An Illuminating Experience

Recently, my wife and I enjoyed a “date day.” Couples with decades under their belts know date days well; you are too lazy for date nights, so you do errands together and call it a date. On this date day, we were browsing for light fixtures.

We were at Lowe’s, craning our necks to look at lighting candidates for our dining room, which we dine in about once a year. It is a pretty space, newly painted and screaming for a light fixture in the “farmhouse style” touted by HGTV stars who also preach something called “shiplap.”

Hanging amid a thicket of glass and bulb displays, one fixture catches our eyes, but Amy wonders if it is hung by chains or immovable steel rods. In other words, will it swing when touched or stay stationary?

I tell her it is hung by chains that are covered to look like rods. It is, without question, the first time in our 29-year-old marriage I know I am correct.

“I wish we could push it,” she says, “to see if it moves.”

“No,” I say. “Let’s just ask someone. I’m not going to poke at a delicate light …”

I look back to find her gone. “Amy?” I call out.

She emerges with–I am not making this up–a large garden hoe. As in a long wooden stick with a big ole steel plate at the end.

As God as my witness, she planned to raise this “farmhouse style” hoe above her head and nudge the light fixture (adorned with light bulbs and placed delicately amid other fragile light fixtures) to see if it was attached by steel rods.

I watch her approach this overhead sea of glass and breakables, holding a hoe. And just as I am about to bellow, “What the hell are you doing?” I see the Lowe’s clerk.

We were not arrested. We were not kicked out of the store. Fact is, we ended up buying the light fixture–which, I gleefully tell you, was hung by chains, not steel rods.

Amy maintains the instrument she planned to jab at the light fixture was not a hoe. Rather, it was a random piece of employee equipment used to reach things in high places. Thus, she was breaking other rules.

Here’s the point: My sweet Amy is, typically, a rule follower. She was raised a Southern Baptist with manners and values. When someone asks, “How are you?” she responds, “I’m wonderful,” even if her hair is on fire.

With solid Yankee roots, I answer “How are you?” with “How much time you got?”

Thus, I usually would be the one coming at delicate glass with a steel stick.

In the end, I am proud of sweet Amy. She pulled a “Schlenker,” which was fueled by 29 years of being on the wrong side of good judgment.

More important: I was right. We have a lovely light fixture in our dining room that–say it with me–hangs from chains and not steel rods.

Posted in Insider, Uncategorized

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