So, I guess I own a drill. Also 15 screwdrivers in various lengths and shapes, six pairs of pliers, assorted wrenches, a level, a headlamp, and a small megaphone (in case I ever need to stand on top of some rubble and shout instructions as downtown Tucson flees the zombie apocalypse).
I didn’t own any of this before the weekend, but I moved house three weeks ago and my girlfriend J., who makes things for a living, was aghast at my dearth of tools*. I didn’t even own a hammer. So J. escorted me to Harbor Freight and treated me to a cartful of must-haves, with a little red box (like a makeup case, but heavier) to put them in. This was my favorite part! The little red box relaxed me, which was good because I avoid all manner of home improvements. I’m afraid of the claw ends of hammers; of tearing my face open on a lube rack; of staggering into the emergency room holding my severed right hand in my left. This conviction re: my own incompetence makes me feel lame and petulant, so I’m working on it except NO FUCKING NAIL GUNS. Glue guns are OK. For Christmas wreaths. And here you see the most insidious aspect of falling out of the upper middle class.
“I don’t know where you got the idea you couldn’t do this,” J. said, clambering nimbly around my pre-OSHA exposed-rafter nightmare of a ceiling. What’s hotter than a woman who can re-route a circuit breaker; what’s sweeter than a woman with faith in your ability to do it too? Who’s more generous than a woman who doesn’t laugh when she sees you don’t know that your bathroom cabinet actually opens because the latch is sort of hidden? Who, when she has to ask if you know which way to screw in the curtain hardware, uses the kindest possible tone?
Anyway, I love my new neighborhood, which is as close as one can get to a city vibe without driving to Phoenix or losing my shit entirely and moving to LA. I’m in an old house that’s been split up into several apartments, and the windows are bigger and better-lit than I’m used to (at this point, the entire neighborhood could draw my naked breasts from memory). My street is a piquant mishmash of Greek Revival, art deco, adobe, grimy student apartments, and a couple of abandoned warehouse-y structures. Two blocks down is a funky bed-and-breakfast that looks welcoming during the day — Hello, vacationing New Yorkers in search of your desert spirit animal! Hint: it’s either a roadrunner or a bobcat — but at night glows with sinister blue light. Very Disneyland Haunted House. I can walk to Dairy Queen; a gay(ish) bar; the food co-op; and meh-to-excellent vintage resale shops. What else is there? Oh yeah, the view:
*She may never get over the time I called the round screwdriver a “Phyllis head”).