A MAN IN EVERY ROOM

Remember my art teacher, Stan? He’s the one who is terrified he is losing his memory and runs around with his eyes closed, touching his finger to his nose to make sure he doesn’t have a brain tumor.

Today, at art Class as the four of us sat outside under Carol’s dried coconut fringe umbrella, discussing art and the state of Regina’s and my house re-model, Stan said,
“Well, yesterday I had to drive off the mountain and into the city. On the way, I stopped at a gas station to fill up my truck. I went inside the store and paid my money, walked out, got in my truck and drove off. Totally forgot to gas up.”

We think this is hysterical. Even Stan thinks so. It’s a good thing, because he needs a laugh.

His 99 year old mother is still alive but now she has a bad cold. He’s decided that he will, indeed, go up north and visit her. He has been afraid to go because she told him on the phone that she is only hanging onto life until he comes to see her, putting him in a bind of ‘if I go visit her, it may kill her.’

As it turns out, he’s having other family problems, too and so we all end up just chatting the morning away. No painting, today. Stan says not to pay him for the class but we insist. After 6 years he is our good friend and we consider this a great therapy session. As artists, we feel we need to clear out and fill up our inner well in order to do our best painting.

After class Regina and I take a walk on Carol’s property, down to the dam. We walk down an old, abandoned cement road that leads to the lake. Masses of purple wildflowers reach out for us, as do twining vines and white trumpet-like gourd flowers. It’s very hot and I take off my coral colored tee shirt.

Regina tells me I need a better bra, that I should wear one that lifts me up. She shows me her bra. It’s mainly padding so she has no trouble with ‘lift.’ Regina has gotten very skinny since her husband became ill and died. She doesn’t eat as much as she used to.

Right after her husband died she began wearing little tiny skirts and high heels that wobbled but now, a year later, she is back to wearing what we wear; jeans and tops and independent hair that has its own way of doing things.

She tells me as we’re walking that she thinks maybe she should wait another year or two, before she starts dating, before she starts seriously looking for a man. She has had a few stinker experiences with men since her husband passed and that seems to have brought her to her senses, or maybe what I mean is, she is just balancing out from all the grief she has experienced. Coming back to mid-line, so to speak.

As I write this, I am counting five men at my house.
Two are outside taping over all my windows as preparation for spray painting the house, while Chuckie is using a blower all around the outside to get the dirt down.

Now, who shows up but two more men to weed-whack the fields and mow. All the blowing dirt and weed stems may be a problem when Chuckie wants to start spraying the house paint on the walls.

There is at least one more man coming; Evan the linoleum man. He has been putting down the scarlet linoleum in my bathrooms for two days. He is a perfectionist.

For a year now, I’ve been teasing people by remarking that I have a man in every room. And, you know what? I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of all these nice men and all this noise and commotion and dirt and general clamor. I dream of again stripping naked every morning and lounging in the sun. I dream of once again swimming naked in my pool with only the pool man or an unexpected handyman, catching me at it.

I’m going out now to take a walk and get away from all this mess and all these men before the last door into and out of the house is taped over.
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