I’ve been propounding this theory lately. It’s empirical, in that I’ve developed it via observation—I’ve even collected my data over an extended time—a sort of longitudinal socio-psychological research project. But it was my A who crystalized it, and made it pithy:
THEORY: Women are born with a finite amount of shits to give. When they’re young, they feel as if it’s a large supply, and hand them out freely… but as women age they hand out fewer and fewer. When they reach their eighties or so, they have run out completely. This is why women in their eighties and beyond give no shits about anything: they have no shits left to give.
This afternoon I went prospecting for a ream of printer paper. I have lived in academic life enough that I am deeply aware that printer/copy paper is more precious than gold—people barter important resources to ensure that their “paper” budgetary line item is as high as possible. The nasty hand-to-hand fights of middle- and high-schools might not happen here… but I wouldn’t bet money on it.
But I am of a certain age, and I just want to print this fool document. I waltz down to the faculty offices, I look and sound deprecating, and I ask for paper—acknowledging that I don’t know where or how to properly get some. The admin smiles, notes that Student Affairs is the correct spot, and hands me a ream. “I’m sure you need to print something out right away.” Indeed I do!
In my class earlier today, I was listening to the edges of what the younger women in my class were chatting with each other about. Ironically, our assignment was to debate the authority of scripture in a formal way, though not formally graded. In and around their other talking, there were hints of, ‘Do I dare? What would others think? Who am I to say?” That is, do I have authority?
I have lived through the repercussions of ignoring these questions. My stock of shits-to-give is dwindling. Inside, I smile, and think: walk up and cheerfully ask. Pretend the door will open in front of you as you step through it. Open your mouth and speak: the Holy Spirit will give you the words needed.
Or the paper.