But on to my point. In that horrible book about women being from Venus, there was one interesting observation: when women complain, they're looking for sympathy, not solutions. They think men don't listen because they offer advice, instead of just letting them talk it out. (All the more proof that I'm really a guy.) I've actually found this observation to be very true, but not split along gender lines so much as situation and personality. Sometimes I just want to bitch. Sometimes I want to bitch and fix the problem. I try, but am not always successful, in making sure I offer people sympathy before solutions, but it's still a conscious effort and sometimes I forget. Also, I like to fix things.
Here are some things I've fixed or found workable treatments for:
- This'll be a little TMI. Skip to #2 if you're easily squicked out. I had been having some odd trouble with urinary urgency and leakage. I would go to the bathroom about every 45 minutes and go about a tablespoon when the signals to my head would insist I had such a full bladder I couldn't wait even another second. Then I would go and feel like I still had more, but couldn't get it out. Sometimes there was cramping. It sucked. I went to two doctors, including a specialist who found nothing wrong. I stopped going places like Harvard Square that had limited public access restrooms, although I didn't realize it until afterward.
My solution? One day, I was infuriated when I went back to my desk and felt leakage as I sat down, after futilely trying to feel like I was done. Yet this was my inspiration. The next time I went to the bathroom, I squeezed out every little drop I could, and still felt like there was more. Then I wiped, stood up, sat back down and was able to squeeze out that little bit more. I've been doing it ever since, and every single symptom I listed above and more have gone away. The only caveat is that sometimes I have to do a little dance with the standing, and the dance changes every time I fly.
- I keep cans of soup with pop tops at work for emergency lunch rations. To keep the lid from snapping at the final disconnect and splattering my work shirt with tomato stains, I put a little piece of scotch tape over the lip of the can. Go me.
- I was having trouble keeping up with my exercise, and now I have friends on board helping keep me motivated, and hopefully I'm doing the same for them.
- My good friend's mom had a debilitating stroke. I can't fix it. My friend can't fix it. Her mom can't fix it. I could share a dinner and bring her boxes to pack up her mom's things.
- A colleague of mine just found out his wife has advanced breast cancer, that despite annual mammograms, it has gone undiagnosed for years. They've been together since they were twelve, I think. Her prognosis for survival is around 60%.
- Another friend of mine has a young boy. She's concerned about a tic that he's developed. Doctors have mentioned that it could be something minor, or it could be a brain tumor. About two weeks ago, this same little boy told me he loved me.