Friday, May 01, 2009

My Drive

I read What Women Want Men to Know yesterday. Why? Because I’m weird.

To be fair, I didn’t read it, I listened to the audiobook. Again, not normal, but normaller. And I didn’t go looking for it, I just looked online for what audiobooks I could download the fastest. I ended up downloading The Road (which I have yet to finish [in actual book, not audiobook] though it seems quite good), The Graveyard Book, Bonk, an episode of This American Life, Rescuing the Spectacled Bear by Stephen Fry and What Women Want Men to Know. An eclectic collection, and some commentary could be made as to my personality given the books that I chose to download.

I made the OH to NY drive yesterday. Normally I just make a 6.5 hour playlist and hit the road. But I decided I wanted to add one thing to the list of the things that I “did” this week, and “reading” an audiobook seemed reasonable enough. So I made a 2 hour playlist and hit the road.

To again be fair, reading this type of book is not entirely out of character for me. I read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands in order to crash our Relief Society book club. I thought it only fair that since I had read the book, and many members of the book club hadn’t read it, that I be able to participate. They disagreed. I also read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I had won it at a white elephant exchange and a girl said she wanted to discuss it after I read it. So I read it, but she was a liar and didn’t actually want to talk about it.

These books are silly.

That’s not to say they have no merit. That’s not even to say that I disagree with them, though certainly I disagree with parts. They just seem to point out the obvious. If there were a WWWMtK quiz, I think I’d get a 95% without reading the book. Admittedly, I wouldn’t know out of the blue that women need to feel safe, feel valued and feel connected, but I could certainly pick them out of a multiple choice lineup. After reading/hearing one of these books I don’t feel like I’ve really learned anything. I’ve been reminded of things, which is valuable, but I haven’t learned anything new.

The people in these books are SO DUMB. I realize they make exaggerations to make a point, but the exaggerations are so broad that it really just removes it from reality. They depict men in a certain way, when we all know that it’s some men are kind of like that some of the time. I think the way these books would be the most valuable is if you and your partner listened to them together. Then you could say point by point “yeah, that applies to us” or “that is ridiculous. The people in that story shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce.” That would be productive.

In any case, I can’t really recommend the book. If for no other reason because author’s jokes were really bad and she used the term “verbal intercourse” far too often.

* * * * * * * *

This American Life is one of those things that lots of people that I genuinely like and respect enjoy, but that I’ve never gotten around to experiencing. Which is silly really, since not only do people who share common interests with me highly recommend it, but I know for a fact that people I enjoy contribute regularly to the show.

The episode I downloaded featured 4 stories by Scott Carrier, and I thought they were all great. I’m biased because he talked about schizophrenia, amnesia, Utah and writing, topics I’d enjoy, but I think anyone would like the pieces. The last piece involved him interviewing his 11 year old daughter, and she said something that I thought was more insightful than the whole of WWWMtK.

“I think that people who love each other have to have fights sometimes, or they wouldn’t understand each other very well. Not everybody is exactly the same, so they might disagree about something. But two people who love each other have to understand each other, and to understand each other they have to know what they’re thinking.”

I think a lot of us spend so much time avoiding the fights that we lose the opportunity to understand other people. Fighting is a form of communication, and communication is necessary for intimacy. Fighting isn’t necessary for intimacy, but it can help us in that direction. That was my favorite message of the 6.5 hour trip.
If you have a recommendation for my next 6.5 hours of “reading” let me know.


Reza said...

Great post. I too have been advised/recomended/ told to listen to this American life by many many people. I will continue to resist and not listen. I loved the road, I even kinds agreed with the ending. I will watch the movie.

Meg said...

We heard that one on our way from Utah to NY. I, too, thought she was incredibly insightful for an 11-year-old.