By RHONDA SCHROCK
Of all things. There they were, right before me. Displayed in splendor, they sparkled amidst an array of more plebeian styles. I could have sworn they called my name.
Having been taught six ways from Sunday that one ought never to swear, especially on a stack of Bibles, I couldn’t go that far. I could, however, affirm beside a pile of hymnals that this, indeed, is what happened.
They were only the very shoes I’d always wanted. There I was, bouncing along in time with the sunshine. And there they perched, blazing cuteness and sass and calling my name.
“Don’t you just love it when that happens?” a friend said recently. “It saves sooo much time.”
I knew what she meant. There’d been, after all, a recent incident with a certain spring scarf, a jaunty little number that had reached right out and collared me upon walking into the store. It did save time when it went like that. It did!
What was a girl to do when lightning struck in the shoe department? Especially when further market research (okay, so I snatched them up and shouted for a price check) revealed that they were on sale? What then? Well, The Girl rested in God’s perfect will, that’s what, and bought the shoes.
Bless Mr. Schrock. For the life of him, he’d never understand it. Never “get” why color mattered, style counted and how a pair of shoes could turn the tide. To him, it was a mystery, how a pop of orange on a girl’s shoulder was a statement, a weather vane that telegraphed a mood.
In his world, a fellow carried the same old, brown wallet (OBW) for years, tucking it firmly into a pocket on the back where it made no statement as to fashion or mood. Sturdy. Serviceable. Solid and safe. That was the ticket in Logical Man World.
While he didn’t understand it, he was remarkably understanding of his wife. In fact, he’d come home just the other night, relating a conversation he’d had that day. “She said you’re little and spunky, and she just loves you.” This was delivered with a twinkle in the eye and a kiss.
Well, I couldn’t lie. When a girl was born with a little red in her hair, some spunk came with it. There was a reason, poor fellow, that he often looked tired, and I couldn’t blame it all on those boys.
It did make life interesting, though, and as I’d often told him, “You might be mad, tied in knots and sprouting an ulcer, but at least, thank God, you’re not bored.” He would simply sigh, looking tired, and head for the couch.
Meanwhile, as I was cheerfully accessorizing, there was plenty about Man World that I’d never understand, either. Why, for starters, were machines so fascinating? Give a man—well, pretty much anything with a gas tank, and he’d be entertained for hours. What was that about?
While I was making statements with scarves and shoes, Mr. Schrock was finding solace in chain saws and mowers. Was it the fumes? The noise? The roar that made the ground tremble? What?
He’d had all kinds of fun last year, choosing a mower. For days, he’d researched and read. Made phone calls, asked questions. Visited dealerships, kicked tires before pulling the trigger. When he’d come home with a bright orange Bad Boy mower, his grin had been blinding. And it didn’t stop. Every time he came in from a trip around the yard, I’d surreptitiously check his teeth, looking for bugs in that kilowatt smile.
Then there was fire. What on earth was up with that? Men, I’d found, loved it. Loved building a campfire and stirring around. Loved throwing in boxes to make it blaze high. They loved poking around and adding on logs. That’s what I’d learned about men.
Was it a remnant of the Stone Age? Was there a little bit of caveman inside every boy? Maybe it was a primitive instinct, a thrill at the ability to create light and heat with the stroke of a match. Whatever it was, those guys could spend hours out back at the burn pit, happy as prehistoric clams with their lighters.
The other male component I’d never gotten was the allure of boomers. Put some fire with a cracker, and there they went. Suddenly, every man was a kid again, full of adolescent glee. The louder the explosion, the more they guffawed, slapped knees and pounded backs. They’d use pumpkins and buckets, roaring with laughter and high-fiving each other.
“Look at the height we got that time,” they’d chuckle, thumping their chests and snapping pictures with their cell phones. This, of course, as the women sat around the fire, lip reading over the kabooms and comparing summer flip-flops and sandals.
Nope. We don’t understand each other. But we get along just fine, I with my SBCs (Spunky Black Clogs) with a little dash of sass, and him with his sturdy brown wallet and drawer full of bottle rockets.