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Pots and Pans

Today I was being helpful around the house. There were pots, pans and dishes left over from my cooking dinner last night. I washed all of them and set them to dry. I even used dish soap and hot water which I've often been accused of not doing. This is my attempt to prove I'm trainable.

Off to the Post Office and, when I return, the pots and pans are ready to be put away. Louise had stacked them with the little pot inside the big pot which sat in the frying pan. I picked them all up and set them in the cupboard underneath the cooktop.

Louise was sitting in her chair reading and watching me. “What are you doing?”, she said. “I'm putting the pots and pans away.”, I replied. “That's not how we do it. We put them in separately and put the lids on each one.”

In my brain, I thought, well, that may be how you do it, but it's not how I do it. Fortunately, I only said that in my head and not out loud or there would have been a discussion about the right way to do things and the wrong way and I'm pretty sure my way would have been wrong. What she really means is that there's the Louise Way and the Cliff Way and the Cliff Way is, by definition, the wrong way. It's sort of like our banking when I found out that there's her money and our money. I don't have any money of my own.

There are lots of things that I do wrong. I don't think they're wrong but they're not the way she does them and so they are wrong. I fold towels and shirts the wrong way. I don't vacuum in places that I can't see (why would I?). I leave grease on the dishes when I wash them. I don't put the carton that holds my Diet Ginger Ale in the recycle bin when it's empty. (I would, but it seems silly to head to the garage for only one carton when, if I just wait a couple of weeks, I can have an armful and only have to make one trip).

Most of these little foibles can be dismissed by the simple fact that I am a man. That's not an excuse, but it is a reason. Our brains simply don't function the same way a woman's brain does. There was a study done some years ago about why men and women remember things differently. There is an area in the hypothalamus gland that lights up differently in men and women when they are experience something. Psychologists theorize that this is why, after an argument for example, that men remember the gist of the argument but women remember the argument in exquisite detail. Those of us who have discussed a disagreement with a woman after the fact can painfully attest to this simple truth. They demolish us with details.

I think it's the same way with a lot of things. That explains why my cleaning is sort of good but Louise's cleaning is to go after every bit of dirt there is. Some dirt, I just don't see. As you can see, Louise is a detail person and I . . .well . . . I am not.

I have tried to defend my lack of attention to detail as the hallmark of a great leader. The president doesn't sweat the details. He makes policies and decisions and leaves it to other people to fill in the details, probably women. We need both big idea people and people who can implement those ideas. One without the other won't work. I think that's a big reason why Louise and I work, even though we are completely opposite in so many ways. We complement each other and we do it well.

Having said that, I don't care and I don't think it's at all important that pots in the cabinet have their lids on.


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