If there is one thing I know for sure about my relationship with my husband, the Carpenter, it’s this: there are boundaries of masculine territories that I am not allowed to cross.
And if there’s one thing for sure you should know about me, it’s that I like to push boundaries. Love is a funny thing.
The garage may be the Carpenter’s domain, but the barbecue is his altar. In any season, in all kinds of weather, the barbecue is his happy place of creation, where masterpieces of meat collide with open flame, and the smell of charred foods and plumes of smoke fill the air. Never, not once in over 20 years together, have I been allowed to use our barbecue.
When it comes to summer dinners on the patio, the jobs are divided as follows: I coordinate the meal plan, do the shopping and prepare the food and table. The Carpenter grills the food and gets the glory.
Yep, that’s fair. Therefore, I believe it is fair play to antagonize the man while he cooks by asking relevant questions like, “are the flames supposed to engross the meat entirely?” or “is it supposed to be black on both sides of the burger?”
He loves my sense of humour; he just doesn’t know how to express it.
Ah, but I do so enjoy flirting with danger; tempting fate if you will, and in my house, it’s as easy as approaching the lit altar of the holy grill.
Last weekend, while the barbecue was reaching optimal temperature for grilling, the Carpenter sat and did a crossword puzzle. It was the perfect opportunity to stir things up. Slowly, I approached the grill, reaching for the barbecue lid handle.
“Don’t touch that,” the Carpenter said flatly, without looking up. He’s scary like that.
I jumped back, acting innocent, like I was swooshing at a fly.
Moments later I tried again, this time reaching out to touch the temperature knobs, as slowly as humanly possible.
“Stop it,” he said, never taking his eyes off the page. Uncanny.
I like a challenge. Grabbing the long-handled spatula, I began practicing my ninja moves, waving the utensil about with stealth, cat-like moves, attacking an invisible enemy with sound affects that would make Jackie Chan proud. The Carpenter ignored me. Hmph. I held the spatula up to the sun, breathed hard on the stainless steel surface to fog it up and wiped it clean with my tank shirt. Gross, yet no reaction. I realized I could stand near the barbecue, so long as I didn’t touch it. Game on.
In a mad dash, I went for it. I grabbed the lid and flipped it open. Flames flew up to greet me. Choirs sang in the distance. The stars aligned. I had reached the holy grill of the opposite sex and I had it firm in hand. That is what power feels like.
The Carpenter looked up from his crossword in a slow, deliberate move that implied, without words, that I had pushed the boundary far enough. He put his pencil down. War had been declared. That night, I knew my steak would be well done instead of medium-rare. Point made.
You know what this means, right? Next week, I’m going to touch the lawn mower. I may even rev it up and mow a row. Forever is a long time you know, so marriage should be fun.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.