Jane, skinny-dipping in the moody waters of an African river, fails to notice a crocodile the size of a subway train easing towards her. She frolics and splashes and keeps her girly parts covered by well-placed foam and foliage. Life is good. As she turns toward shore to catch a peaceful G-rated sunbath, she sees the black and beady eyes approaching. Fast.
Screaming for help, she knows Tarzan will save her. The audience knows Tarzan will save her. Sure enough, Tarzan hears her cries and swings through the jungle on magically well placed vines. He leaps into the water and wrestles the crocodile. A knife that sure looks bigger than the average six-incher appears from his loincloth, stabbing occurs, and the hungry crocodile is subdued. Jane falls limp into her heroâ€™s arms. The violin music swells.
I grew up on that stuff. In movies and television shows women are the ones who:
–Fall while running away from something or someone. I swear they can trip over a shadow, but somehow a guy swoops them from harm in the nick of time.
–Cry for help when a mouse or insect appears. A man must take care of the situation. I love this scene, as well as the lobster scene from Annie Hall:
–Stand by in terror as their guy fights the bad guy. Have you ever wondered why they donâ€™t jump into the fray too? I do.
–Faint. A lot.
I donâ€™t think that is the reason Iâ€™m loathe to ask for help, but itâ€™s in my head. More often than not my reason to push through is because I said I would do it. If I delegate I feel like I lied. Or that Iâ€™m failing somehow. Or that Iâ€™m being needy. Or that I am bothering somebody else who has his or her own crocodiles to wrestle. Thatâ€™s how Iâ€™m wired, and although it has the shiny new car smell of a great work ethic, it burns through a lot of adrenaline too.
After last weekendâ€™s art sale my supply of hand-dyed silk scarves was nearly depleted. Since I have another sale this weekend, I set a goal of making at least one scarf a night. My husband called during his lunch hour last Monday and said, â€œHave you thought about someone else who could help you make the scarves?â€
â€œNo,â€ I replied, â€œbecause I love to make them. Theyâ€™re my cathartic creations.â€
After a small stretch of silence he said, â€œCould I make some?â€
I was at a loss for words. My husband has been doing an incredible job of picking up all the pieces Iâ€™m not good at. Heâ€™s doing the bookwork, making signs,contacting possible venues for my playshops, and even built me a card rack. Now he wanted to help me make scarves?
That night I handed him a white silk scarf and pointed at the jars of dyes. I offered simple instructions and told him that the dyes and the silk are a lot like midlife womenâ€¦they donâ€™t want to do what is expected of them and tend not to stay within the lines. He nodded, asked a couple questions, and went to work. I was astonished at how beautiful his scarf creation turned out. Last night he did another scarf, and once again I was awed by his color selection, his playfulness, and his art.
Being “awed” makes it sound like I doubted his ability, and that is certainly not what I mean. Itâ€™s just that this is a man with a scientific-based mind. And while he sees beauty in the world around him he doesnâ€™t always have a way to translate that beauty into something like a silk scarf.
I wasnâ€™t in river of trouble, but somehow my guy heard my silent cry of worry. He dove in the water, helped me wrestle the inventory crocodile, and emerged, once again, my hero. Now that I’m thinking about it, I need to talk to him about that knife in his pantsâ€¦
My Tarzan. He is the best part of my day.