Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Behind Every Great Man


It was Boulder Day, the day the local landscaping company was delivering boulders. Two of them, for backyard d├ęcor. I’m not sure what the land-clearing pioneers of the West would have thought of this, but there we were.

The “we” was four of us: Nancy and I, our (female) landscaper, and the (male) Boulder Delivery Guy (BDG). Being a professional BDG (and a really big one), he had no trouble sliding a dolly under Boulder #1 and rolling it toward our main gate.

That’s where the fun began.

“Do you think we should use the side gate?” Nancy asked. The hinges on the side gate are all messed up, and it’s transformed into a support structure for some kind of giant shrub. So naturally I said, “No, no, no, too much hassle. This’ll work fine.”

I was wrong. Boulder #1 was too wide to fit through the main gate, from every angle – and believe me, we tried them all. So the BDG rolled Boulder #1 back to the front yard and all the way around the house to the side gate.

After some serious wrenching and a lot of comments like, “That’s OK, we can paint that,” the gate was open and the BDG rolled on through. BANG! Well, almost through. The boulder was too wide. Again.

“Let’s stand it up on the dolly,” the BDG suggested. Seemed logical to me.

For some reason, Nancy had another idea. “Why don’t we try turning it around and rolling it through this way?” she offered.

“No, no, no, too much hassle. This’ll work fine,” both of us (males) agreed.

We bent down to lift together.
“OK, on my mark,” said the BDG confidently.
“Aye, aye,” I replied confidently.
“You know,” the (female) landscaper said, “I really think Nancy’s suggestion – ”
“Nope,” we (males) cut her off. “We got it.”

The BDG took a deep breath. I followed suit.
“OK, lift!” he said, and we put all our (male) strength into it.
“Lift!” he said again.
“I am!” I replied.
But the boulder didn’t. It just stood there, like one of those cosmic meteorites of the same size, that the museum docents tell us weigh 2 gazillion pounds.
Now I believe them.

“You know, if we try turning it around and rolling it – ” Nancy tried again.
“Nope, won’t work,” we (males) insisted, as we strategized our next attack.
“Yeah,” the landscaper tried, “I’m sure Nancy’s way is right – ”
“No,” we assured her. “It won’t.”

So we tried our ways about 6 more times, digging new grooves into the ground, shaving new grooves into the gate, etc. – all without success. Boulder #1 was still outside the gate.
Time elapsed: an hour.

Finally, we (males) were too pooped to push. As we stood off to the side panting and nursing our blisters, the ladies bent over, turned the boulder around, and rolled it . . . through the gate. I almost asked, “Why didn’t you suggest that?” but fortunately I was too tired.
Time elapsed: 75 seconds.

Undaunted, the BDG went back to the truck for Boulder #2. It was even bigger and more misshapen. At the gate, we two men tried again, unsuccessfully, for about 3 minutes.

“You know,” Nancy began, “I really think – ” but I cut her off immediately.

“Yes, yes!” I said, “Great idea! Whatever it is, it’s a great idea.”

“Well, see,” the BDG began, “that’s not gonna work because – ” so I cut HIM off.

“Yeah, that’s gonna work fine. Let’s go, ladies,” I insisted.

The BDG consented, and working together this time, Boulder #2 entered the Promised Land.
Time elapsed (including the BDG’s attempt at sabotage): 48 seconds.

Someone once said, “Behind every great man stands a woman . . . rolling her eyes.”

I don’t doubt it a bit. But today, they’re also rolling boulders.