“In this intimate body of work, she uses mixed media, collage and painting to explore the demands of motherhood, preservation of memory, and repetitious patterns of thought and behavior.”
I recently received this invitation and quickly decided it was probably something I don’t want to even be seen near, let alone attend. Perhaps my reluctance to go has something to do with the description. I just have no idea what the promoters are talking about. Besides, when you use “intimate body of work” to put a fence around “thought and behavior,” I get a bit light headed. Perhaps my reaction was just a quirk on my part, but even the promise of free refreshments was no incentive.
The announcement got me thinking, though, why I kind of know from the get-go whether I’m going to like something or whether I want to venture forth and go somewhere. I’m not sure how all this works and whether I’m just getting to be more curmudgeonly as I grow older and acquire more peculiar behavioral habits or whether my own specific radar has just been a bit of my quiddity all along. I kind of suspect that it’s the latter and is part and parcel of the inherent essence of what makes me me.
Another example of peculiar reaction also occurred this week. Since I’m not known as someone who is quick to pick a fight, I was a tad surprised by my own truculent reaction to an unimaginative neighbor who seems clueless when it comes to solving problems. When filling potholes on the gravel road that runs through our development, I noticed that the spur lane that runs up to his driveway was filled with a good deal of water from all the rain we’ve been getting. When I investigated more closely, it seemed that opening up a drainage line would be a relatively simple solution. In the end it didn’t take that much time or work to dig a small trench to drain the water. When he saw what I had done, he was amazed and thanked me profusely. He said his car thanked me, too, since he had been driving through the mud for some time.
As I toddled up my drive, I was a bit dumbfounded and left muttering to myself why the solution wasn’t clear to him, too. But what was the point in thinking badly of him rather than just smiling while doing my neighbor a favor. Were my positively petulant thoughts—never expressed, just cartoon-bubbles for what I was thinking—just a quirk of the moment or part of my overall personality? This question left me a bit concerned about my core personality and whether I should be mending my ways.
As a boy, my father was forever misplacing his limited number of tools and then blaming me for “hiding” them from him. These were the days before Lowes or Home Depot and few men had the power tools that are readily available today. All we had were a hammer, an assortment of screw drivers, a saw, and a “bit and brace,” a hand tool hardly ever seen today to drill holes when sweat equity rather than electricity was in great supply.
Thanks to my father’s negative example, I developed a taste as I grew up for order and logical storage where I could find my tools, the right screws and nails, and where the sandpaper was stored. Now my workshop has an array of pegboards, bins, jars, and storage containers where everything has a home.
I personally don’t think I’m obsessive, but at times my wife Jody just raises her eyebrow when she cautiously enters the shop in search of the right do-dad to complete her task at hand. And guess what, most of the time we can’t find it. I’ve either devised some super scheme to store things which I no longer can remember or it’s right in front of me and I can’t see it. She is patient, sometimes even calling my methods “charming.” But she has also coined the term “male pattern blindness” and sweetly says at the rate I’m going we’re going to have to trade in our pack of worthless hounds for one good service dog to aid my vision. Then she smiled and said, “And we’re not even going to talk about your hearing issues, at least not now.”
Is this “male blindness” storage problem just a quirk on my part or just one little iota in the many folds and creases that make up my “endearing” quiddity? Simple answer, “I don’t know.”
In the meantime, I thank my long-deceased father for instilling in me the need for a sense of order, even though I still misplace too many things. On the positive side, I believe I deserve a multitude of patents for the various storage schemes I’ve created. Now, where was I …