Guest Post by Doris:
For the whole of my life, I have regarded puddles as the exclusive domain of individuals who lack the second X chromosome. I avoid puddles and anyone near them, justifying to myself that people who splatter stagnant water on themselves or others are somewhere in the same ilk with creatures who swing through trees on a prehensile tail – not quite high enough on the food chain for my fastidious preferences. I even avoid driving through puddles if possible. I carried this smug conviction through many an encounter with people who had no such puddle standards, eventually even marrying one of them.
Early in our marriage as we were driving one day, I noticed a small child riding an equally small bike, still clad with training wheels, back and forth through a puddle. I commented that it must be a boy, though we were too far away to tell, because a girl on a bike would have ridden around the puddle and certainly would not have made a special trip back just to ride through it again. We agreed and the matter rested for a time, almost forgotten.
Then came the day when we were dressed to the nines and on our way to an elegant reception in Washington DC. A recent downpour had left small pools all over the parking lot. I picked my path carefully to avoid getting any part of my shoes wet. To my horror, I saw my dearly beloved plowing through the middle of a miniature lake, wetting his shoes and probably his pants cuffs as well, totally without regard to the fact that we were rapidly approaching our entrance to the French embassy.
With all the wifely exasperation I could muster I asked, “Why are you walking through that water when you could just as easily go around?!” I was totally unprepared for his answer.
“Because I’m a boy!” he replied emphatically, apparently referring to our conversation about the child on the bicycle months before. We both got a much-needed laugh, and forever after when we encountered a puddle I would point out, “Puddle, Boy.”
After years of my chiding, he remembered occasionally to walk around puddles instead of through them. One day as we walked single file on a recreation trail near our home, he walked around a puddle and then, hearing a splash, turned to me and asked, “Did you just walk through that puddle?”
“I’m not a boy!” I retorted. We both looked back at the puddle, not yet settled from its recent disturbance. “Do you see my footprint in that puddle?” I asked in mock defensiveness.
Shaking his head in resignation, he turned and continued walking. I followed, smiling.