Friday, October 14, 2011
Love Is a Vehicle Like Any Other
My husband is more tempted to look at cars than women. Which is good, except when it isn’t. Cars are so hot and heavy on his mind that all you’d have to do is spread one with butter and he’d eat it for dinner. I, on the other hand, know nothing about what I’m driving, other than the color. My current car is orange. In my defense, I can drive stick, and for that matter a horse. I also know my way around a riding lawn mower- with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. And I’m no snob about public transportation either. Some of my most formative hours were spent on Greyhound or Amtrak making my way from one coast to the other. It’s not that I don’t like cars—I just don’t understand them.
When I met Stan, he manhandled ten tons of tires every Friday at an auto repair shop. I, at the time, was driving a '79 Volvo station wagon— white-- that I’d bought from my Aunt Barbara for $400. She tried to talk me out of it but I argued with her and won. Having just gotten off a boat in Alaska, it fit my price range and my life style. That big white Volvo was a huge, sinking ship. I couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t want to drive anything fancier than me.
But when it started dragging its underbelly along the road in a very uncomely way, Stan offered to have look at it for me. I refused. I would take care of it myself. I think that’s when he considered asking me to marry him. I wasn’t the stereotypical needy girl who would count on a man to fix her car-- or her life. Yet.
Things have changed. When a man moves into your house and you give birth to his child, that tends to happen. I now count on him to fix everything— from the broken floor furnace to the pipes that have cracked open in the crawl space under our house. A few nights ago when he took a wrench to the valves behind the wall of the bathtub after rewiring the hot water heater allowing me to take a bath with more than a teaspoon of tepid water, I decided we could renew our vows-- at least for the next ten years. I no longer want to do everything myself. I don’t have time. I have books to read, classes to teach, important metaphysical questions to ponder. And I’m Ok with that. I still have a secret fantasy of being a tough pioneer woman who shoots her own dinner and builds her own house but this life doesn't seem to be heading in that direction. I may not know a single damn thing about home or auto repair, but I’ve gotten a lot better at asking for— and accepting help. And Stan’s gotten better at negotiating.
When my front headlight bulb went out a few weeks ago, I explained to him in great detail exactly how things would go down were I to take matters into my own hands. He eventually conceded, and in the parking lot of Advanced Auto Parts, he had the pleasure of not only changing my bulb but another lady’s as well. And from how he described her car, it sounded like it was just his type.
Posted by Valley Haggard at 7:51 AM