He is referencing a story that my parents love to tell:
Shortly before I turned four years old, my parents took me into a shop where I saw a pair of child-sized clogs… and with the conviction of Napoleon building his empire, I knew that THESE WERE MY CLOGS. And when my parents tried to leave the store WITHOUT MY CLOGS, they couldn’t. It was impossible.
They have difficulty putting into words, how a four-year-old child could be uncontrollable between two full-sized adults… and knowing my parents, I’m sure they told themselves this was evidence of my tenacity of spirt; not an indication that they had raised Satan himself.
I refused to leave the store, and eventually my parents were forced to show me that actually, they HAD bought the clogs. They were a surprise for my birthday.
Immediately, Satan retreated and I skipped out of the store.
Then I was fine waiting for the clogs… I would ask— how many days until my clogs? But I was ok, because I knew THEY WERE MINE. Then, once I got the clogs I wore them all of the time, even while sleeping.
I tell you this story to explain that I have an incredibly high capacity for liking something… long past anyone else’s tolerance or understanding.
When I like something, I LIKE IT. And I do not need to like anything else. And there is no chance that I will forget about the liking. And there is no chance I will move on from the liking.
Rather, I will devote all of my time and energy to liking it, EVEN WHILE I AM ASLEEP.
I first showed Paul this bookcase four months ago. He actually laughed out loud.
Then he looked at me seriously and tapped my forehead, three-inches above my eyebrow.
He said – this is where the horns come out.
Then he walked away.
I decided this was his endorsement; because if you know about my plan and you do not crush it wholeheartedly and with all of your force, and then present to me the carcass of my dreams, you must be in agreement.
With that cleared up, I was able to move forward.
I have done nothing but think, talk, and plan compulsively, for getting this bookcase.
For months, Paul has listened to me speak of nothing else.
My interest has not dulled or waned.
Rather, it has intensified.
As promised, I have sold all of our belongings… a simple trade: everything we own, in exchange for one single item of magnificence.
The problem with this particular magnificence was that it was several states away… I said this bookcase was in Arkansas (this was my decoy)… but it wasn’t.
I am sorry that I lied to you, but I was afraid that someone would go and buy what is rightfully mine.
This is one of the things I learned while working at the CIA: obfuscation.
My bookcase was in Cleveland.
Out of all the 900 possible issues, the biggest challenge was this: the inability to know FOR SURE if the bookcase came apart.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you will remember that every single one of these massive pieces of furniture dismantled down to nearly nothing and fit in the back of a minivan:
1. the portal to Narnia.
2. the Victorian bookcase.
3. the Empire cabinet.
On the other hand, it was equally possible that it wouldn’t come apart… in which case, we are moving a monstrous, solid piece of furniture that is nearly 150 years old and has three original glass doors.
Which is exactly what happened.
Now that it’s all over, I can admit this:
I assumed something would go horribly wrong, and I kept this certainty to myself.
Because I wouldn’t be there.
So it wouldn’t be my problem.
Last weekend, Paul drove to Cleveland. With my father. Without me. To load a truck with a 9’ tall, 6’ wide bookcase that I had only seen pictures of. While I stayed home, read up on Gilded Age mansion history, and brushed Elvis.
1. Paul and my dad drive from Philadelphia directly to see bookcase.
2. determine if it comes apart = dictates size of truck Paul rents.
3. go to truck rental and reserve a truck for the following morning.
4. spend the evening with my cousin who lives in Cleveland.
5. pick up the truck first thing in the morning.
6. load the bookcase.
7. Paul drives truck home, Dad continues his trip to Indiana.
8. Paul is exempt from any wrongdoing for the rest of his existence.
9. my life is complete, I can stop looking on Craigslist, shut down my blog, and live a life of quiet solitude with my things.
I’ll end this post by acknowledging that I know what you are thinking:
HOW DID PAUL GET SO LUCKY IN LIFE?
No? That’s not what you are thinking?
I too was confused… so I asked him – WHY would you do this for me?
And he said – is it not a reasonable explanation that I love you and I want you to be happy?
Which sounds nice, doesn’t it? Except – no, I am really not that lovable.
If I evaluate myself honestly, I have very few redeeming qualities; most of which aren’t remotely valuable to anyone else and involve an appreciation for absurdly flamboyant and unnecessary situations… with extra points if costumes are involved.
So I don’t have a good answer, and I know I will get some comments in the vein of: Paul is a saint… and I’d like to point out that the logical progression to that suggestion is that I am his path to canonization.