We’ve had a dry spell and the pots of flowers in the patio were drooping. I had a few minutes between zoom calls and went out to water them. The garden hose was not neatly coiled (no one’s fault but my own), but in a heap on the flagstones. I turned on the faucet and grabbed the nozzle and pulled it to reach the thirsty plants. It tightened into a tangle. Water was spurting everywhere, and I just kept pulling and yanking at the mass, angry at the reality and unwilling to do anything constructive about it. Just before I screamed a profanity, a story my mother used to tell flashed into my mind.
I was 2 years old and had a little tricycle that I loved. It had three wheels, but no pedals. I sat on the seat and moved by walking my feet, rolling through the house, in and out of rooms, cruising on the wood floor. I can almost hear the sound of my feet shuffling along, the wheels turning. I can almost feel the pride and satisfaction of being independent and mobile. What a big girl I was! And then, as my mother told many times, I would go through a doorway, maybe from the hall into a bedroom, and the back wheel would catch on the door jamb. I cut the corner too close. But instead of backing up, which I knew how to do, and giving a wider berth to the door jamb, I kept pushing and pushing, banging into the obstruction, as if I could make it move by my sheer anger and stubbornness. Finally, I would scream in a rage and she would come and rescue me.