“Oh wow,” said my wife, Meg. “That’s really cool.”
“Thanks baby,” I replied.
I had pulled her down to the basement just before the kids bedtime to see the boat I had been working on. I had just flipped it right-side-up for the first time. Unfortunately, she was a bit anxious to get back upstairs to get started on that daunting nightly task. I stood staring at the boat and we were quiet. It was the first time Meg had been down in the basement since I started on the Bolger Bobcat. I knew her eyes were scanning around the shop noticing the wood dust on the floor and the tools strewn about. I knew that was driving her crazy and that she was doing everything in her power not to say anything about it.
I could tell that this boat that I had created was extremely low on her ever-growing list of important items to donate brain energy to. She has a million things going on right now with work, kids, house, family, etc. I fully understood and was aware that her reaction would be slightly under my expectations. It was not that she was unimpressed, it was simply that there were too many other things going on around us for her to let this in. I did not press anything.
“Pretty cool, huh?”
“Yeah. Awesome,” she said.
It isn’t the fact that, where there was once a pile of wood, there is now a vessel capable of crossing bodies of water that was awesome to her. She, like most people, doesn’t quite see it that way. It could be a fine piece of furniture or a bookshelf and her emotional response would be the same. They are simply items that were built out of wood. Others, have a much more visceral reaction. I have had other folks down into the basement to see my work that have had just that deep, philosophical reaction. You can see it in their eyes. They simply cannot believe that they are looking at an actual boat..that I built…in my basement. They stare, awestruck, while walking in full circles around her. Their eyes scan every joint and every seam confirming to themselves that it will actually float. The emotions of freedom, ambition, envy, curiosity, adventure, desire, and pride all rush into their head and swirl around like hundreds of multi-colored autumn leaves blowing in through a doorway on a blustery day. The reaction of a man that has those emotions stirred up is raw and childlike and very difficult to express in words, but to an observer it is obvious and visible.
To Meg, it was simply her husband’s boat building accomplishment that occurred to her as awesome. I am not discounting that emotion, because that emotion alone is the most important one of all. If she glared at the boat in resentment for all of the time it cost me away from her, that would be troublesome and I hoped to myself that was not in her thoughts. The fact that she was impressed with my work was more than enough for me and I greatly appreciated her withholding her commentary on the condition of the basement. She frequently mentions how “messy” it is down there to which I reply, “Honey, it is a working wood shop and is perpetually in and out of disarray.” That is my story and I am sticking to it.
Thank you for reading.