Jun 14, 2007

Posted in Amusing, Writing | 0 Comments

CFS Syndrome

Does your husband/significant other suffer from an insidious condition called CFS (Can’t Find Shit) Syndrome? Although there’s been recent studies claiming male superiority in spatial abilities which allegedly explains their superior map-reading and driving skills, how does this explain the average male’s utter uselessness at finding ANYTHING around the house?

I’ll admit it, I’m a crappy map reader. Although I’m a damn good driver and have never been in a car accident. Unlike other feminists who get all huffy about gender differences, I am all too happy to blame my personal failures on my gender. Personal accountability is so outdated. Why take responsibility for your shortcomings when you can find a medical condition that explains it all away? This way I’m no longer a retard, I’m just testosterone-deficient.

Ironically, as I write this blog about the alleged superiority of male spatial abilities, I’m interrupted by a loud crash outside. I glance out my window to see that my very manly man of a handyman has crashed into my neighbor’s mailbox and knocked it off its post. Apparently, backing out of my driveway proved to be too much of a challenge to his testosterone sharpened visio-spatial skills. Luckily, my neighbor — your garden-variety, perimenopausal, nosy, shrew — isn’t home. So we quickly glue the mailbox back onto the post and skulk away, after checking that there were no other witnesses.

Anyhow, in light of these medical studies proving this preternatural ability that men have, then how to explain this widely reported phenomenon by wives and girlfriends everywhere of their baffling inability to locate personal items in the house? Case in point. My dear hubby is a great driver, great parallel parker and brilliant map reader. But he should be the poster child for CFS Syndrome. The man can’t find anything in the house. Every other sentence uttered in the house is prefaced with, “Sweetie, where is [insert mundane household item used a million times here]?” And God forbid, said item is moved from its usual place. And in a house with children, things do get moved around.

For example, my son’s backpack is usually by the front door. But sometimes it’s not. And when it’s not, it’s as if my hubby’s circuits get overloaded by this highly unorthodox occurrence and freezes. So what does he do? Does he maybe scan the immediate vicinity to see if, maybe, just maybe it could be somewhere else in the room? Does he maybe check in the other usual places, like dining room table or even my son’s room? Negative. He just lamely yells out for me.

Never mind that I could be sitting on the toilet or doing something else that I’d rather not be disturbed doing. I’ll sigh and close my eyes and concentrate. Usually, I’m able to visualize where I last saw the missing item. If not, then I’ll go through the process of elimination until I find it. And to my utter frustration, the missing thing is often just a few feet next to or above the usual resting place. Like the backpack will be on the fireplace hearth adjacent to the door, or that missing bag of chips on the next shelf up from its usual shelf on the pantry. If only my hubby would just widen his telescopic focus just a tad, he would’ve seen it.

“It’s right under your nose!” I would shriek, totally infuriated with him. He would always shrug and respond in quiet bewilderment, “But it wasn’t in its usual place.” I simply can’t wrap my mind around this defense. So what!? Look up, look down, look around. Aaargh!

But to be fair, I have to afford my poor sweetie the same opportunity to deflect accountability for his limitations by using the gender card as well. Anthropologists could argue that these differences reflect our highly evolved origins as hunter-gatherers. Specifically, men did the hunting while women did the gathering. Hunting, while requiring great strength and stamina, did not require great imagination. In fact, it required a singular, laser-like focus as hunters could track a single prey for many miles and many days without getting distracted. A doggedly determined, tunnel vision, if you will.

In contrast, the female gatherers had to scan their surroundings and explore their environment to gather food. So it paid off to develop a good memory of where they last saw that abundant blackberry bush and to notice landmarks or other details. So maybe it’s not his fault. He’s just a highly evolved hunter with singular vision. So what if men are better drivers and better map readers? Maybe they’ll get to their destination quickly and efficiently, but in the process, miss out on the scenery and accidental diversions along the way.

I don’t see a cure for CFS Syndrome anytime soon. Too bad, because it’s not those afflicted who suffer the most, but their female counterparts who function as a one-woman Lost and Found. Maybe we’re unwitting enablers. Anybody up for forming a support group?

What do you think?

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