One of the best scenes in The King of Queens sitcom series is when Carrie has had enough of her husband Doug asking where things are in the kitchen, and she begs him to “Just learn. LEARN!” and tests him by encouraging him to find a pair of scissors. As part of her diatribe, she releases those words we’ve all wondered at some point “What if I wasn’t here?” Or, “What if I get abducted by aliens? How will my family carry on without me?”
Now of course we know that their true survival does not rely totally on us, and our spouses and children are capable human beings. But some days we wonder… if we weren’t there, how would they cope? It’s not about the big stuff. They would know how to keep themselves safe, eat, and keep a roof over their heads. But the day to day stuff is where we worry… Would they know where the extra jar of peanut butter is stored? Would they know when to pay the bills? Do they have the phone number and name of the various doctors? Do they know where the Christmas decorations are stored? Do they remember where the spare set of keys are hidden? Do they know that the winter boots are stored in the closet in the basement? In a Real Woman’s worrying brain, these are the vitally important need-to-know facts of existence, and without the answers, life would become chaotic.
Just in the past day or two, I’ve been asked the following questions from the men in my house: “Where are my W-2’s filed?” “Which freezer is the burger meat in?” “Do we have any onions?” “I’m out of soap, do we have any more?” “Where are my shoes?” “What time do I have to be at church?” “What do we watch on tv tonight?” “Where are the trash bags?”
I sometimes wonder if we all live in the same house. Or, perhaps without knowing it, I’ve been some how secretive and ninja-like about where I put things, or what I tell them. How could they not know where the extra toilet paper rolls are kept? Or where the trash bags are?
I suppose they have their own things that escape The Great Omniscient R.W. mom and wife. Lord knows I have no clue how my son plays his video games nor do I understand half of what he’s saying when he’s talking to his buddies. And I’d be totally lost if I had to go find something in my husband’s workshop… not that I’d ever need anything out there in man’s world, but still – it’s like a mystery lair of guy stuff, “organized” in only a way that makes sense to him. I don’t go in there much. But as for the house? Yeah, there’s not much that gets by me there. The guys may think it is a bit freaky that I know that their favorite pair of gloves are in the third bureau drawer, that I have back up bottles of ketchup on the second shelf in the pantry, or that in five minutes I could put my hands on our tax files from 2003; but knowing these things brings me comfort.
Let’s face it. We R.W.’s are the Home & Family Maintenance Supervisors in our domains. We operate as the lead directors in the Traffic Control Center of our family units. Could the others who reside in our homes survive without us? Of course. Would their days run like clockwork without our guidance? Probably not. For one thing, it would take them far longer to find things. I imagine them drifting about wondering where to go. But we can’t blame them. After all, we are the ones who put the scissors away in the first place, and they can’t read our minds.
Heck, even the aliens that abduct us probably wouldn’t know where to look for stuff we put away. That’s why they’d send us back eventually.