Javanese Listening Ears


This is a picture of a traditional Javanese couple on their wedding day. I know it’s their wedding day because the man is wearing the ceremonial Dr. Spockish ears. We learned about these ears on two occasions when we were in Jogyakarta, Indonesia; first at the palace where we were told the king wears the big ears when he is crowned or for other official ceremonies, and second when we were looking at pictures of a local professor’s wedding from 30 years ago.

The ears are symbolic. They represent being a good listener. The king vows to be a good listener to his people. The husband vows to be a good listener to his wife.

I’m convinced that most men need a pair of these Javanese ears to help them listen better. The pointy ears need a volume button controlled by the wife. And each of the ears need some kind of processor to help the man understand the innuendo behind his wife’s words.

Here’s today’s example:

Eric and I were riding on a motor scooter (our bikes were packed and ready for the airplane) in search of a post office. Eric was the attentive, focused driver and I was the navigator scanning left and right and noticing that oncoming motor scooters were wet with drivers hidden in colorful rain slickers indicating we were approaching a serious cloud burst. Several raindrops were beginning to tap on my helmut.

I spied Dunkin’ Donuts and remembered that Eric had mentioned he wanted a donut several days ago. That could be a delicious place to wait out a storm.

Me: Eric, could we pull into Dunking Donuts and wait for the rain to stop?

No answer. Eric kept driving. The pitter patter on my helmut was quickly changing to pounding and hammering.

Several coffee shops appeared ahead. Eric always says “yes” to a cup of coffee.

Me: How about stopping for a cup of coffee?

No answer. Eric is now maneuvering through large puddles. I’m trying to protect my purse, cell phone, and passports from the drenching rain.

Surely, he’ll pull over. Other drivers are stopping. We’re drenched. The rain is now pouring down in sheets.


Eric pulls into the parking lot, slams the bike into park, and hops off the bike…

Eric: What’s the problem?
Me: We’re getting drenched. We need to get out of the rain.
Eric: Well, you don’t have to be so bossy and loud.
Me: Well, you couldn’t hear me so I said it louder. We need to get out of the rain. Everything is getting ruined.
Eric: Well, you could have explained that you wanted to get out of the rain.
Me: But you couldn’t hear me.

If I could buy Eric some of those big ears we’d be dry and happy, and I’d get bonus points for being a good wife and remembering that he had been craving a donut. Volume control and innuendo. I rest my case.

N.B. In fairness to Eric, he was concentrating on being a good driver rather than multi-tasking.