Oops by Marne Wilson That look from you, that tone of voice, and
suddenly I am not an adult woman arguing a point
with a colleague. I am 8 years old again, working with my daddy,
and being told “That’s not the way you hold a shovel,”
“That’s not the way you plant lettuce,” “That’s not the way to close the gate.”
Then the object in question is ripped roughly out of my hands,
never to be entrusted to me again. I learn two interlinked lessons:
it is the worst thing in the world to be wrong, and I am always the one who is wrong. Later, after I am first married, my husband
develops his own way of handling the same situation,
less violent but no less condescending. When I do something that he does not like
or simply cannot fathom, he always has the same response: “Oops.”
As if to blot out, with that one word, the possibility that there might be motive
behind my actions, that I might have a reason for doing what
I’ve done. In his mind, it can only have been a cute
mistake from a wayward girl with no mind of her own,
and so he graciously gives me the opportunity to realize the error of my ways. Now here I stand with you,
someone younger than I am with less experience, and still you take that tone of voice
with me, tell me that what I did was very wrong,
lecture me on how I can keep myself safe from committing the same error in the future.
Can you blame me for walking away from you before you think you are finished?
But I suppose you think this is only another mistake on my part.