Silence is bronze

It’s not nice to poke fun at your spouse. Never tease a spouse. Sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut. Actually, sometimes it’s more fun (and more effective) to say nothing at all. Silence speaks volumes.

Let me set the scene: A married couple, united in love but as opposite as two people could be, sit across from one another working individually on the set-up of new wireless computer tablet devices (thanks to Santa). Each has a mobile phone, the coordinating tablet and instructions in foreign languages spread out. Collectively, they have one goal: to synchronize the devices to improve their communication efficiency (cough).

Marriage is about communication, they reason, thus devices to make the art of communicating more efficient and fast should be easy to coordinate.

The excitement of two new tech toys to play with accidentally encourages a flicker of competition between the otherwise calm couple whose respect for one another means they would never compete to be the smartest person in the relationship. One talent they share is a stubborn need to be right, respectfully, of course. Otherwise, they are very laid back people who appreciate one another’s individual talents and have even been known to champion one another’s strengths.

For instance, the spouse whose work requires use of technology and has a slightly alarming addiction to her mobile device is more, shall we say, technologically savvy. She has to be. It’s part of her career. Meanwhile, the other spouse works with power tools all day and considers his mobile device an annoyance that causes nothing more than distraction and frustration, allowing stupid people to ask him stupid questions while he is doing important man work (hmph).

To the casual observer, this scene should be obvious. The woman with the new device, bound by a technology addiction, is like a rat in an obstacle course looking for the cheese. She will figure the device out, no matter what. When she cannot, she will complain if it were an iPad, it would be far easier, while her spouse ignores her remarks that this is not the brand of tablet she wanted.

In the spirit of friendly competition, the male partner believes he will conquer his device without the aid of instructions, because since Ikea created furniture with an allen key, no man worth is his chops would dare to read the directions to anything.

Diligently, the couple clicks away on the invisible keypad, testing the mobile phones, putting fingerprints all over their pristine tablet pads. They each shoo away their inquisitive children, encouraging them to go plug themselves in to their own video games because that’s the right thing to do.

Suddenly, the energy at the table is electric. The urgency to champion the technology first becomes evident. It is a race to the finish. Who will win the ultimate ability to “messenger” their spouse’s device first?

Silently, the wife lifts her fully functioning tablet, angles it carefully and with the click of the photo feature snaps the image of her less than amused spouse.  He didn’t see it coming. He did not smile.

And that was the end of their communication for approximately 24 hours. Sometimes, silence is necessary.


Kelly Waterhouse