Reason Only Controls After Emotion And Impulse
Have Lost Their Impetus
I will never understand my perpetual failure to learn from past experience. It is a human thing
I think and not related to gender. I have observed that most children will repeat an unpleasant
event several times before deciding it to be not worth the effort. That applies to adults as well.
On sunny and rare, (by virtue of their being in Oregon) days, I try to be prepared for
landscaping tasks. We have a very ancient but running Alice Chalmers tractor affectionately
named Orangey by our family. Orangey is very old and has a delicate disposition, so my husband
must often wou her with many gifts of extra hydrolic fluid, and filters of various types. He is
understandably protective towards her and tends to go on and on about her proper use.
This day, as I was preparing to seize the sun, and go forth on Orangey, my husband stopped
me for one of those interminable lectures that only he is capable of delivering. As he droned on
about the need to check fluid levels, staying in low gear, (did he think my middle name was
Mario for crying out loud?) and always to walk the trail because you never know what the winter
rains have , blah, blah, blah. My brain was chewing holes inside itself, trying to find some way to
escape the lecture I had heard every spring for the 19 years we had been married.
At last, he had become distracted by the need to go instruct one of the children on the proper
use of a hand saw and I was able to escape. Orangey and I slowly dieseled our way down the
over grown trail, with me contentedly ducking the barbed tentacles of black berry vines run
amuck, and preparing myself mentally for an entire day of cultivating the south 40!
Actually it’s only 8 acres, not forty, but after 3 or 4 hours it begins to feel like 40. I was so
pleased with myself. I had inched along carefully and though I had only walked 3/4s of the
trail, everything had gone smoothly so far, and hey what were the odds that anything bad had
happened to the rest of the property?
I was feeling quite smug and indignant about my husbands attitude, when out of nowhere
an uncharted ditch appeared on the landscape! Of course I had been remaining very alert, except
perhaps for a few moments of justifiable back patting, so I reacted instantly. But big, huge, old,
farm machines with delicate dispositions don’t respond in the same manner. I stood straight up
on the brakes and the clutch praying to stop in time. Miss Chalmers, (what I call her when I am
displeased with a behavior) had other ideas. She slid, as if on purpose, to teach me a lesson
for not obeying her owners directions exactly, straight down into the ditch which might as well
have been a canyon. After trying the various tricks my husband taught me, and eventually
draining all the charge from Miss you know who’s battery, I took a desperate measure.
I called my husband on the cell phone. A heavy sigh issued forth from the phone.
Upon his arrival I was prepared for the tirade I felt I must needs endure. I am determined to
maintain my cool and humbly accept his contrition, because after all he did ask me to walk
the ENTIRE trail first.
However any human being can only survive so many deep heavy sighs, mutterings,
shoutings and outright, “I TOLD YOU TO WALK THE TRAIL FIRST!”, statements. How
much more like an idiot did he expect me to feel? No longer able to stand the onslaught, I
launched my own verbal defensive arsenal. One loud derisive comment led to another and before
I knew what was happening, I was left to tote the battery the 900 yards back to the shop. Heat,
briars, and the dead weight of the battery began to fuel my own anger. So, 10 minutes later
when hubby comes meekly walking back to me, apologizing for his behavior and offers to take
the battery from me, I am suddenly taken over by a demon and snarl that I am totally capable of
doing this myself and anyway I am never going to speak to him again! You would think that
after 19 years of marriage, a person would cease to feel the need to make a point.
The only point I ended up making was that stubbornness only begets trips to the
chiropractor. Later in the evening that wonderful, thoughtful and wise husband of mine, carried a
fully charged battery out to the field, started her up and using the bucket and rear wheels, climbed
forward, almost straight up and out. Meanwhile, back at the house, even though my two year old
had been warned many times before, not to pick the cat up by the pointy ends, or the part that
looks like a handle, miss kitty reminded him of our lectures. His lesson was sharp, to the point
and most unpleasant. I consoled him and reminded him that sometimes lessons just have to be
learned by experience.