I love going to Home Depot and Lowe’s. Almost more than Macy’s or Nordstrum’s… I can’t say Neiman Marcus because I don’t have the big bucks for that store. And besides, I can’t wear a size 0 or size 2. These days I’m more into home improvement. I look at interior design magazines and I get fantasies – fantasies what my house could really look like. Fantasies of how I could keep my husband, Howard, busy, one project after another…forever.
I love watching Howard work. Building things. Fixing things. Maybe it’s just pheromones. Or hormones. I think of all that testosterone. I see all those muscles. Working. Building. Fixing. And then there are the tools. The gadgets. The gizmos. But I never know what to call them. “Thingamajig” is fine with me. But just tell one of those Home Depot employees wearing one of those orange pinafore aprons you need a thingamajig. You’ll never get anywhere. And “whatchamacallit” won’t work either. There is no aisle or shelf with a specific place for thingamajigs or whatchamacallits.. The whole store is full of them. They’re all over but they all have different names. Very specific names.
Some things have lots of names. The other day Howard was in the middle of a project. I think it was the middle. Some projects are unending. So it’s hard to tell where the middle is. He stopped. Looked at me and sighed. There’s always a sigh before he’s going to ask me to do something. Usually it’s in the middle of something I am doing. I waited… Silence… I waited some more. Finally I got tired of waiting, I said, “So? Well? What is it?”
He looked up. Didn’t say a thing. My apprehension was rising. I figured I would probably have to drive to Miami. Maybe clean up cat puke. Or do something really time consuming. Finally, he says, “I need something,”
“You need a lot of things,” I reply. “It never ends.”
“I need a plug for the air compressor hose.”
“Oh. Just a plug? Is that all?”
“No. Not just any plug. A steel plug.”
“OK. A steel plug. I just get a steel plug?”
“It’s got to be the right size.”
“Well, how am supposed to know what size if you don’t tell me?”
“ A quarter-inch fitting!”
“I thought you needed a plug.”
“A quarter-inch male plug steel pneumatic fitting!!!”
I turn around to go. I’ll get him his plug. Fitting. Whatever. “Wait a minute,” he says. “I need something else. “
“One more thing?”
“One more thing.”
“Well, what is it?”
“I need a file.”
“There’s one in the bathroom.”
“Not that kind of file.” He picks up a metal file. Shows it to me. “This kind,” he says.
“Ok. You need a file.”
“Not just any file.”
“That’s a metal file. How can there be more than one?”
“Well there’s round parallel files and pippin files .(No relation to Pippa Middleton.) And then he adds, “Nut files and flat bastard mill files.”
I thought a moment about the latter two. I didn’t want to question anything’s origin, particularly that of a file. And since this all sounded crazy to me, I decided I wouldn’t go there. Period.
So many words for one tool. I didn’t think that men and their toys were that complicated. Now that I know what he needs, all I have to do is find and buy it.