Sometimes I feel like Snow White.
Not because I have alabaster skin or mesmerizing beauty that could survive being encased in glass for time on end – at least, not without a whole lot of formaldehyde. I don’t have an evil step-mother, nor do I have high hopes for a Prince Charming to rescue me from all my troubles. And the only time I talk to birds is to yell at the pigeons which still refuse to accept the eviction notice I served on their current abode of our upstairs deck. In fact, when I come to think of it, Snow White and I have very little in common.
But I can seriously relate to her frustrations of living in a household of men. Since my daughter moved out last year, I am the only female in the house. There is no one left who empathizes with mom being the only one working in the kitchen (guys just pretend they don’t notice and hope like crazy you’ll let them get away with it). There is no one to tell me my new sweater looks pretty or ask me how my day was. And dinner conversations that used to include topics like family news have been completely overrun with academic discussions about antimatter and play by play analysis of the latest football game. The nice part, I guess, is that there is no longer any temptation whatsoever to talk with food in my mouth in order to share an exciting thought before the topic moves on. In fact, there’s little motivation to talk at all. I recently experimented with the possibility of interjecting comments that might lead to new topics, but most have been met with blank stares and awkward pauses before the men around the table once again dive into their highly stimulating debate about whether time is an actual object or a man-made tool. I spend more and more time during meals with that lady in my head; we talk about new recipes I’d like to try, and she never fails to ask about how my day was. She’s a pretty good listener, too, so it works out.
I think the thing that drives me the most crazy about living with men is just how literal they can be. I am convinced that if I stood at the bottom of the stairs and yelled for my son to rush out of the house because of a fire, he’d stand at the top of the stairs while slowly tying his shoes and asking a series of questions. How do I know it’s a fire? Do I know what caused the fire? Why am I assuming the best path of egress is the stairs? Have I considered the option of jumping off the deck? Did I start the fire to chase off the pigeons? And then the older one would come out of his room to see what commotion woke him up. He’d jump into the debate and tear apart the younger one’s theories and explain his own theory of how the fire started and how, if we developed a new system for harnessing the energy of fire, we could use that energy to build an eco-friendly super car. The two of them would still be debating the viability of their ideas when the firemen arrived and physically hauled them out of the burning house. And when I had the audacity to complain to my husband, he would be far more interested in their theories than in my frustration that our sons couldn’t just believe me when I said that there was a fire and that they needed to hurry down the stairs.
It is no picnic living in a land filled with Captain Literals.
I have a theory of my own. I don’t think Snow White’s evil step-mother gave her that apple. I think it was all Snow White. She found out about an apple that would give her blessed sleep and escape the incessant sports chatter and science debates that were driving her crazy. She cooked up the recipe, chomped on the apple and fell into a peaceful sleep. I imagine it took a bit for the Dwarves to even notice she’d fallen face-first into her plate. And I bet it took even longer to decide it was more important to investigate Snow White’s sudden change than to finish their debate.
I still have some apples left over from my last baking spree. If any of you have the recipe for a magic apple, I’m all ears.