Va has some very particular tastes for foods, and sometimes, that can get me into trouble. I seem unable to predict when those sometimes are.

A few years ago we were travelling far from home and stopped along the way at a grocery store. She saw some canned, beanless chili – something that we never see here. She has always preferred that very brand of chili because it is available sans beans. She likes chili. She does not like beans. Chili with no beans gets an A+ in her book, so she bought several cans and we brought them home.

Yes, we all know that homemade chili is far superior to canned chili of any variety, but sometimes you’re in a hurry and can’t spare the time to make a batch from scratch. It is at times like that when canned chili is a good thing to have on hand.

Several months elapsed after this trip, and I found myself feeling somewhat peckish. I started digging through the pantry to see what would hit the mark. I found the last can of her beanless chili. I like chili and beans, so I kept digging until I found a can of kidney beans. I opened both cans, dumped them in a pot, and stirred.

That’s about when Va came around and saw what I had done. She was not happy. Nevermind that the chili had been forgotten in the pantry for months. If I had eaten the whole 15 oz can all by myself without adding beans, she would have been just fine. If I had eaten all the chili and then ate the beans separately, she would still have been fine. If I had heated them both up and served them to myself side-by-side in separate dishes, there would have been no trouble there either. But no. I mixed them together in a pot, thus rendering them into an abomination in her sight. The horrors!

Tonight I found myself feeling peckish again. Va was eating some maple-flavored oatmeal squares – a breakfast cereal. Like all cereals, she prefers this without milk. It looked pretty good to me, so I poured a bowl for myself,emptying the box. It was the last of the oatmeal squares cereal. I like my breakfast cereal with milk, so I turned towards the fridge to get some, and that’s when synapses began to fire. I remembered the chili.

Just to be safe, I asked if she would mind if I ate my bowl of oatmeal squares with milk. She could not figure out why I would even ask such a question, so I reminded her of the beanless chili. Apparently, milkless cereal plus milk is not a problem, even while beanless chili plus beans is most definitely a problem. Perhaps this is because we can go to the grocery store and get more cereal tonight if we so desired, but we’d have to drive some 600 miles for beanless chili. In my opinion, this is a very subtle distinction!

It’s no wonder men cannot understand women!