Qualification: I am in no way implying at any point that women do not make great carpenters nor that they don’t, can’t or wont design things with metal, or subscribe to computer magazines, or that they scoff at spectator sports and do not know how to banter with hardware sales people or tinker and fix things around the house, or that they are incapable of being slovenly in their personal habits. So don’t even try to get me on that one.
It’s just that I have this friend who has the above traits and then some and when I give him a hard stare for some particularly annoying habit, I get that shrug that says it all: guys do that sort of stuff and I’m a guy.
Today, though, I put it to good use. This friend, let’s call him Mr. Guy (Mr. G., as opposed to Mr. B.), has great mechanical abilities. I mean, he is talented in ways that I can’t begin to understand, since no one in my family – going up or down or sideways in lineage – has any such talents except for my maternal grandfather and he sure as hell did not pass it on to the next generation nor the one after. Oh, I can be somewhat handy and one of my daughters appears to have a nascent ability to put things together, but none of it has received any nurturance or support and so tell any of us to fix or build something and all we can do is retreat and hide under quilts in shame.
Mr. G., on the other hand, designs and builds computerized machines for guys to use (he tells me his business clients are 95% guys and 5% women buying presents for their guys). So if you sit around and say things like – God, I’d like to figure out a way to sit by the window and work on my computer there, you’re going to get solutions.
We’re at Menards. Of course. Guy land, ostensibly. Do you have a hack saw? He asks me. I have never sawed a hack in my life. No, of course I do not have a hack saw.
Can I use it for my Christmas tree? I get the stare that tells me I should know better than to use a blade meant for metal on a tree stump.
We’re at the restaurant supply store. One look at Mr. G. and the man behind the counter is all over the place showing possible units, talking about support brackets and wires and who knows what else. Then he gives me a discount. Why? Because Mr. G. talked dirty with him: all about brackets, wires, with weird silences in between and questions throughout. Guy talk.
clerk at K restaurant supplies
Oh, there were moments were I had to take a break. At the Winter Market I ran to my world of farmers and bakers and hid from the onslaught of guy-dom.
And after Menards I insisted on a latte at Borders, where I got lost for a few minutes in the relationship between de Beauvoir and Sartre*. The world of relationships and rebels is a world I understand.
But then we were at it again. Hold that in place while I saw off the ends. Have some varnish around? No? Not even a tack cloth? Get one.
Finally, at the end of the day, this:
new writing solution at the loft
And so long as I was being sucked into this horror movie of tools and implements and metal and varnish, I agreed to the ultimate: those who know me will absolutely not believe this, but it’s true. In the evening, I got roped into going to the Field House to watch a game (it’s like ballet! – he tells me). At least it was women playing volley ball. I honestly would have said no had the sport been of the rough kind.
* Those who followed yesterday’s blog post commentary will appreciate my pull towards Sartre’s favorite words: “Naturally one doesn’t succeed in everything, but one must want everything.”