Monday, February 11, 2013

Suburbs of Our Discontent

I like to think about Shakespeare and gender--and not just the women. What makes a man a man? Is it all about physical prowess? How much weeping is too much? And what makes him break?

Well, this weekend was like the Shakespeare Masculinity Olympics at our house as I witnessed the grown man I'm married to fight the elements, possibly weep, and come close to breaking.

It was Man v. Crappy Borrowed Snow Blower: Brendon had been trying to fix the starter cord for two hours--threading it, rethreading it, pulling at it, and swearing. ( I just watched from inside, having blown out my arm muscles in the earlier Amazonian Olympic Women's Shovel Toss.) I couldn't hear him, but it was like watching Richard III—horseless and friendless–lashing out against Richmond's forces. My kingdom for some horse power.

I really wanted him to have this victory--I could tell it mattered to him a lot. He's from the West Coast and hates New England, hates the snow. Every time he has to do battle with it, it's like he ages five years. But for ten years he's refused to buy a snow blower. I think he sees it as some kind of concession to being here for more than a visit.

But this wasn't going to end well. I knew what I had to do, although I'd have to handle it delicately. I started calling every Lowe's and Home Depot in greater Boston until I finally found a snow blower. And they delivered. When it came off the truck, all shiny and gadgety, his face lit up (I won't say "like a little kid on Christmas morning," because that would emasculate him, but, yeah, it was pretty much like that).

And then he plowed the crap out of everything within a block of our house.

I think Shakespeare would approve.  Take that, winter of our discontent.

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