“Thag, don’t forget to bring home that chunk of mammoth meat you left to hang in the forest.”
No response from Thag, who is knapping flint with his whacker. He is making more flint arrowheads to replace all of those he lost on the last hunt.
Thag is absorbed by his work, and does not respond to his fetching mate, Onga, despite her proximity, and his deep love for her. He is not ignoring her, his brain is simply not hearing her.
The whacker slips and several hours of work are wasted as Onga’s frustrated shout breaks through his concentration.
Thag gives Onga a blank look. “I was reminding you not to forget the mammoth meat you left in the forest. We need it for tonight.”
“You know, Weasel-Scratch-Face Brother listens to me.”
“Weasel-Face is a woman,” Thag rumbles. The Shaman was always sniffing after Onga.
“And you are a jerk!”
Onga storms off, and once again, Thag is in trouble. (Though his brain cannot tell him exactly why. It might have something to do with meat.)
More reliable testimony about the Essential Difference here. Originally published 2005.