Friday, May 09, 2008

side by side?

Ed tells me – I’m heading out to get the second trailer load of insulation boards.
You don’t need me to come, do you?
I ask.

If you use the words “do you need” with Ed, you’re guaranteed a “no” answer. Ed ranks high on the “self sufficient” continuum. Perhaps too high.

And so I spend an evening feeling the guilt of not insisting. Because I know that in my non-help, by sitting in the cab of the huge, borrowed truck and trailer, I would, actually, be helpful. Not in the erratic, annoying, terrified admonishments (“Ed! Be careful! Do a wider turn! Watch that car!”), but in being there, in my annoying presence. Annoying can be very entertaining when you are tired and have hundreds of glass slivers on your clothes and arms (the insulation itself is not fiberglass, but it sure spent a restful period next to fiberglass, because there are glass splinters everywhere).

The birds are back on my balcony this morning. What’ya doin’? – he asks her. Digging around, she answers.

002 copy

Ed finishes unloading the last of the boards late, late into the night.

Today, I sit down to do a final sketch of the Shed, with all accurate dimensions. Ed teaches me how to do this on the computer. Or, rather, he does it on the computer while I parallel sketch windows and doors on my pad. We work side by side.

And now we are ready for the final pre-construction step: Amos, the co-builder, has to truck on down (when? I don’t know. Amos has a forgetfulness about him that is at once charming and disconcerting) and assess whether he can plunk down the structure in the space we have cleared for it.

In the meantime, we attend to our stuff. I’m immersed in my stack of papers. Ed talks about returning his buddy’s van and trailer combo.
I should help you! You can’t back that out onto the road!
Don’t be silly…
Silly? I’m not silly. I helped him yesterday. The simple act of backing it onto the county road took many attempts and the fact that he missed the ditch, along with the entire crop of freshly planted by Cha berry bushes was a heavenly gift.

The bird moves closer to her. Can I help? But they seem to be poised to do different things there, in my disastrously cold-bitten bougainvillea pot.

004 copy

I also have to fill the van with gas, Ed tells me.
You can’t possibly manipulate that thing into a gas station.
He looks at me with pity. Clearly I don’t get it. He says simply: my manhood is at stake.

The bird positions himself so that he is now parallel to her. It makes more sense that way. She makes room.

005 copy

It’s all good, all beautiful, until I open the balcony door to share some crumbs and freak the daylights out of them both, so that they rush off banging into every glass surface on that hostile urban balcony.

I should have let them be.