My Wife, The Aggressive Nature Observer

I like nature perhaps five percent more than the average person. I go for walks in the woods, sometimes strolling over to the lake where I sit and enjoy the rhythm of the water. Unfortunately, that is not enough for my wife. She wants me to enjoy the shit out of it. She’s one of those rare people who will stare at a quivering leaf, or marvel at how a ladybug navigates the arm of her chair for minutes on end, not because she read about the importance of mindfulness on some mind-body consciousness blog, but rather, this is her default state. She’s interested, obsessed even, with the minutiae of nature, and is hell-bent on spreading her fervor. It’s to the point where she’s confused and slightly frustrated by anyone who doesn’t share her zest for the robust color or a Gerber Daisy, and miraculous symmetry displayed by the veins on the underside of a maple leaf.

One might assume that a person with such interests would be quite chill, but she is a woman of delicious contradictions. For example: Though she is quite feminine, she will, on occasion, hock and spit a loogie, sending it tumbling from the deck into the nearby shrubbery (which, given her diet, might be considered nutritious for the bushes).

In tune with that incongruity, her patience for my accurate observation of nature is very strained. The other day in the car, she pointed, and with the wonder of a child, said “Wow! Look at that amazing cloud!” Immediately, I tensed up. “Oh, yeah!” I said, pointing up and to my right. She whipped her head to glare at me. “What? Which cloud did you point to?” she asked, annoyed. My fight or flight response was cocked and loaded. I meekly pointed again to the cloud I imagined she found interesting. “No! Not that one! The other one! The one that’s all wispy and then suddenly becomes fluffy.”

“Oh right! Of course. Wow, that is really cool,” I said, honestly understanding why she had pointed it out. But it was my lack of attention to her discovery that irked her.

“What did you find interesting about the cloud you pointed to?”

My nerves peaked. “Oh, it was just extremely white and had a lot of, like, curves, I guess.”

“Okay,” she responded, annoyed that I hadn’t scanned the ENTIRE sky for what was CLEARLY the most noteworthy cloud.

“I know. You’re totally right. But you are an aggressive nature observer.”

She laughed. “Aggressive nature observer. That’s funny.”

Then, as we do, we acted this idea out. “Hey look at that flower over there,” I said.

“Which one?” she asked.

“What do you mean which one? That one, you fucking moron!”

“Oh right, I’m so sorry! Hey look at that tree!”

“That one?”

“No, dipshit! THAT ONE. What are you, some kind of fucking idiot?”


I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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