If the last decade has taught me anything, it’s that I can do everything myself. If the last month has taught me anything, it’s that this isn’t always the best approach.
Like most bad jokes, it all comes down to a lightbulb. I boast about my apartment’s high tin ceilings, but they make it difficult to change the bulbs in my overhead lights. For years I lured tall, handy men into doing my dirty work, all puns intended. Then I had Mr. Oyster, and for a brief moment thought I’d solved all my problems. In the long aftermath of that relationship, I started hiring Taskrabbits, but even the noncreeps proved too forward. Men really do love damsels in distress, or at least preying on them.
Tomato, tomawto! sings my inner cynic.
A few years ago I bought a ladder and started changing the bulbs myself. It’s amazing how much a lady armed with a ladder, a drill, and a reliable vibrator can accomplish on her own. The problem is that I’m as klutzy as a 90s rom-com heroine and my ceiling lights are all one-of-a-kind, fragile glass numbers that are difficult to unscrew and reassemble. It usually takes fifteen minutes of cussing, crying, and sweating to get the job done.
This is especially problematic because I break lightbulbs through the sheer voltage of my bad energy, and lately my energy has been pretty bad. Losing two jobs in the span of a few weeks will do that to a bruja, and this recent glut of retrogrades hasn’t been helping. Earlier this morning, my bedside table lamp popped when I went to turn it on. I swore, and popped the overhead light as well. Trudging into my office, I popped the last bulb in that room’s overhead light.
I wish I were making this shit up.
While steeling myself for The Ladder, I heard the building contractors howling like roosters with a penchant for reggaeton. Maybe it’s because I felt they owed me—they did paint my gorgeous door window a fecal brown, after all—but I did something I haven’t done for a very long time. I asked for help.
“No worries, mami,” said Tomás with a minimum of eyebrow-waggling. (He has a very dry sense of humor.) In two minutes flat all my bulbs were changed and he was back out the door.
After he left, I lay on my floor and thought. What other tasks have I been unnecessarily soldiering? It’s a good question to tackle if I’m ever going to escape the hallway in which I’ve been malingering for the last three weeks.* Really, it’s the biggest question.
Just like that, another lightbulb popped.
*When one door closes, another one opens. But it sucks in the hallway! (Everything is a bad joke, apparently.)