So I’m still on a ship and the wifi is about what you’d expect, so for now, here’s something I worked up before we left. This blog may contain stereotypes, so sue me—if you can find me…
A couple of weeks ago, I referenced something called the “Nothing Box”. I’m not sure how many people know what that is, so I thought I’d provide some background and context:
Every morning, Ken wakes up super early to take the dog out for a walk. When he’s done, he comes back into the bedroom and immediately falls back to sleep. I’m a tolerant person, but I have my limits, and the other morning I announced, “If you want to keep doing this you’ll be sleeping in another room tonight.” And it was a REASONABLE response because A) I’m on my holidays and B) I have no desire to be awakened at 6:30 am on my holidays while Ken and Titus run out of the room then run back into the room, because they both are REALLY excited about their morning walk. While Titus is leaping on and off the bed and yelling, “This is the best day EVER!!”, Ken tries to sneak around getting dressed, but the more he uses his tiptoes, the more the wooden floor bounces, and then I’m wide awake. “What’s the problem?” Ken asks. “You can always go back to sleep.”
No, Ken, YOU can go back to sleep, but I CAN’T. Because I’m a woman and you’re a man. The second I wake up, my mind starts racing with all the stuff I need to do that day, and how I’m going to do it. When YOU wake up, your mind says, ‘Sleep Now’, like those creepy alien guys in the movie Dark City, and you’re like “OKAY!” , and you go back to sleep, all f*cking cheerful and whatnot. But me? I’m DONE. My mind is now turned up to 11, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Later that day, Ken posted a meme on Facebook that said women typically lose 2 to 4 hours a night lying awake thinking about stuff, and I said, “See? Even the internet knows I’m right.”
And I don’t want to generalize, but that to me seems to be the main difference between some men and women, like Ken and me. I heard once a long time ago on a talk show that men have a Nothing Box in their heads. So when you say to a man, “What are you thinking about?” and he says, “Nothing,” he’s telling you the absolute truth. There is literally NOTHING in his mind because he’s in the Nothing Box. And sometimes, I’ll ask Ken a question, and I’ll be waiting for the answer, and he seems to be taking a really long time thinking about it. Only he’s not. He’s still in his Nothing Box, and when I ask if he has an answer yet, he’ll look at me kind of surprised, like he forgot we were in a conversation. This happens quite often when we’re having a ‘debate’, and I’ll ask “What the f*ck is wrong with you?!”, totally expecting a response, because I’m NOT BEING RHETORICAL, KEN, but he’s actually just disappeared into his Nothing Box when he’s SUPPOSED to be figuring out the answer. I, like many women, don’t have a Nothing Box. I never think about nothing. In fact, I can’t even meditate—if you ask me to clear my mind, I immediately start thinking about how to do that, how long I should do it for, does my breathing sound weird, and also what does “empty’ mean in this context anyway? There are literally a thousand other things that ultimately prevent my mind from actually emptying. Ken, similar to a lot of men when told to empty their minds, are just like “Done. Let’s meditate.” Then they go into the Nothing Box and stay there for a while. It’s like the saying “Lost in thought”. When Ken is lost in thought, it’s just ONE thought that he’s contemplating, like shortcuts or compass points or homemade pizza. When I’m lost in thought, I mean I’m LITERALLY lost in a f*cking maze of bizarre and random ideas that jump from one thing to another like a hyperactive frog, but the one thing I’m ALWAYS doing is problem-solving and making decisions. Even if it’s not readily apparent to the guy in his Nothing Box.
But despite all the solitude in his mind, Ken is not good at the decision-making process. Oh, he can MAKE decisions all right, but then he pretends that he needs my help to figure out things, which is super-frustrating. We have had MANY debates over the years about why he does this—here are some examples of this little quirk of his.
Me: Let’s go for a walk.
Ken: Sure. Which way do you want to go?
Me: Towards the park would be good.
Ken: No, we should go towards the store so we can check our lottery ticket.
Me: Which one of these paint chips do you like best?
Ken: I don’t care. They’re both fine.
Me: I like this one the best.
Ken: No, that one’s too yellow-y. The other one is the colour we should paint the room.
Or more recently:
Ken: Should we check into the hotel first or return the rental car?
Me: Return the car.
Ken: No…blah blah obscure reasoning…
Me: WTF KEN?!
I always say, “Why did you ask for my opinion if you already knew what you wanted to do?!” Then I wait for an answer. But I never get one, because he’s in his Nothing Box. Lucky bastard.