I'm sore. Basketball did it: a solid two hours' worth on the 4th of July up at the top of the cul-de-sac. It had been several years since I'd played the game with that much dedication, a dedication possible only because I spent the previous week slaving over hot cedar and pine, putting up the fence around the pool, work that made my muscles loose, warm, and ready. Today those muscles laugh at me. They snicker and thwang as I bend to pick my Pokemon Pop Tart, Breakfast of Champions, up off the floor. Basketball, real skilled basketball, is way harder than fence-building, believe you me.
But I've still got the touch, the mojo still works. My jump shot, a masterful thing of beauty and grace, was the main weapon with which I defeated my opponents, and my 6'2" frame came in handy as well allowing me to block shots, no, SLAM 'em back down the throats of all who tried to score against yours truly. It'll be a cold day in hell before those three pre-teen girls even think of tangling with me again.
Despite my crippling fatigue, I remain on the backyard beautification project. With the fence built, the time has come to landscape around it, which means now I have to go messing with flowers and stuff. I actually enjoy doing this sort of thing, and I derive pleasure from the reaction I get from my more traditional male neighbors. Not only does my role as stay-at-home dad provide fodder for the snorting rejoinders that fall from their mouths between grunts, taking my little pictures and writing my little stories here adds color to their view of me. Throw in some flowers and their guyish glee goes into full bloom.
These local male friendships are made up of several elements. There is the Neighbor Element, a civil pact of mutual aid. Then there's the Husband Element which facilitates commiseration and alleviates isolation. It's the Father Element where things get dicey. We can be comfortable exchanging advice about driveways or wedding anniversaries, but the subject of fatherhood brings us into dangerous territory. It gets complex, delving into personalities and ethics, and too much scrutiny will scrape at the padding we all need to maintain a good neighborhood.
To compensate for summer's heat, I got a haircut. Viv, who's been cutting my hair for a couple of decades now, got some electric clippers a while back. She was timid with them at first as she worked her way toward discovering that it's all in the wrist. For some reason, yesterday I was feeling bold and I gave her the green light for finding the most expeditious technique. As a consequence, my hairs are now just a little taller than this font.
I like it a lot. My head slices quickly through the water in the pool now making me even more stealthy and dangerous at shark tag. And yard work is literally a breeze as the ocean winds form little eddies behind my ears when I face west, cooling me down. Shower time is cut in half. And if I rub my head I think it means good luck.
"The House Is Rockin'" -- Stevie Ray Vaughan -- IN STEP
"We are so fond of each other because our ailments are the same."
- Jonathan Swift (1 February 1711, The Journal To Stella, 1766-1768)