Though confirmed in my spinsterhood, I have always conceded that men are good for at least four things: startin’ (things with small engines, which often involves pulling hard on cords); fixin’ (the same small engines, which crap out with maddening frequency, often while sitting unmolested in a shed); totin’ (heavy stuff, like bags of compost) and killin’ (snakes, spiders, bats, etc.)
Admittedly, none of the men in my own genetic line excel in any of these areas. They all have bad backs, no mechanical proficiency and are at least as afraid of vermin as I am. Still, I cling to the fantasy of the heroic male who can handle these tasks for which I am physically, emotionally or intellectually unequipped.
As a spinster, however, I am forced to find girlish workarounds for these high-testosterone tasks. (Though my own testosterone levels are rising with incipient menopause, my manification has not yet translated into super strength or manly courage; mostly, I’m just getting hairier.)
Some tasks I am able to hire out, like lawn mowing – an exercise in frustration that inevitably led to tears and age (see startin’ and fixin’ categories above). Other challenges can be handled by simply running away from them (see my post about why I can never set foot in the backyard again).
My biggest remaining hurdle is totin’. If I were a man, I would have a pick-up truck, a type of conveyance that seems as much a distinguishing feature of the gender as their anatomical equipage. As a girly girl with a smallish income and only lady equipage, I drive a tiny car instead of a big truck. Thus, my totin’ capability is limited to how much I can fit into the back end of my Kia Soul. It leads to such inconveniences as having to construct a backyard patio 20 bricks at a time, as that’s the limit my jalopy can handle in one trip from the building center.
An avid gardener has much need of totin’ capacity, though. There are bags of mulch and compost to be toted in, and vast quantities of “yard waste” (weeds, for you non-agriculturalists) to be toted out. It is for this reason that I have long pined for a wagon.
By wagon, I refer not to the familiar red Radio Flyer of childhood (what does that name mean, anyway?), nor the horse-drawn buckboards of bygone days (although that would be kind of awesome). I’m talking about a little, four-sided trailer that can be pulled behind my little, four-sided Kia. My yearning acquired new urgency earlier this summer when I impulsively had a trailer hitch put on my car for an absurdly exorbitant price (Note to self: learn welding). Now there was no reason – indeed, no excuse – not to procure a wagon to pull behind Little Red.
Actually, there remained ONE impediment: I am poor. In one of those great mysteries of life I’ll never understand, it seems that every.single.person on the planet is able to afford nice things except for me. I began to take note of the multitude of trailers I encounter on a daily basis: pulled behind autos and even (talk about gluttony) pickup trucks; parked beside driveways; languishing in muddy pastures. The neighbor across the street has no fewer than FOUR trailers of varying sizes occupying a large chunk of his backyard, the selfish bastard.
To be honest, I began to foment a deep, gnawing bitterness toward a world in which a hard-working, law-abiding, middle-aged spinster cannot afford even a tiny wagon. (Is this the kind of injustice that The Donald vows to rectify?)
Then, this past weekend, my mom and I spent some time weeding. After accumulating a wheelbarrowful of refuse destined for the already mountainous pile of debris at the back of the property (a foul, no-man’s land we’ve dubbed Snake Haven), my mother suddenly declared, “We need a trailer.”
Off we went to the home improvement store, where I filled out an application for a store credit card (ka-ching!). The first, and likely last, pay-later purchase was Big Max, an adorable 4×8 trailer. I don’t want to undermine my new baby’s self-esteem, but he’s really more of a Mini Max. That makes him perfect for me and Little Red. It was love at first sight. Like all my relationships, however, Max and I have already experienced some bumps on the road – literally. After getting hitched up and heading proudly out of the parking lot, we made it about a mile when there was suddenly a terrific clatter and grinding noise from behind. I pulled over and discovered that the hitch installed at great price had come loose (full disclosure: it was an operator error situation), and Max’s tongue now dragged on the asphalt.
Well, that can’t be good.
I proceeded to stomp around mad a minute or two, re-install the hitch and hook Max back up and then we were on our way again … slowly … because I was disinclined to have my brand-new-and-not-even-paid-for trailer end up in a crumpled pile of debris in a ditch. (I’d have to just abandon him there, because there are snakes in ditches. I don’t do snakes, even for Baby Max. It’s perhaps just as well I’ve never reproduced.)
At last I got Maxi safely installed in a niche between the tomato patch and a honeysuckle bush, where he is likely to grow old and decrepit like the rest of the occupants of the Mohror Estate. Though he was purchased specifically as a mobile weed receptacle, he’s so new and pretty that I find it hard to dirty him up. Perhaps instead I’ll paint him some bright color and declare him “garden décor.”