"Tom, remember to take the trash out," I reminded my husband the other day.
He was on his computer game, his eyes focused on the screen. He moved the mouse as if on autopilot and inwardly cursed when someone apparently took a shot at his soldier.
"Tom," I repeated. "You need to take the trash out."
Tom's fingers started flying across the keyboard as though he were writing his own blog entry. But instead he was quickly gathering ammunition for his soldier. While he was doing this he was muttering, "Take that, asshole."
I massaged my temples slowly. I was already feeling the first signs of a cold coming on. Since Tommy is back at school it means he's been bringing home germs and I'm due for a sickness since it's been awhile. My mouth already felt sore at the base of my throat and my left nostril was getting difficult to breathe out of. I didn't have the patience to deal with a husband who was ignoring me.
I do know there is a way to get Tom's attention when he's on the computer.
And that is why I did this:
"Tom! Breasts and tits! Miranda Kerr naked!" I shouted. (Don't worry. The kids were playing upstairs. I would never utter such a thing in front of Natalie, who repeats everything you say. I can just imagine her sweetly telling the Target cashier, "Breasts and tits!")
Tom's eyes swiveled from the screen. "Huh?" He looked baffled but I noticed he was scanning the room as though he expected the Victoria Secret model to be prancing around our living room clad in next to nothing.
I smiled. "Now that I have your attention, please take out the trash."
Tom looked a little deflated that there would be no nudity. "I will," he promised, returning back to his game.
I decided to give up and fix some lunch. As I was eating I was flipping through a Glamour magazine and I noticed some words at the bottom of the page.
It said something like: "A recent study has shown that men are more apt to listen if you talk into the RIGHT ear."
Right ear, eh?
After I ate I marched back over to Tom and leaned over to his right ear.
"Don't forget the trash," I hissed into it.
Tom shivered. "Why did you just hiss into my ear?" he demanded.
But look! It got his attention! I didn't have to mention boobs at all!
So...maybe it's true.
Later, Tom had still not taken out the trash. No, he had moved from the computer onto the Wii. He was busy playing his Wii Resort game and I decided that I better whisper into his right ear again.
But this proved harder than I thought. He kept bouncing around from one side of the room to the next and I'd sort of follow him around until he was like, "WHAT?" He paused the game, irritated that I was behaving like his shadow.
I stood on my tiptoes and said into his right ear, "Don't forget the trash."
Tom raised his shoulder to his ear to cover it. "Stop doing that! Why are you doing that?"
I just gave him a loving smile.
Later, I saw that our lawn needed to be mowed and I came inside and Tom was on the couch. I plopped down on his lap, leaned over to his right ear and said, "The lawn needs to be mowed."
Tom gave me a Look. "Okay. What's going on? Are you filming this or what?" He glanced around the room as though he expected to see a camera.
I batted my eyelashes at him. "I'm just trying something out."
Tom threw his hands in the air. "What? How to creep a man out?"
"No," I explained gently. "Apparently if you talk into a man's right ear, he listens better."
Tom rubbed his chin. "I don't think that's true," he said thoughtfully.
Well. Maybe not. But Tom DID end up taking out the trash and mowing the lawn.
So maybe, just maybe, talking into a man's right ear helps.
"I love you," I told Tom that night, into his right ear.
"You're crazy," he replied lightly.