The woman slammed the office phone, looked to the heavens and roared: ''Why can't men find things?''
I ducked beneath my desk, scooted behind the chair and began duckwalking it down the hallway. She found me.
''You're a man!'' she bellowed.
I nodded the chair back in assent. It seemed to be a safe answer.
''Answer me why men cannot find anything without help.''
At the moment, I couldn't find the elevator, but I wasn't about to ask.
I peeked around the chair. ''What sort of things?''
In the worst impersonation of a man I've ever heard, she whined, ''Where are my shorts? Where are my socks? Where's my hammer?''
''Oh, those sort of things.''
I stood up, wheeled my chair back to my desk, realized I was at the wrong desk, moved over a space and sat down. It was time to level with the fairer but frustrated sex.
''Actually, we find all kinds of things all by ourselves without any help whatsoever. See this crazy-looking paperweight on my desk? I found it almost all the way at the bottom of a trash bin in Joe's garage. Neat, huh?''
''It's a broken chunk of a mixer, which you would know if you could find the kitchen. Why were you digging in the trash?''
''We misplaced a carburetor. Turns out he left it on an end table in the living room. His wife told him.''
I cleared my throat. ''Sometimes, we can't find stuff because, you know, women change where we keep it.''
''It's true. For years, I kept my belt on the floor beneath the broken chair in the bedroom. One day right after I got married, I couldn't find my belt. I looked everywhere for it - on the doorknob, over the bookshelf, in the refrigerator
''Finally, I yelled, 'Where's my belt?' My wife shot back, 'Did you try looking in the closet on the hook?' There it was. My belt had never hung in any such place before. I guess it does now.''
The woman rolled her eyes as if I were the unreasonable one. ''I swear you men look right at things and never see them.''
''You're wrong. The other day my wife walked into the room and said, 'Can you not see that spider?'
''Why, I saw that spider long before she did. I stood there for 20 minutes watching it spin its web, swinging from curtain rod to lamp, climbing back up, zipping across again ... fascinating. But then it was time for my game. I was settled in the chair by the time my wife came in and unfairly accused me of not seeing the spider.''
The woman huffed. ''I swear you men haven't a single thought or feeling.''
''That's not true, either. I have two of the one and one of the other. I keep them in a shoe box beneath the bed. I used to bring them out occasionally to admire them and impress girls.
''Now that I'm married, I can't say with absolute certainty that the shoe box is still there. My wife might have moved it. Not that I need it. Now if I need thoughts or feelings, I ask my wife. I don't always remember having thought those thoughts or feeling those feelings, but she assures me that I do.''
''Aaurrgh!'' the woman screamed. She stomped around the corner and punched the wall. I heard an elevator door ding open.
Aha! So that's where it is. Good thing I didn't ask. Now I can find it all by myself.
----- Help Cole find his senses at burts
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