Omicron Persei?

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So, like the old saying goes, men are from Omicron Persei 9, women are from Omicron Persei 7. For my wife and me, that’s still true the after all these years. And in case none of that is clear, what I mean is that we’re not always communicating very effectively.

In certain ways, we are all stereotypes. For myself, I frequently have the stereotypical male single focus, meaning I can mostly only do one thing at a time. I can switch gears, I can switch tasks, but I’m far more productive if I do one thing at a time.

Especially in the morning when I first get up and I’m having breakfast. Eating can be mechanical, but whatever I’m doing at the same time isn’t.

My wife and I have been together since 1990. We’ve effectively been living together since sometime not too far into 1991. And we’ve been married since 1995. More than 23 years now, closing in on 24.

And yet, one morning this week, as I’m trying to focus on the the story I’m revising, she’s trying to carry on what to me is a widely separated conversation. It goes something like this:

One, my wife starts talking.

Two, she gets my attention, and I realize that I missed the first sentence or so of what she said.

Three, she repeats what she said.

Four, she listens to my answer, and maybe or maybe not responds.

Six, she waits long enough for me to go back to the thing I’m trying to proofread.

Seven, we repeat one through six, and so on.

You can see how this is a recipe for frustration on both sides. For her, I’m clearly not paying attention and not listening at all. For me, I’m trying to get something done and I’m being interrupted constantly.

I’m not sure who gets to the frustration level first. I do know that by the fifth or sixth cycle, when now it’s obvious that she’s been building up to something specific all the way along, I’m clenching my jaw and hoping she doesn’t follow me to do or get whatever she just asked for.

Omicron Persei 8. For anyone who doesn’t get the Futurama reference, men are from Mars, women are from Venus. I’ve never read the book and I’m unlikely to. In reality, there are no hard and fast rules for communicating person to person, regardless of who the people are. Never have been, never will be, because even though there can be major similarities, we frequently do communicate differently. I strongly suspect that’s the case regardless of the genders of the people involved in the relationship. So maybe we should take the men and women bit out of the equation and just say some of us are from Mars, some of us are from Venus, some from Jupiter, Mercury, the asteroid belt… and even Earth. And communication is hard.

But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

Be well, everyone.

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