Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Six Guys on Sunday

Even though I'm just a guy (unlike my brother, who is actually Guy), I'm definitely a guy. I like to watch football & baseball, I play games to win, I enjoy butchering, I'm a competent mason and electrician, I have an affinity for action movies, and I love to drink beer (especially IPA). All of that said I've never been into cars and I love process, so maybe I'm a few genes short of a load on my Y chromosome. Who knows.

To be clear, I don't hate cars. I live in an income sharing community (Sandhill Farm) and I drive the community's fleet of vehicles like everyone else. Over the years I've done my share of changing oil, fixing flats, and coaxing a flooded engine back to life—I just don't seek it out, and you'll never hear me rhapsodize about the latest model whatsidingle. I just don't give a shit. 

It was thus amusing when Ma'ikwe participated in an impromptu query along with five other women on one of her Facebook Lyme support groups last Sunday, where the question was: "What is your partner doing right now?" Amazingly, the other five women all reported that their guys were fooling around with cars. I was the odd man out—I was working on Ma'ikwe's cistern. I was gobsmacked. Apparently it's still what guys do on Sunday afternoon (at least until football season starts).

According to Ma'ikwe I got lumped in with everyone else anyway by virtue of being caught working with hand tools. (I think if I had been knitting it would have raised eyebrows, but working with a screw gun definitely placed me in the guy thing category.) I chafed a bit at the lumping—after all, it's not common that I work on cisterns, yet I doubt it was exceptional in the least that those other guys were under their respective hoods. If the women had posed their question in the morning instead of the afternoon, my answer would have been composing a blog entry, which isn't a particularly gendered activity. Oh well. At the end of the day I reckon I'm still just a guy, even if I sometimes forget or stray a bit from the full stereotype.

Incidentally, today I oversaw the culmination of many days work (not just last Sunday's) when a group of six of us poured three-plus yards of concrete to form the lid on my wife's cistern. It was a 21'x8' barrel vault that took 50 hours to form and one hour to pour. And am I ever glad that sucker is done. I started that project 28 months ago and the hardest parts are now (finally) completed. I still have to set up a rain washer and install the submersible pump, but that's minor. This winter, for the first time since she moved into her house three years ago, Ma'ikwe will have running water. Yippee!

Crossing this large task off my To Do List was all the sweeter in that tomorrow I'm outbound for 40 days in the wilderness on the road, and I really wanted to get the lid poured before I left. I managed to beat my travel deadline by about 20 hours. Whew! Good thing today was a nice day. When I get back from this upcoming odyssey it will be October and my community will be immersed in sorghum season—when all hands are on deck and there's no time for extracurricular dabbling in concrete. So if I had failed to get the lid poured today, it might not have happened until next spring (can you hear the Volga Boatman playing in the background?).

It will be a treat to sleep at Ma'ikwe's tonight—our last night together for a while—and have the cistern lid in my rear view mirror when I close my eyes at night. While that's probably the same satisfaction that all guys feel after a knocking off a big job, I don't think there's any need to be alarmed… unless I start babbling about the payload on 3/4-ton pickups or the gas mileage on a Prius, in which case you should suspect doping or food poisoning and call for my blood to be tested.

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