Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guy Talk

So, here we are again, another exciting Saturday at work.  The dawn has broken over the gray green waters of the Delaware, the sun is struggling to burn through the layer of smog and carcinogens belching from the stack directly opposite my window, and I am chained to the “community desk” listening to coworkers pontificate on everything from plumbers glue to navel oranges to Van Johnson. 

I’m not the overly inquisitive type.  I don’t pass through a metal detector and wonder why it detects certain types of metals and completely ignores others (yeah, I know – phase shifting, resistance, magnets – whatever).  And it simply never occurred to me to wonder what a truck driver does when he is on the road for 10 or more hours a day, all alone, sometimes with no radio.  Well, let me tell you – he, or she, goes stark raving mad!  Now, I’m not trying to be sexist or anything, but female drivers generally seem to hold up a little better under these conditions than their male counterparts.  I did question this, and I believe it is due to their roles outside of work. 

Women are nurturers, therefore, I don’t care how many hours a week Mom works, she knows how to handle the incessant needs of her children, their relentless demands for justice, and their endless bids for attention.  She multi-tasks; she tunes out.  And the first chance she gets to revel in the most minuscule periods of peace and quiet – she goes for it.

Men, however?  Well, Ladies, don’t let ‘em fool you, when it comes to the gift of gab, men are the primary beneficiaries.  Women may communicate in ways that better capture their feelings or the creative aspects of an issue, but men just say it – and say it a lot!  Quiet seems to drive them to the brink of insanity.  Look at the number of men that can’t function without the drone of the television.  My father would fall asleep in his recliner, impervious to my mother’s screams over the MMA fight my brother and I had going mere inches from his feet, but touch the power button on the blaring television…  It was like an explosion had gone off under his Lazy Boy.

Until I began working day in and day out with men – specifically, drivers I had no idea what went on at seventy miles an hour.  Silly me, I thought they were actually driving.  No, Young Grasshopper, there are thought processes occurring that I can’t even begin to describe.  My husband is a prime example; though based on some of his childhood antics, I would guess he had a propensity toward unique cerebral exercise from the jump.  As for my additional experience?  Well, I am one of the folks fortunate enough to pick up the phone after the driver’s long trek through our nation’s interstate network.  As the driver approaches civilization for the first time in five hours or more, he unleashes a barrage of the most vulgar, twisted or nonsensical thought upon the first set of ears lucky enough to meet his voice.  Thoughts that have been germinating in the solitude of a climate controlled tractor barreling down the road right next to you, Innocent Motorist.  (And if the climate control isn’t working?  Oooh, it’s such a bad thing for brain function.  Picture Tetris Level 29 firing toward you.)  Then, as if his thoughts have somehow increased exponentially from the time we hung up until he reaches the office, he will drop another word bomb on his next unsuspecting quarry, or choose to reclaim my attention, his “catch of the day.”  I used to think solitary confinement was a good choice for problem prisoners; based on personal observation, I can't imagine eventually unleashing such a barrage of warped thought on General Population and calling it a success.  

Don't get me wrong, so many of my co-workers are knowledgeable, well-travelled, and extremely helpful.  But just once I'd like to navigate the ebb and flow of my day without a lecture on retreads, a cautionary tale on the reality of laughing yourself to death, a debate between Tony Luke's and John's fans, or a boccie lesson.

 Then again, I've really never played boccie -- it might be fun.     


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