I’m currently reading What’s Wrong With the World by G.K. Chesterton, part of my haul from the American Chesterton Society table at the homeschooling conference last month. (I’m also re-varnishing the front hall floor… so if my spelling or grammar is off tonight, blame the fumes. Last night, it dropped to a reasonable 75 degrees and kept dropping. Not tonight, of course, when I need to ventilate the house. It’s still 80 and miserably humid at 1 am. Ick.)
As Dale Ahlquist, the president of the ACS said in several of his talks, (I’m paraphrasing), “The thing to cure all your problems is more Chesterton! And I have tons of him at my table, right against the far wall of the vendor area…” So, I will endevor (too late, too many fumes to get that right…) attempt to enliven your day with an extended quote from Chesterton:
Some impatient trader, some superficial missionary, walks across an island and sees the squaw digging in the fields while the man is playing a flute; and immediately says that the man is a mere lord of creation and the woman a mere serf. He does not remember that he might see the same thing in half the back gardens in Brixton, merely because women are at once more conscientious and more impatient, while men are at once more quiescent and more greedy for pleasure. It may often be in Hawaii as it is in Hoxton. That is, the woman does not work because the man tells her to work and she obeys. On the contrary, the woman works because she has told the man to work and he hasn’t obeyed.
I read this to my DH the other night. It was about ten o’clock, at least. I had just finished folding laundry and filling the dishwasher. I was impatiently waiting for him to get off his obnoxious submarine-hunting video game (on my laptop, which he insists is not “mine”, but jointly held) so I could enter a bunch of data in my Excel spreadsheet of garden output. (Yes, seriously. I’ve got lovely little graphs of lettuce, bean, and tomato production. Theoretically, this is going to help me decide what’s worth its footprint in the garden and what isn’t.) Plus, I wanted to catch up on blogging, and I needed to get online to decide on a pattern for the table runner I’m weaving for my in-laws.
DH made that face and some garbled sentences that came out mostly as, “I’d try to be offended, but I’m in the middle of a game, which only proves the point, so I might as well quit defending my gender before I start and admit that Chesterton, as usual, has precisely described the issue…”
I could go on with the examples (Me: the lawn needs mowing. Him: oh, it can wait another two or three days… Me: I mowed the lawn while he was at work.), but it’s late (Me: I should go to bed, after I run the dishwasher, put away the clean clothes, check the calendar for tomorrow… Him: I’m going to bed. Zzzzzz…..) and he does read the blog every so often, so I’ll hear about it. (speaking of hearing about it: Me: KILL THE MUSKRATS! I’ve tried everything! Him: Why don’t we wait a bit and see if it goes away? Me, three days later: Ok, it ate what was left of the corn plants. Him: Ok, so let’s wait a bit longer and see if it leaves…)
This is a large part of why, I think, Chesterton also commented that divorce because of incompatibility was silly. Men and women are, at their core, incompatible, and, “Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honor should decline.”
(DH rolled his eyes at that quote, too… )