I guess every man wants to be perceived as a real one. In that vein, it embarrasses me to tell you that I own a duvet. But look, y’all, I only bought the damned thing to hide the burn marks from too much dryer time on my all-time favorite comforter. And to hold inside a covering of some sort the exposed comforter cushioning the burned out fabric tried to help escape.
Look, my life isn’t easy. I have overcome the major stuff. Well, for the time being, anyway. But it’s the minutia. The small and stupid stuff. It’s the steady and consistent reappearance of such that is creeping me out.
Now, I get it. I know that we each can control our own destiny. Even in minor ways. A few years ago, in Hillsborough, North Carolina, I stopped at my favorite hot dog stand before going for gas just two stores up the street. By my calculations, I had a solid ten miles left in that tank. And, damn it, I was hungry! Well, the line at the Dog House drive-through was a little longer than usual. But, hell. I had TEN miles in the tank. After I got my two dogs with mustard, chili, slaw and onions, I pulled my car forward to leave the place. Just as I pulled away, the damned ’93 New Yorker sputtered and spit and just stopped running. So, instead of filling my car with a regular petroleum product before lunch, I chose to fill my stomach with premium Dog House gas.
But much of the crap that invades my relatively well intentioned life these days is beyond anticipation. Fifty percent of the time that I wash dishes, the first action I take causes sudsy and soapy and disgustingly nasty water to be squirted and directed toward the crotch of the pants I just washed and dried and wore. There are maybe four different routes I can use to make the 30-minute or so drive to work every day. Sixty percent of the time, I choose the route that makes my trip last an hour. And that’s even after listening to traffic reports – all of them – on local Charlotte radio stations. And let’s face it. For decades – I mean DECADES – I always end up in the grocery store check out line that has problems of some sort.
Here’s some honesty for you. Embarrassing honesty, but truth nonetheless. A few months ago, somehow and in some unexplainable way, my person was invaded with body lice. The only way out of all of that was to, after coming home from working the long and hard eight hours each day, shower, vacuum the floor, mattress and all upholstered furniture, and wash the clothing I wore and the bedding in which I slept each night. I did that every night for weeks.
At the time, the weather was warm enough that I didn’t need inside the duvet the burned and frayed quilt I love so much. But I needed the duvet. And I washed it every night after showering with RID or Nix.
That period of time was brutal. I was so damned tired. But I stuck with the plan.
Many nights after washing clothing and bedding, the clothing, sheets and pillow cases would end up inside the twisted duvet in the washer. It was frustrating at first. Unraveling the duvet and retrieving the rest of the wet wash was very difficult.
Finally, I discovered the way to change the frustrating evenings of duvet washing. It took this idiot a while to figure out that other clothing and such in the washer would have less of a chance to invade the inside of the duvet if I just buttoned all of the buttons on the comforter cover before doing a wash. And it worked. A couple of times.
Then it happened. On one particularly hard and tiresome night, most of my wash ended up inside the duvet again. They found their way there through one small gap between buttons. And the damned thing was so twisted at a time when I had never been more exhausted from work, showering and vacuuming. I just could not manage the unraveling of all of that. It was an impossible thing to do at the time.
I lost it. I cried some. I looked to heaven and screamed, “God, what are you doing to me?”
That was the first time in decades or maybe ever that I doubted Him.
A couple of weeks later, I was telling my son the story of the duvet and of my doubts of God. At the time I told him, we were driving from Charlotte to Burlington, North Carolina for the funeral of my dearest aunt. I had just said to him, “I doubted God,” when we were rear-ended less than a mile from my home and just a half-block from the interstate.
No one was hurt. The damage to my son’s car was sort of minimal. And we made the funeral.
A few days after the funeral, my son asked me,”Do you remember what you were saying to me right before the accident?”
I did not remember.
He said, “You were telling me about doubting God.”
Suddenly, being a man who owns a duvet became nothing but Godly.