Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Are You Smarter Than an Orangutan?

It happened again yesterday.  I was so engrossed in another early morning blog story I barely heard my wife speaking to me.  Imagine an orangutan holding onto to a small stick.  He licks the stick and shoves it into a hole in the ground in search of some delicious ants to eat.  While he's focused on breakfast, the Mrs. walks up to him and asks, "honey, do you think you can bake the tilapia for dinner tonight?  Some black beans would go great with it."

Remember, the orangutan loves his ants.  He also loves his wife.  The problem is when the orangutan is fixated on his breakfast, he only half-hears his wife.  He thinks he heard her say, "What do you think about tilapia with black beans for dinner?  I can bake it when I get home for work."

He kisses his wife and answers, "That sounds great to me.  Have a great day at work.  I love you."

Mr. Orangutan enjoys the rest of his day in solitude.  He takes a mid-day nap to digest his feast.  When he wakes up, he turns on the TV and finds two other orangutans hitting a ball back and forth.  He notices one of the orangutans is left-handed, just like him.  The rallies are hypnotic.  One point goes back and forth 54 times before the leftie misses.  This is more fun than hunting for ants, the husband thinks.  He's back in his trance.  The hours drift away.

While lounging deep within his cave, he hears a disturbance.  The Mrs. is home from work.  "Why are these dishes still in the sink?"  He hears her question bouncing off the walls.  He cowers.  "Where's the tilapia?" she asks.  More echoes descend all the way to the basement.

"I thought you told me you were baking the tilapia," he answers.

It's probably not the best time to tell the Mrs. that the US Open is on TV or that your favorite football team is on national TV tonight and you invited the baby orangutans over for a party -- especially when she walks in with a movie she picked out from the Red Box on her way home from a full day at the office.

This scene makes me think of the TV show, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?  I wonder, am I smarter than an orangutan?  The real question is, do I love my wife enough to recognize the times when I fail to give her my full attention and listen... really listen?  The answer is "yes."

Today is a clean slate.  I have another day off from my day job.  I'm going to clean my cave from top to bottom, install some curtains in our daughter's room, prepare a delicious dinner for my wife and watch The Queen to cap off the day.  And the next time my wife reaches out to me while I'm hunting for ants, I promise to put the stick down and listen to her every word.  It's the small things in a relationship that add up to big things.

Would you like to add to the conversation?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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