Everyone, it turns out, has their own dysfunction.
One morning last week, my very dear husband, Ralf, and I were rushing out the door to work. I was running late and hadn't yet packed our meals. (We bring our meals to work.)
"There's Thai baked tofu in the fridge," I called out, "and a selection from the freezer. Green bean curry, curried kasha and lentil sambhar. Take whatever you want."
I heard muttering.
"What's up?" I called.
My husband made one of those helpless sounds that meant he couldn't find a single thing I had mentioned.
"I'll do it," I said, running from one end of the house to the other in visible irritation. I reached, selected, stacked. "There you go," I said.
I went back down the hallway, muttering about how the wonderful men in my life (husband Ralf, son Erik) had never seemed able to find things in the fridge but could manage to have long conversations about electron spin and the Neanderthal genome.
How was it possible, I asked myself, that two intelligent men could not find labeled plastic containers but could identify network addresses?
We got in the car. I was about to express my annoyance. Then I remembered.
"Wow," I said. "I just realized that I have no case to make."
"Really?" Ralf asked. "Do tell."
"Remember the books?" I asked.
"Can you be more specific?"
Just the day before, I had been struggling with Internet search engines, trying to find obscure books in German from the early 20th century. Most of what I wanted was not as easily available as I would have liked. I became grumpy and impatient. I made many muttering sounds.
At which point, my very dear husband left his own work behind, rolled his office chair over beside mine and began to guide me through a different search engine, which revealed that at least some of what I wanted was actually online.
During the process, I repeatedly clicked too fast on various links as he was guiding me. He asked me to stop. He muttered something.
"What?" I demanded.
"You are a click demon," he said, shaking his head. "You click on links like a shark in a feeding frenzy."
I admit it: Both my husband and son have frequently helped me with computer-related issues. Both have often noted that I have a click mania of sorts.
They have learned to live with my dysfunction.
So I didn't say a thing about my husband's dysfunctional food locator system. I have a dysfunctional interface locator system.
I believe we should all stop muttering at each other and own up to our dysfunctions.
Because we all have them.