Tuesday, December 14, 2010

magical futures

Already out of place in the early morning of the parking lot blitz, I take in the population of grungy men climbing from the cabs of pick ups squeezed into spots marked "compact" and slamming their rusty doors one-handed while they sip steaming coffee and head for the entrance.

To his credit, the man in charge of Home Depot's plumbing department did not get on his radio and call security when I approached him and noted plainly, "I want to make a magic wand."

We look at each other for a while.

"Maybe PVC pipe?" I offer. "Thin? Doesn't have to be black, I can paint it. And those white rubber stoppers for the ends? Like on the legs of metal chairs? Or step stools? What are they called?"

Ah, but in the aisle of  pipe we discover the thinnest pipe is not thin enough. My box store shepherd has an lovely island accent (The Isle of Pipe?) and informs me, "All we 'ave is dis size 'nd oop." Though he's already gotten big time gold stars for not having me hauled away, for listening to my magical needs with more regard than most of my closest and dearest would ever dream of, he continues with serious intent: "Does de flexibilidee mattah?"

We look at hoses. Good potential, but I'd have to buy the whole coil. I consider my prospects, while my host takes a call from another customer - something about warranties, normal as all get out. I congratulate myself for adding spice to his day - the crazy lady whose son wants a magic wand for Christmas. When he ends his call, I thank him in that way that means he's off the hook. He looks relieved.

When I was in college studying languages madly, my career advisor washed her hands of me early on. "I'm sorry," she said, pushing my resume back across the desk at me. "I don't think we can help you." While others reveled in summer internships, I found out that the way I move in the world, doesn't always have a name or a space.

Lately, we have been house hunting. I walk into a 250-year-old colonial renovation project and hear it screaming to me about its future as a writers' guest house. I call the planning board and they "can't find anything in the zoning bylaws that matches" what I'm talking about. "I'm trying to grasp exactly what it is you are wanting to do, ma'am." Me too, sir. Me too.

So Home Depot is not my resource for magic. Somehow this doesn't surprise me in the least. Neither are planning officers stewards of dreams. So what. What I've learned in the time since Egyptian hieroglyphs excluded me from employment, is that just because those in charge can't define you, and even when you can't explain what precisely that vision looks like yourself, it doesn't mean you have to give up your dreams of magic.


Rita said...

Here it is, the crux of the genuine life. I know a lot of us hear you and love this, many of us in many lands, far and wide.

Rambling Woods said...

You are a such a good writer and I love the way you look at things...More of us should...I too have been known to look for strange things at Lowes....

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