During our working years, our daily schedule and opportunities for interaction and conversation with our spouses went something like this:
- Get ready for work.
- Go to the kitchen for a quick breakfast. Say or grumble something like "Did you call the plumber, dear, to get the leak under the sink fixed?" or, "Did you get my clothes from the dry cleaners?"
- Say "See you later dear" and go out the door.
- Make a phone call or two to your spouse during the day to check on whether she got your stuff done.
- Work all day, including reading emails, checking facebook, checking sports scores, visiting at the water cooler and in the break room. Eat your baloney sandwich at noon or go out for a "business" lunch for an hour or two.
- Get home by whatever means--subway, rapid transit, bus, bicycle, car, or whatever.
- Open door, greet dog if you have one, greet kids if you have them, find your spouse.
- You probably will not find June Cleaver in a shirtwaist dress, high heels, and a frilly apron ready to jump at your beck and call. You will probably find a tired, worn-out spouse, in jeans with a few splotches of Gerber's baby food on her shirt. Ask her how her day went. Then explain how much worse your day went. Hopefully, this day wasn't the one where you got laid off or fired.
- Go sit down on the couch and turn on the news to rest your weary self and relax. Take a 10 minute nap.
- Upon awakening, ask your spouse "How soon is dinner ready?" plus, "What are we having for dinner, dear?"
- Show up at the dinner table if you eat together or, if the kids have already departed for dance lessons, football practice, video games with the neighbor kids, or who knows what, and your spouse is still cleaning up the mess from the day, eat at the kitchen counter. Ask your spouse if she got the plumbing fixed and the dry cleaning picked up.
- Retire to the couch once more to rest from your strenuous office labors and commuting stress to watch NFL football, college football, NBA basketball, or political bloviators. Or, perhaps, you may have asked your spouse if you could help her with the dishes. Happy day.
- When thirsty, say "Dear, could you please bring me a cold one?"
- Bed time. Yawn loudly, tell your spouse how disappointed you are that the refs gypped your favorite team, and then start snoring and snarking.
In other words, during our working years, both spouses typically are working so hard, have so many irons in the fires, have so many concerns at work and at home, that the main conversations tend to be about neighborhood news, job stress, kid issues, nitpicking issues, bills due, home repairs needed, and a variety of little tidbits. But rarely, hardly ever, do we have what we could realistically call a genuine "conversation." (To be continued).