JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: We were talking about the most recent round of primaries last night (Don't worry, this isn't another blog about politics!) and in the course of the conversation, I uttered the phrase, “I just can't understand why people would vote for that man!”
To which my son replied, “Yeah, but you can't understand why Hollywood made three Transformer movies.” (Really, why? And with Shia LeBeuof?)
Ross chimed in, “You also can't understand why I take milk in my tea.” (True. With apologies to Britons everywhere, the appeal utterly escapes me.)
Thinking about it, I realized it's a very frequent response for me. “I don't understand” is different from “I can't believe.....!” The latter is shorthand for, “I can absolutely see why she did that, I'm just amazed she has the ovaries to do so.” The former is reserved for items and events that I can perhaps comprehend on a purely intellectual plain, but completely fail to connect with emotionally. So in Ross's tea example, I can list practical reasons for adding milk to tea – to cool the drink or to cut the astringency. But I could no more explain to you why anyone on the real world would dilute perfectly good tea with a shot of lactose than I could lecture on quantum mechanics.
Obviously, having invested that much thought on the phrase, I had to come up with a list of things I Just Can't Understand.
I just can't understand...
...wearing high heels in Maine. In winter.
...eating gluten-free unless medically proscribed.
...naming your daughter Neveah. Really, parents. Haven't you ever heard of the Supreme Court Justice Test?
…people who don't read. What are they doing with their time? Nothing good, I bet.
...shag carpeting. I mean, try to recreate the mindset of the manufacturer who first thought that was a good idea.
...vegetarians who eat quinoa burgers and soy dogs. “I won't eat meat, just stuff that looks and tastes like meat.”
...people who wear shoes or sandals in the beach. Not when it's March or the when the sand is burning hot – people who don't like the feel of sand on their feet. My own dear husband is one of these sad folk. Some nights I lie awake, troubled by this.
...plastic fake flowers. Also most lawn ornaments, especially those bend-over people. Some homeowner has to make the effort to put those beauties up and then stand there by the curb and think, “Gosh, those puffy sheep and the silhouette of the man smoking a pipe on the side of the house really look swell!”
...minimalist modern interior design. A Saarinen table and a group of large plastic s-curves do not make a good dining experience.
...pet owners who don't spay or neuter. Unless you're going for Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club, you don't need to breed your dog. Your cat will not miss the experience of pregnancy. 8 out of ten humans, if they could get a kid some other way, would not miss the experience of pregnancy.
...friends who meet up for lunch or dinner or drinks and then keep checking their phones. I'm pretty sure you can't all be cardiac surgeons waiting to rush to the hospital as soon as the donor heart arrives.
Finally, I just can't understand... how Thomas Kincaide, the Painter of Light (TM) made millions selling oil paintings that look like oversized greeting cards. And not good ones, like Hallmark, but the cheap ones you pick up at the drugstore when you're in a hurry. Smh, as the kids text these days.
How about you, dear readers? Anything you Just Can't Understand?