This is more or less a rant. So bear with me of you will. I am 57 years old. My parents were married for 23 years. They divorced between my Junior and Senior years in High School. I had a choice to make...and quickly, as it all unravelled. With whom do I stay with?
I chose my Dad. I wanted to stay in my High School, with my friends I had grown up with. That would not have been an option had I chosen my Mother. And the divorce was a complete surprise to me. I never saw it coming. I didn't, at 15 years old, know what had led up to it. I couldn't place blame. I just knew the china had been broken.
I love my Mom. I really do. But she drives me a little crazy at times. She is 80 years old now...and neither me nor my sister have really wrapped our heads around that. She has always been a dependent woman.
What do I mean by that?
She has always depended upon a man to do things for her, and she has never, ever been one to do anything for herself. That worked just fine when she had a man in her life. But that was years ago.
My mother expects a man to know everything. At least everything that might become a current problem. Got a plumbing issue? Toilet or sink backed up? How about a slow leak in your roof? Do you hear that noise under the hood in my car? What is that? Can you install a new microwave oven under my cabinets? And rewire my kitchen lights?
No...Mom, I can't. I don't know how to do those things. Perhaps, if Dad was handy that way...he might have taught me growing up how to do those kinds of things. But he didn't. He was too busy working. He never taught me shit. Except for ethics. And some of those ethics were learned at the end of a belt strap. But I learned them nonetheless.
But car mechanics? Home Repair? No...I never learned those crafts at the loving knees of a patient father...and as those skills elude me in my own life, I'm afraid they are unavailable to you as well. I suggest the yellow pages. That's where I routinely turn.
It's not because I don't love you that I won't fix your hanging gutter, or your microwave oven, or that wet spot in your ceiling. I'm just not a roofer, or an electrician, or a carpenter.
Yes, I am a man. And perhaps men, back in 1950, were a bit more well rounded and generally skilled. But I wasn't raised that way. Certainly not by you and my father. Granted, you taught me how to cook and how to can and preserve food. But Dad? He was always at work. He didn't teach me shit. Never even showed up once to a little league game. Too busy.
I love the man...I really do. His work sent me to college and paid for it, and he has been there for me many times since. He was there when he needed to be...and he was not there a lot of the time. But I always had a Dad. Just not one who taught me how to take care of every little thing that malfunctions in your house. And I don't think he was the kind of handyman that you expect me to be, now that we are on the subject.
Look...I know you get lonely sometimes. I know you appreciate attention. We all do, and I will try to show you more appreciation going forward. But I am not a contractor.
I can't install overhead lighting. I don't do electrical work. I can do some plumbing, but I really, really loathe it.
I will do what I can...but I'm just a regular guy who grew up with two working parents and never really learned much of the knowledge that you seem to expect me to possess. Where was I supposed to learn it from?
Thanks for listening.