Meanwhile, as I was cheerfully accessorizing, there was plenty about Man World that I’d never understand, either. Why, for starters, were machines so fascinating? Give a man—well, pretty much anything with a gas tank, and he’d be entertained for hours. What was that about?
While I was making statements with scarves and shoes, Mr. Schrock was finding solace in chain saws and mowers. Was it the fumes? The noise? The roar that made the ground tremble? What?
He’d had all kinds of fun last year, choosing a mower. For days, he’d researched and read. Made phone calls, asked questions. Visited dealerships, kicked tires before pulling the trigger. When he’d come home with a bright orange Bad Boy mower, his grin had been blinding. And it didn’t stop. Every time he came in from a trip around the yard, I’d surreptitiously check his teeth, looking for bugs in that kilowatt smile.
Then there was fire. What on earth was up with that? Men, I’d found, loved it. Loved building a campfire and stirring around. Loved throwing in boxes to make it blaze high. They loved poking around and adding on logs. That’s what I’d learned about men.
Was it a remnant of the Stone Age? Was there a little bit of caveman inside every boy? Maybe it was a primitive instinct, a thrill at the ability to create light and heat with the stroke of a match. Whatever it was, those guys could spend hours out back at the burn pit, happy as prehistoric clams with their lighters.
The other male component I’d never gotten was the allure of boomers. Put some fire with a cracker, and there they went. Suddenly, every man was a kid again, full of adolescent glee. The louder the explosion, the more they guffawed, slapped knees and pounded backs. They’d use pumpkins and buckets, roaring with laughter and high-fiving each other.
“Look at the height we got that time,” they’d chuckle, thumping their chests and snapping pictures with their cell phones. This, of course, as the women sat around the fire, lip reading over the kabooms and comparing summer flip-flops and sandals.
Nope. We don’t understand each other. But we get along just fine, I with my SBCs (Spunky Black Clogs) with a little dash of sass, and him with his sturdy brown wallet and drawer full of bottle rockets.