Monday, August 3, 2009

Crimes Against Fruit

I am inspired to make a couple of points, perhaps the first in an ongoing series, something like a Rough Guide To Boring Things That Happen to Men and Women Who Live Together Too Much. Working title suggestions “I’m Okay, You’re Not” or maybe “The Wife Whisperer”. Suggestions welcome.

1. Never, ever ask a woman if she’s pre-menstrual. Particularly if she is in an hysterical state. The etymology of hysterical may interest you here. It was said that when a woman became of child bearing age and had failed to conceive (ie: she was pre-menstrual) her ‘hyster’ (uterus) broke free of its moorings and began to roam her body in search of said child, thus rendering her hysterical. That modern theory has moved away from this, having nailed it so concisely, is stunning to me.

There is enough legal precedent citing PMS as defence (homicide, credit card fraud - you name it) that the hapless male would be better off asking, carefully, if the angry woman before him had been bitten by a rabid dog. The repercussions might be less life threatening anyway.

I can offer up an affirmation which seems to help my husband. It goes like this:

I am a duck in a thunderstorm, my feathers are waterproof, soon the storm will pass.

Failing that, buy her a lovely, red Ferrari and everything will be fine.

2. Husbands, like children, require constant supervision while playing with secateurs and other pruning devices.

Recent events have forced a brief, qualitative research session with the men at my office “Have you ever been in trouble for pruning?” began the line of questioning. The response was fairly consistent. Hands went up in surrender, eyes widened, sphincters tightened. These overzealous pruners had all had to endure days of silent treatment and tears. They looked like they’d been busted at a 12 step programme called Pruners Anonymous and were working their way through things. Guiltily and with uncertain eye contact, they told me that since the “bougainvillaea incident” they had been careful to “ask first”.

The discovery of the top half of my lemon tree (the bit with fruit and leaves on it) on the rubbish collection pile last week is something I am struggling to process non-violently. Which means I am sulking. Initial talks degenerated into ‘tit for tat’ based on my treatment of a couple of tomato bushes some time ago. And while two wrongs don’t make an adult, he had a point. There was a history of crime against fruit in this family.

Whilst making way for a mass planting of herbs I had wrenched two tomato plants out of the ground, thinking them common, unattractive and unimportant. “It’s like coming home and finding your children with their heads chopped off!” he said, all high pitched and tense. “No it’s not.” I said, ducking a flying star picket. But his hyster had broken free of its moorings, and was looking for tomatoes, I suppose.

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