NewsMail editor Christina Ongley
NewsMail editor Christina Ongley Max Fleet

Blah, blah, blah, Ginger not just for dogs

IF YOU'RE familiar with Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons, you may remember an old favourite that goes like this.
What we say to dogs: "Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage or else!"

What they hear: "Blah blah, Ginger, blah blah blah blah blah blah, Ginger, blah blah blah."

And while I don't exactly want to liken my beloved to a dog, there are times when I relate to this cartoon very closely - particularly when I'm trying to talk to him about something and it becomes plain later on that the language I speak is not the one he's relating to at that time.

So while I'm prattling away about house or family needs and he's nodding, The Farmer is really thinking about the weather, how much spraying and slashing he has to do, the amount of fruit he's getting picked and packed, and how his lack of sleep is not helping his ability to listen to my babbling without frowning.

I'm not talking about things like "don't forget to put that in the dishwasher" or "it's bin night, remember?"

It's true he ignores me on these things too, but they have been white noise to him for years.

I'm talking more about moments in which we discuss particular issues that require his attention and I later realise I would have been better off just having the conversation with myself.

So recently, when we were discussing plans to visit friends and family in Brisbane, I must have repeated about a dozen times that the plan was to head down this weekend and again in two weeks for a friend's 40th birthday party.

You may think that sounds like an exaggeration, but it's not.

I told him about a dozen times because that's about how many times he kept on asking me what the dates were again.

Despite that, I got a message from his mum last week saying she'd love to catch up given I would be down there that weekend.

I told The Farmer afterwards that I had felt bad for declining the offer, but that I'd wondered why she had thought I would be in town that weekend.

"That's because I told her you were visiting," he said to me last Thursday. "It's this weekend you're going down, isn't it?"

No, I replied, it was the next weekend, as I had told him before.

He frowned, as though trying to recollect the single conversation we had had in which dates were discussed.

Never mind, I figured. He's a bloke.

But the cherry on top came this week.

Ever since we moved into our house two years ago, I have been saying we needed some sort of wardrobe or dresser in the spare room, so guests actually had somewhere to put their clothes apart from the floor when they came to stay.

Several weeks ago, we finally got around to buying a dresser that was perfect for the room. I cannot tell you how many times I would have said the phrase, "dresser for the spare room", in our discussions about him picking it up on the ute and bringing it home.

Eventually, said dresser made it to the house this week, after The Farmer and his mum's partner picked it up on their way back from a business trip.

I returned home to find it plonked in the middle of the lounge room floor.

"How come you didn't put it in the spare room?" I asked, a little perplexed.

"Well," The Farmer replied, "I didn't know where you wanted me to put it."

I was dumbfounded. What I say and what he hears really are two different things after all.



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