Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ask the Right Question

I consider myself to be a thoroughly self-sufficient person. Possibly to a fault, though that smacks of "Oh, I’m far too punctual!" fake denigration. Let’s just say that I have occasionally found myself thinking, Wow, it was a Bad Idea to do this with one set of hands.

Being self-sufficient runs long in my family, on both sides. My first cordless drill came from my grandmother; I nearly wet myself. My mother gave me a multiple bit screwdriver when I got my first apartment: "This will come in handier than anything else you own." My present that Christmas was a toolbox and a hammer. All of the women in my family have lived to be old and have lived by themselves for the best part of their adulthood. Uh, I mean most of their adulthood.

It’s not just the women. My grandfather was a millwright, which means he knew how to fix everything. When I was growing up, he had a room in my grandparents’ basement that we called His Shop, and it smelled deliciously of grease and wood shavings. He had baby food jars attached to the joists, with his screws and nails sorted. Everything else was everywhere, little bits of metal and wood, stubs of pencils, tins of half-used paint. My father the auto-mechanic is similarly handy, but anally organized. My acorn has not fallen far from his tree.

Growing up, if something broke, we just fixed it: toilet, vacuum cleaner, lights, cars. Unless it was irreparable or obviously beyond our ken. If you wanted a shelf hung, you got out the level and hung it, by god.

So desperately wanting to have someone around to take care of the bats feels pretty damn needy.

(Not to mention pretty useless. The last time I asked a partner to take care of a dead rodent – when I was brutally nauseous after just having taken the Emergency Contraceptive Pill because he came after the condom broke but before we discovered the remnants – he cowered behind me and refused. You know, I’m not big on chivalry, but that would have been a nice time to pull it out.)

What also feels needy is this frantic prowling I can feel my mind doing, looking for the next person – to kiss, to fuck, to date, to fall for. Being single, at least the early stages of it, feels a little like a vacuum. And you know how nature feels about those.

So I’m doing mental calculations and connivations and daydreaming like a motherfucker and scheming about this and that and timing, and why in god’s name can’t I let it all. Just. Go. And enjoy a casual flirtation without tying myself into knots over does-he-or-doesn't-he. My foremothers seemed pretty happy as spinsters and widows. They lived full lives. Does it really matter if I ever have a partner again?

Yes. No. Who knows. I miss the cuddling and the comfort. And I just don’t get that from friends or casual lovers. It’s not the same.

At least I have a 3’ level and can hang a shelf straight any time I want.

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