Angela Bocage

The great lockout of 2007

As I may’ve mentioned, my spouse has been working like an automaton, so one weeknight recently, I left Philadelphia at a reasonable hour on the train when it looked like she might be there for several more hours. My pup would be lonely and want to get outside. Remembered to call the local taxi guy well in advance of arrival. Made sure there was taxi and train money in my wallet. Completely forgot that since losing my original swipe card at work I didn’t have a house key attached to the replacement. The secret place she hides the extra key was barren. I called her at work and scared her to death with the idle suggestion that I could try to break in, but I knew as well as she does that we can’t afford a glazier at the moment. There was, however, an even more secret key stashed away, she admitted. It was in a coffee can under a certain tree. Buried maybe six inches deep. She’d interred it there shortly after she bought the place eight years ago. The tree or shrub she’d indicated had grown a great deal in eight years, and I once again thanked the spirits that her last girlfriend had been a gardening fiend: we have every tool invented, so I should be able to whack through the thick brush and dig down to the coffee can in no time. After several sessions of brisk aerobic exercise, I was dripping sweat and exhausted and that had proven not to be the case, despite deployment of branch pruners, cultivating tools, shovel, trowel, and the chainsaw-lite she calls a hedge-trimmer. Perhaps after almost a decade of the heavy storms this region endures both in summer and winter, the buried treasure had shifted. The roots of the trees and shrubs in that area of the property had certainly grown thick and tangly. My partner’d asked me to call her when I’d found the key and gotten in, so instead I called her to say I was giving up, but that it was fine: it wasn’t raining, it was a nice summer night, I had a swell book to read; the sound of my bewildered dog barking mournfully from inside the house hurt but I didn’t mention that. In fact, I noticed that my prime concern seemed to be making my darling think being locked out was nothing. She’s so overburdened, dealing with so many worries, I just didn’t want to add more, especially as I’d already freaked her out earlier with my musing about forced entry. So I acted way more cheerful than I felt. When the rain started, I sheltered in the garage, which has a lightbulb so I could continue to read. When the mosquitoes etc. had told all their friends and relations of the human feast in the garage and begun to partake, the rain had finally stopped so I took a walk. Back in the yard, the trees and plants and my newly planted beds of herbs and watermelons and pumpkins and flowers were so fragrant and rain-fresh and lovely, I meditated with them and was so grateful for the beauty of the earth and the plants. Real serenity about it all eluded me, though, because of worries about all the tasks I needed to get done, and because of the sad pup I couldn’t comfort. All in all, it was really fucked up. It was dishonest to pretend to be so cheerful…espcially when what I really wanted was for her to see through the cheerfulness and appreciate my tragic martyrdom in not asking her to stop working and come let me into the house! I was disappointed in myself that my serenity in the situation was such a shallow veneer. Sitting in the garden on a summer evening…how bad could it be? Not that bad, except for one’s imposing a negative interpretation upon it? Nah. Pretty bad, when puppy’s sad and you’ve got 8,932 things to do.

Know where keys are at all times….know where keys are at all times….know where keys are at all times….

Oh, and my beloved is hardly responsible for any of those bad things I recounted in my last post…it seems to me that at work this is sometimes how she’s treated, however. I worry for those I love. Both my spouse and my children often seem so stressed and pressured by demands of life that aren’t even necessarily of their own choosing. I’ll just keep trying to be better support for them.


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