Sal worked yesterday at the Post Office. She’s part-time, maybe once a month on average. Usually, she is pretty laid-back about it. She mosey’s up to the floating bare, unserviced postal shed in her little boat, chats with customers, sells some stamps, sorts the mail and then comes home. Four hours.
But yesterday, she was tense. She was anxious. She had a straight-lipped-mouth look. THAT is serious stuff right there. Yesterday was grim.
“Sweetie. You look grim. Y’alright?”
“Fine. Just pressure. I’ll be fine.”
“What pressure? It’s mail, fer gawd’s sake. You can do it in your sleep.”
“It’s not the mail, silly. Tomorrow I have a quilting class and I have to get up at 6:00 am to make it to the class on time. AND I am supposed to have done some cutting in advance but my pattern just came Wednesday and it is sooooooooo complicated. I just don’t know how I am gonna get it all done. Oh, Gawd!”
“There, there now, Sal, relax. Reeeee……laaxxxx. Breathe. In. Out. Breathe. You can get it handled! I know you, Sal. You can do this. YOU CAN DO THIS THING! You are good to go girl! There ain’t nothing you can’t do and they have not invented a pattern you can’t lick or a stamp you can’t sew!”
“Never mind. I am jus’ bein’ supportive which ya’all. I am on yo’ side. Whachever you need to hear, girl, that’s what I am sayin’.”
“Why you talkin’ whicha black accent, dawg!?”
“You are right. Let us stop it! Stop it right now. This could get weird fast.”
“You already weird….”
So, she is over at Quilting right now. She’ll be OK. Sal handles this kind of pressure well. She cheats. Actually, it isn’t really cheating, it’s multi-tasking, she says. “I took the pattern with me to work. I spread the cloth all over the counter and the boxes. Had some hanging on the rack. Some on the stove. I read the pattern when I had the chance. I really wish we had some light in there. Thank God the plane was late and we had few customers. Normally, I might listen to any gossip or even read some of our own mail but, this time, I just cranked it up a notch. I was the postmistress supreme and the quilter-from-hell!”
“And they put Harriet Tubman on the US 20 dollar bill! YOU should be on the next Canadian $20.00 bill!”
My nephew’s wife just gave birth to their 1st child. My sister (the new grannie) decided a few months ago to finish a quilt she started when her son was born 35 YEARS ago….she cranked it off in a month. Beautiful quilt. Flowers, birds, other surrealistic patterns/colors that would make a mushroom induced hallucination just that much better……..
Then for some bizarre reason she started ANOTHER quilt for the grandchild and that quilt is going full bore…..squares, triangles, polka dots, you name it, if its geometric, its there…..so….being a self absorbed twit with delusions of quilt overload…… I sweetly asked my Sis……”Where’s mine?”
I cant repeat what she said.
Family audience and all.
The two solitudes. You may be thinking for gawdsakes what are the stakes here. Compencies, those mysterious compencies. Man claims certain things as his domain: the BBQ. Camping gear, driving instruction, home repair and other assigned duties such as car maintainace, yard duty, garbage detail and disciplinarian. In the ebb and flow of gender roles nothing is fixed, firm and for certain but there are expectations stated and unstated. And of course there are times when men, man up and do even that stuff that they thought they would never do and I’m sure you never imagined yourself quilting. Take up those thimbles, needles, thread and those pieces of fabric and muck in.
My fingers are too fat for thimbles. My linear thinking can’t cope with cutting fabric into bits to sew them back together. Women’s groups get weird when men show up at their events. Men are weird IF they do. We all KNOW that!. Sal can fix outboards, I cannot quilt. It is the new sexism. Face it.
Woman’s work is never done! RG
Their talking about it is never done, that’s for sure!