Friday, June 19, 2009

Richard's Request

If you asked me how I was doing right now I suppose I would make it sound like I was pretty busy and overwhelmed with work. And that's true.

It's easy to claim that opportunity is a double edged sword.

And yet, I have felt many times today that giddy pleasure that is juggling many different claims on my time.

It is a fine thing

This evening I was saying goodbye to two of my favorite clients. One of whom is Richard and I am so tired I cannot remember his wife's name. Her wit is so delightful that, despite my attempt to discover her name, I cannot. Perhaps I will remember it soon, before I am done with this post/chapter.

Richard called me yesterday to fix a bathroom fan he has. And while for most folks I might remind them that I do not fancy myself a handyman, he is such a wonderful guy that I would make time for him any afternoon... after work.

It's not that he doesn't pay the full price... it's just what I do not want to do. But he and his wife are worth the trouble.

I love to kid with Richard's wife, who met me (and thereafter introduced me to her husband, who does the vast majority of the talking) in my garden. She told me, "You like to do things the hard way." And since the vast majority of her life reflects deeply her sensitivity to this in others I can't help but mess with her head along the same lines.

They are, perhaps, in their middle seventies. And it was such a pleasure to leave them tonight, despite their brilliance in gardening and many other things they do well, having succeeded in what they found impossible. Not because I love showing them what I can do. They used to do it as well.

But rather the odd sensation of letting them know, that I know, that it is the cruelty of life that I can still do it, with pleasure.

My youth is cruel. I can bend backwards and see what they need a hand on a flashlight to do.

Richard, a justifiably proud man, could not believe I simply climbed a ladder, found a hole, and placed a screw to finish a job that had stymied him for hours.

My pleasure was in the grumpiness I caused in him until I started teasing his indomitable wife about whatever came to my mind. I cannot remember the details other than my comment to her:

"Didn't you tell me, when we first met, that I sure do make things difficult in my garden."

As I left I saw the exasperation (and delight) of a mature woman, and the secret smile of her husband that I might do to his wife what marriage makes somewhat difficult after decades of assumptions.

They are lovely people (and added many things to a list that I would refuse, did I not so love the substance of their selves.)

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