Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost and Found

In every relationship, tasks inevitably become divided into "his" and "hers." He takes care of the cars and the lawn, she does the dishes and the laundry. He cooks, she cleans up after. He takes care of the money, she changes the diapers. You get the idea.

In my relationship, Sven and I have developed what I feel to be a truly remarkable division of labor: Sven is responsible for losing things, and I am responsible for finding them. I know this sounds mundane, but trust me: what I am describing here is something special.

Sven's ability to lose things amazes me. At first, I thought it was a logical outgrowth of his difficulty seeing: when we met and began dating, Sven was legally blind, with severe astigmatism and myopia. When we became very poor married college students, we couldn't afford his contact lenses, so he went about in a pair of the thickest glasses invented by man. These glasses were so thick they were almost opaque, so of course I understood that he couldn't see things that were right in front of him. If he called plaintively to me that he had lost his shoe, I would of course jump into action, knowing that he would find it himself if he could only see, the poor dear.

Then, he got the lasik eye surgery. A miracle! He could see! Now I no longer felt so sorry for him when he plaintively called to me to find something six inches from his right hand. I couldn't understand how he could lose things so easily, when they were right in front of him!

Now I know, it's my fault. You see, when Sven asks me to find something, I always assumed he had looked first, so I jumped into action, finding the object in question. My illusions were shattered the day he stood in the middle of the living room, holding Deb Jr. in his arms, stating that he had looked all over the house and couldn't find her shoes.

Where did you look? I asked. I was very calm.

Everywhere, he answered, nostrils akimbo.

Did you look down? I asked. For there they were, each shoe mere inches from his own.

In psychology, they call this "learned helplessness." I have taught Sven, by always finding everything, that he doesn't need to look. He knows I will be there, using my amazing finding skills, somehow knowing that the air pump for Deb Jr.'s travel bed is on the floor next to the piano, or that Sven Jr.'s diaper ointment is in the video games cabinet, or that Sven's phone is in the trunk of dress-up clothes in Deb Jr.'s room.

With great power comes great responsibility, and this is mine.


Jill (Sneaky Momma) said...

Ha! My husband could have written this post about me! I'm always losing my hairbrush and dress shoes. He can find them within minutes, even after I've searched for awhile. Interesting to look at him from the opposite perspective...

Kristina P. said...

My husband isn't horrible with losing things. Just being completely ADHD.

Barbaloot said...

I lost my favorite jacket awhile you know where it is?

Debbie said...

It drives my husband and me crazy if we lose something. Having said that, he can't find a thing! Men:)

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Absolutely genius post. I adored the last line. I have been thinking and thinking over the last few weeks about how to write a post about empowering your man. I think Sven and my guy suffer from the same affliction.

Isn't there some sort of quick and easy 12 step program that we could ship them off to?


Kristina P. said...

I thought of you today. Apparently, Rob Pattinson slammed Zac Efron in an article. For some reason, I hear Rob, and I think Deb!

And it's time for a new post! :)