My husband is unique. And still a bit caveman-like. I love those things about him. They both surprise me and drive me crazy sometimes.
He grew up in a small cornish village, and on Dartmoor. As a kid he earned pocket money by tying flies for the local angling shop, and selling fish he caught to local restaurants and his teachers. He was a commercial fisherman in his teens, to earn money to go to gamekeeping college. By 20, he was the youngest head keeper in the southwest of England. Since then he's pretty much lived in the woods. He's 45 next week.
I was a typical American teenager, going to the movies and hanging out at the mall. I had a job as a waitress, and I was a cheerleader. I went to University and got a desk job. Of course I've seen Star Wars, and been to an amusement park, and used the metro in lots of cities. That's all part of the average American experience. Not Mike. There's nothing average about him. And it's shaped the way he views the world.
He doesn't see distinctions between people. Celebrity means nothing to him. If someone comes on the TV he's as likely to say "I carried her out of the river. Stupid girl wore high heels on a shoot day". It didn't occur to him that I would know who Kate Moss is and that his story was an interesting anecdote, but it seemed so obvious to him that anyone with basic common sense would know how to dress for the outdoors.
Ditto the long haired Goths who rented a cottage on a Devon estate where Mike worked. He dropped in for tea sometimes, and brought them rabbits. It was the members of the band The Cure. When I explained who they are - as a teenager in the 80s I had the mandatory crush on Robert Smith - Mike was glad to hear they made a good living in the end, because he thought they would have trouble finding a job looking like they did.
Good lord Mike!
What Mike notices, what he's fluent in, is animals and the British countryside. Give him a part-chewed pinecone and he can tell you what's eaten it. Same with a hole in the ground, or a pile of scat. The position and remains of a dead pheasant are all he needs to discern the culprit. His world view is coloured by the behavior of the native fauna he's been brought up on. It's reflected in his language and how he makes sense of the world. Here are some examples from our daily conversations:
"Don't hug me - I smell like a polecat."
"He was angrier than a badger in a hessian sack"
"You make more noise than two pigeons mating!"
"A hibernating dormouse is more awake than you are in the morning."
And my favorite: "You have the eating habits of a stoat!" I wasn't familiar enough with stoat behavior to get that one. Did he mean I have a big appetite, or was it my propensity for belching?
I asked "What's a stoat like then?"
He looked at me the same way I looked at him when he told me he's never seen Star Wars. Like I'm an imbecile brought up under a rock in a dark cave. Like surely everyone is an authority on the mustelid family.
"The stoat is a facultative predator with catholic habits." Apparently I eat lots, of anything put in front of me.
Where do you learn words like that in the woods?
My husband will always be a source of mystery to me. But at least I'm learning about stoats.