Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trying out for the part of Wonder Woman

I could do this (not the flying part)
Someday, my husband will come home from work to find me pinned under a large piece of furniture at the bottom of a flight of stairs. The following is one possible conversation that might ensue:

Husband: Whatcha doin’ down there?
Me (provided my vocal chords are uninjured): Oh, not much.
Hub: Figured it was time to rearrange the furniture again, huh?
Me: Yep.
Hub: I would’ve helped you move that when I got home.
Me: I, uh… didn’t want to wait. I thought I could do it by myself.
Hub: And how’d that go?
Me: Could you just give me a hand with this thing?

If this scenario ever takes place, I will be placing blame squarely upon the shoulders of my mother. For one thing, I definitely inherited my lack of patience from her and this is a major impetus behind my need to move heavy furniture by myself. And in case you’re wondering, I’m pretty sure I read recently that, in fact, scientists have isolated the gene that causes impatience so I can say with some authority that it is genetic. But mostly I do the solo heavy lifting because my mother taught me at a young age that, as a female, one should never be dependent on a man. I realize this had much more to do with her supreme anger and bitterness towards my dad following their divorce in 1976 and almost nothing to do with feminism. But whatever the source of the lesson, I learned it well.

I mean, I’m not opposed to a man, or for that matter, anyone really (small children, the elderly), holding a door open for me. That act of courtesy does not offend my feminist sensibilities. Instead, it appeals to my sense of laziness and I think “hey, if you want to open that door for me, that’s super. It’s less work for me.” Such a sense of laziness, however, is non-existent when I get the bee in my bonnet to move furniture. When home decorating brilliance hits, one must act on it right away. If I’m home alone, well then, it looks like I’ll be doing all of the heavy lifting. Then when the hub makes his appearance I can say, “See? I am independent.” I may also be tired, sweaty, or injured as a result of this stubborn impatience, especially if my brilliant tweaking of the furniture arrangement turns out to be a bit of a misjudgment and I have to move the furniture back to its original location. But still, I am independent.

Maybe the hub likes not having to do all this work himself, I’m not really sure. It’s easy to assume he appreciates not having to do as much joint moving of heavy and often unwieldy items because anyone who has engaged in this chore with a romantic partner knows very well that it can make or break a relationship when you say “Turn it this way. No, not like that, stupid, towards the wall. Ow, stop, stop, stop, you’re crushing me against the wall. God damnit, you set it on my toe!” But probably one of the most unfortunate side effects of this obstinate need to prove my independence is that when he goes to move a coffee table, he’ll ask for help moving it and I'll stare at him, then stare at the table, then stare back at him, then resist the need to pick up the table by myself and jog it to the next room or up a flight of stairs or something. I mean, that would just be obnoxious.

And of course, the other negative is that sometimes, I’m really not so independent. As in, I’m not Hercules, sometimes there is no effing way I am going to move a particular item by myself. I might try anyway. Like that time I tried to move the landscaping boulder by myself and my husband just stood by, silently watching in amusement. In my defense, though, we needed the Bobcat for that rock… Those suckers are really heavy. But I want to teach my daughter to be strong and independent, just the way my mom taught me. Minus the scathing hatred and excessive swearing, of course. So just for fun, you know, just to see if I could, I decided to try moving our piano, as its relocation was part of a larger plan to freshen up the basement décor. When I successfully got it moved, all the while picturing my husband shaking his head at me, Martha said, “I guess we didn’t need help after all.” And I was able to respond, “No, I guess not. Because mommy is strong.”

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