One Saturday I found myself with time on my hands—ON A SATURDAY. This almost never happens. Normally, I run with Ben on Saturday and go to whatever sport he is involved in, maybe visit the grandparents, do errands, and if I’m in his good graces, we’d play Rock Band on the wii. That almost never happens either because I’d bring down his score with my bad guitar playing and less-than-rhythmic drumming. He never lets me be Tom Petty, but once-in-a-while I get to be Pink and play an instrument or sing on Crocodile Rock while he rolls his eyes and tells me I’m doing it wrong.
None of that happened on this particular Saturday because when I dropped him off at baseball practice, his dad was there to take him to his Aunt’s for dinner after.
So I spent the afternoon driving from small town to small town near my city searching for the perfect bathroom vanity, one that I am pretty sure never existed so I’m really not sure why I kept searching, but it kept me busy until the right one came along. It’s crazy really. I think I was just putting off buying one because after searching for months, finally buying one and installing it meant there would be no meaning to my life anymore—my version of walking on the moon.
Since finding a vanity proved to be futile, I drove the long way home because it was the first warm day of spring. In my head I planned the week ahead. I suddenly remembered I was picking up a new friend for dinner who invited me to share a gift certificate to a nice restaurant in town one night since her husband was gone for the week. And recalling how perfect her life seemed and how spotless her house always is, I looked around my car at the old French fries and Skittles stuck to the floor mats, and the shoe print marks on the dash and decided I’d better get my act and my car cleaned up before she learned about the real me and decided not to be my new friend anymore.
That’s what led to what you see in this picture. It’s scary what a roll of duct tape can do to a girl. But it was there and I couldn’t find the crevice tool that fit my Shop-Vac only the one to my old upright. So when I taped them together and came up with something that could suck the food and pea gravel from between the console and front passenger seat I felt pretty good about it.
Though I spent about an hour before this trying to fix my broken windshield solvent sprayer cursing god for not giving me a gear-head boyfriend who would just do it for me, I was desperate to get those french fries and skittles sucked up and this just sorta happened. I’d cry if it wasn’t so funny.
Not having a gear-head boyfriend was probably a good thing. I would have just messed it up not knowing then what I know now. I’ve learned a lot about men the last few years, mostly by doing lots of home remodeling and discovering duct tape. But also from having some very good friends that just happen to be men and keeping my eyes and ears open. I’ve learned about beer courage and that sometimes they don’t want to share their feelings. I’ve learned that they can be just as vulnerable as women, and in some cases maybe more so. Sometimes they miss their moms and some of them just want us to love them in ways their mothers failed to.
I’m starting to think that we learn to love others the way we believe we have been loved. Some people might say the way we believe we have been loved by God. I think I might say that too if I could figure out if I believe in god. I can see that could be true. If we see God as a big scary being, which is how I spent most of my life, we might be afraid of love. Afraid to love.
I don’t feel afraid of either anymore. When someone says God to me, I don’t feel that anxiety in my gut or the judgement I once did like what Louise Hay says about god not being, “an old man sitting on a cloud above planet Earth watching my genitals.” I think letting all of that go, has taught me how to love better too. Weird, with everything I’ve learned, you’d think I’d be better at playing the wii by now.