Once upon a time, long ago, in the Winter, when I was living at my parents’ house in the snowy Upper Peninsula of Michigan, my job was to make sure the driveway was cleared of snow so people could drive out. It was a fairly long driveway, especially by city standards.
This meant waking at 5 a.m., eating a bowl of instand oatmeal, putting on my snowsuit, mask, gloves, and boots and walking outside to start up the 13.5 horsepower snowblower.
It was usually very cold and windy, as we lived on relatively high ground. And, it seems like it was usually snowing too. Sometimes so much that I had to make two passes with the snowblower to clear the driveway, as the snow was sometimes taller than the snowblower, and the top snow would just collapse after the first pass.
Sometimes, when it was very cold, I would pull on the rip cord for the snowblower, and it just wouldn’t start. No matter how fast or how many times I pulled, the engine just wouldn’t start. Nothing I could do would matter. I could push the primer or fiddle with the choke. It was just too cold.
And then, by the time I had pulled all I could, the engine would be flooded with gasoline and so wouldn’t start for that reason.
It was so frustrating, and I would get so angry. I was so cold, the air cutting right through my layers. My nostrils would be iced from my breath. My mask was crusted around my mouth. My right hand felt stuck, the fingers frozen in grasp on the rip cord handle.
I swore at the top of my lungs in frustration. I punched the wall of the garage. I shook my head and took deep, cold breaths through my ice-crusted mask. It was futile. Futile. My efforts were all wasted.
My marriage is like that.
Tonight I sleep in a recliner in my office in the basement. Tomorrow I hope to receive a call back from a nearby apartment complex. I’m looking for a cheap place with a kitchenette and bathroom and flexible lease terms. If you have a room to rent, let me know, pronto. Cell: 331-0872. I’m nice. Really.
Once I had accepted the fact that the snowblower wouldn’t start, I picked a shovel off the wall of the garage and shoveled until the driveway was clear.
The only problem is that this marriage is so much more than a driveway.
I’m afraid that this is the beginning of the end.