How about one for thinkers and actors?
I'm a writer—by nature, a philosopher. My wife is a school teacher—by nature, an actor.
At the Phoenix airport last week, my wife and I had a moment that exemplifies the difference in our approaches to life.
At a sterile, mediocre little breakfast place, a warm and dignified 30-ish waitress took our order. Before putting it in, she somewhat sheepishly slipped us a piece of paper with a website where we could go to tell the company she had served us. We didn't have to say she was great, just type in a code indicating that she had served us.
"I'll get more in my paycheck," she said.
My wife immediately began punching the website into her phone.
I immediately went back to my New York Times.
My wife wanted me to register the waitress on the site, too. I told her I was content to have her represent both of us in this exercise.
She objected to my selfishness.
Only then did I lower my paper and thunder in a stage whisper against her unthinking participation in this breakfast wrap factory's systematic effort to demean this young woman into begging her customers for a raise in the course of serving us. And yes, as a customer, this is just an ideal dining experience: fucking around on the Internet to wheedle from the corporation a little extra scratch for my server.
Smiling, shaking her head, my wife completed the Internet form. Fuming, I went back to my paper.
My wife and I have been married for almost 25 years. We have had this same argument so many times. We are not getting anywhere. That's because we are not supposed to get anywhere.
That's because it's not really an argument.
It's a prayer. A noisy, obscenity-laced, never-ending prayer.