This is my final post as the Gearhead’s wife. I feel bad wounding you, loyal readers. All of you who laughed and commented and sought me out at various gatherings to tell me you love the writing. Your words of enthusiasm and encouragement touched me deeply. With this decision to discontinue the blog, I feel I owe you an explanation; it has taken me almost a year to write one.
Something held me back from writing the blog. I didn’t know what it was. It wasn’t for lack of material. Crikey! Gearhead antics continue unabated, something of a principle at this point, a mathematical constant. I’m able to diagram the equation, after twenty years of marriage: gearhead husband = eccentric + wife with a touch of madness squared (crazy plus anger).
This last year, I didn’t write about the time the Gearhead requested [wife edits: demanded] I help him complete the installation of the steel roof on our house. [Wife edits: this entailed my body being catapulted high in the sky in the bucket of the cherry picker (i.e., the old hydro truck), working tangled carabiners on twenty year old climbing ropes and a grigri, to belay the Gearhead to the edge of the roof so he could drill the final screws into place on the ice guard.] The fiasco was diligently documented by our daughters laughing hysterically behind the safety of the kitchen windows. I think we made it to the Instagram sham with that one. Then the bucket truck got stuck. I had to be rescued with a ladder, negotiating a substantial drop with a wing and a prayer to a god I don’t even believe in.
This last year, I didn’t write about the purchase of the new “family car” [wife edits: this is how he sold it to me during our regular puppet game where the Gearhead uses his magical charm to keep my eye on the shiny twirling fingers of his left hand while all the while a new (to us) car materialises in the driveway, the keys of which are already in his right hand, hidden behind his back. I fall for it. Every. Single. Time.] This time, it’s a beautiful deep blue Porsche Panamera that is anything but a family car. No one is allowed to drive it. The Gearhead complains about our empty bank account, citing my ladies-who-luncheons as the culprit of zero dollars. Fine. [Wife edits: yes, I think I will have another martini]. But I’m good not driving it ‘cause anytime we go somewhere, and I step out of the passenger seat, people look at me like I’m that sticky brown smell they’ve scraped from the bottom of their shoe.
This last year, I didn’t write about having to stand on the back of the snow blower. My weight was needed [wife edits: at least it’s good for something] so we could negotiate the ice on the drive way. I imagined the neighbours, sweeping aside their curtains in the early morning, coffee mugs warming their palms, heat from the furnace blowing up the insides of their pajama bottoms, chuckling at the wife and husband team dancing on the trailer hitch to bounce the snow blower for just one more pass up the icy hill in the blizzard.
This last year, I didn’t write about our anniversary trip to Italy where we launched a horrendous argument navigating our way out of Florence to an Airbnb with a priceless view of the Mediterranean Sea. We drove a red Audi convertible with the top down, saturated in a golden autumnal light, the scent of rosemary and smoke in the air, and I let go a flood of tears I couldn’t dam. Sniffles and forty-five minutes later the Gearhead turned to me and quietly suggested I was making too much of a big deal about it.
“It’s not about the navigation!” I wailed, “It’s about the marriage!”
In my head I was leaving the Gearhead for good. That’s it, I thought, I’m moving out! I’m getting my own apartment, dividing up our furniture, the artwork, the kitchen gear, the books. To his credit, the Gearhead let this pronouncement settle into silence. Sniffles and a couple hours later I felt like I’d been cleansed, like I’d walked through some shimmering enlightenment arch and thought, hmm, actually I don’t really want to leave. I’ll stay.
This last year, I didn’t write about teaching. Teaching a second time. How I loved it. How intellectually challenged I was by the graduate students, all fifty-six of them. How terrifying to learn so many of them were so much smarter than I. How humble and rewarding that felt. How broken I became, pouring all of myself to the task so the only thing left, twisted my body into an anxiety that left me breathless. The resulting back injury confirmed I won’t be able to take it on again.
No, the true reason that I cannot write this blog anymore, and you may have noticed already, is that I no longer hear the Gearhead’s voice in my head. I am coming into my own.
One of the questions I was often asked about this blog was whether Danby actually wrote the “Gearhead edits” sections. He didn’t; I did. It was not a collaborative writing in that sense. Except it was, because his voice resonated within my being, so present was he in my mind. I did so with ease, as if it were the most natural part of myself. But my self is the cynical undercurrent, the humour, the flirtatious spirit between the lines. And many of you, dear readers, recognised that in me, it was what you connected to…even if I didn’t understand it myself. Until now. It’s this self I need to nurture.
I’ve been feeding this self these last years through creative writing projects outside the blog: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction. The “Gearhead edits”, for better or for worse, are fading. Have faded. I ‘ve made peace with the five years (more?) of blog writings.
I wish I could promise you better writing, more writing, lit with an inner fierceness and crackling humour, not to mention literary proficiency. I can’t. The process is so slow. It takes time. I want my voice to shine. Someday, I hope you read one of my sunbeam works and feel its warmth. There is no greater gift to a writer than to be read and truly understood.
Thank you for the time you have given reading me, and your patience to wait for something more, something different. Something uniquely my own.