Individuals painting a kaleidoscopic world

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009

Dear Leslie,

I didn't read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," the book that detailed the supposed differences between men and women. I do know people had "aha" moments reading it, as if they'd found a manual for finally understanding the other gender and having simpatico relationships.

Although the author primarily focused on psychological and emotional differences, if I'd read the book I'd already know if the visual cortex is one of the dissimilarities. Male and female visual cortexes must be different because I can look at a lawn and see lush, verdant life. DC looks at the same lawn and sees it needs to be mowed. I see perfection. She sees nature out of control.

We're looking at the same lawn. We're seeing two different lawns.

After finishing work yesterday, DC mowed the lawn at her office. After dinner, she mowed the lawn at our rental house. "But I just mowed it," I said. "It needed it," she said.

The visual cortex theory could explain many mysteries. DC looks at our house and sees herself surrounded by things she loves. I see myself surrounded by knickknacks and paddywacks, and they seem to be closing in.

DC sees the Cardinals are playing on TV and exasperatedly exclaims, "Another baseball game?" I explain to her again that once the Major League Baseball season begins in April, games are played almost every day until the World Series in October. I see the Cardinals are on TV and settle in for a good evening.

A dark streak in some clouds poses a threat to DC, one she not-so-secretly enjoys. "Any storm warnings?" she asks hopefully. Close the windows, she says. Disconnect the computer. Reassure Hank and Lucy.

I just see clouds and will worry about them if lightning zigzags vertically and rain falls horizontally.

I see a nightclub with a blues band and want to go in. DC thinks about all the smoke-free things she could be doing instead. I look at a golf course and see an interactive work of art. DC sees a bunch of guys driving glorified go-carts on someone's freshly mown lawn.

We look at barbecue grills. I stop at the shiny chrome ones with multiple grills and shelves, temperature gauges and four on the floor. DC continues walking to the tiny black ones with some assembly required. Three assembly days later, we are cooking.

OK. Perhaps I do let the grass top out, sometimes. Barrels of rain and jungle humidity have made this a bumper year for lawns. But DC might just as surely itch to cut grass before it has fully blossomed.

Sometimes what appears to be disagreement is only a different way of seeing. The world is kaleidoscopic, not beige. I think of differences as a godly palette, and the world as a canvass each one of us is painting. The impossibility of seeing the whole is part of its beauty.

Of course, you might not see things the same way.

Love, Sam

Sam Blackwell is a former reporter for the Southeast Missourian.

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