car” and “straightening the car in the parking spot.”

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