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  1. Men at Work

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

     Mindy Matijasevic


    While the workers were fixing my ceiling disaster, I was decluttering and found a little strip of paper with words on it like a fortune in a fortune cookie but the paper was thicker.  It said: 'you have mental/mood changes, increased fears, thoughts of suicide.'  C'mon, I know I have problems, but a fortune saying such things is uncalled for and just not helpful. Later I found the container that it came from which said: 'stop taking and call your doctor if...'


    The men here on Columbus Day, making my living quarters better, are Spanish-speaking with enough English to communicate with me.  When I said, “I hope you’ve seen worse,” we all laughed.  They helped me get all the stuff out of the kitchen.  It didn’t overwhelm them.  In that way, they were really men. 


    I am cold, hungry, and have to pee.  But one man is painting in the bathroom while the other is plastering in the kitchen.  When there is no romantic involvement, it is handy to have men around.  I have plenty of man-type-jobs that need doing in my apartment.  It isn't because of being divorced.  It was worse when my ex was here.  He wasn't the kind of man who helped make life better for anyone.  If I were going to get involved with a man from a Hispanic culture, I might have been better off with a man who isn't afraid of physical work and who teaches their child to ride a bike.  They get shit done.  The men in my apartment demonstrated caring to me, my dog, my items that were still all over the place, and the work they do.  


    For a straight "macho" man, my ex (an artist/painter who ended up at a middle management job tossing aside his MFA financed during the marriage) sounded very prissy about certain things.  He often had some ridiculous sounding excuse not to take out the garbage.  My best friend who is a straight man used to be so puzzled by that because he saw my ex as more traditional than my ex was able to recognize himself as being.  My buddy would say to me that he thought a traditional man would want to do the “man” jobs like taking out the garbage.  Either my ex was going to buy food and didn't want to touch the bags or he’d complain that he just took garbage out yesterday or he claimed the bags were too little.  I had never heard anything so prissy from a straight man before.  Even a gay friend's mouth hung open when I told him.  He suggested my then-husband bring a baby wipe with him to take out the garbage.  The gay friend took pride in his own prissiness, but no way would he keep garbage in his house overnight.  


    If that echoed in your head, it is probably because that is as metaphorically true as it is literally true.


    I am working on me. I haven't allowed any new garbage in, but I can't say I cleaned out all the old.


    I remember when my then-husband said the bags are little.  That did not compute for me.  I often gave him the benefit of the doubt when he said confusing things because English is not his first language.  So I thought maybe he meant there was too little garbage in the bags.  So I told him they were full and ready to go.  Again he said the bags were so little.  I said that's the size bags I get from the supermarket; they are regular sized shopping bags.  He didn't budge.  I then asked him if he thought we should keep the garbage.  


    The shit is when we first met, my building was much cleaner and well kept and rodent-free, so I had no problem taking the garbage out myself.  But then he insisted he didn't want me to go to the basement if he could do it instead.  He expressed concern for my safety (or for his “property”).  I didn't have words for my feeling at the time, but I felt uncomfortable that he insisted on helping when I didn't need help.  It made me suspect that he might not be there for when I would actually need his help. (Bingo! It was one of so many red flags I didn't take seriously enough.  My gut knew everything.  Now I do much better at listening to it AND obeying it.)


    Not too long ago when I gave him some stuff of his that was in my house, he again complained about bag size.  With the healthier amount of distance between us, I just looked at him and smiled.  Maybe this is dick-related, I thought.  Maybe he wants it presented that he needs super-duper humongous biggest-dick-in-the-Bronx size bags.  Who the fuck knows.  I thank God that I have a place to really call home where no one brings hostility and hatefulness to my daily existence, even if it is messy and in need of my attention.  He really should be more concerned with being a small man than with bag size.




    The workers were done by early afternoon.  It is amazing what two people can accomplish in a short time.  Glad these two were here to do something constructive.  It felt good to be helped by strong men with a lovely attitude.  Unlike my ex, they seemed to really not want me to feel badly about the messy areas.  They didn’t seem judgmental as much as they seemed to just know I was in need of help for whatever reasons.  I felt it as human kindness (which is the only religion I can believe in). They lifted my spirits.  Their actions and tones matched their words.  How refreshingly not schizoid.


  2. 4 comments:

    1. Lady Ha Ha said...

      Refreshing to find competent, fair, kind people... I have some fabulous guys who honestly and affordably fixed all of my ex's "handiwork"... they're my superheroes...and they're always available when I call them... and they do beautiful work...properly.

      Glad you found good people! - Samantha

    2. I just got lucky. That was who the management sent. I have since learned that they may have been afraid I would report it and they'd have to put me up in a hotel. But some of the delay was caused by me. I just needed them to work within my crazy schedule. And they did.

    3. Anonymous said...

      Refreshingly not schizoid. That's a great line.

    4. thank you. it's a great feeling.

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