Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")
Monday, August 10, 2009
C: Tractoring and Poker Tells.
My brother-in-law taught me a new term yesterday: “Tell.” Apparently, in playing poker any body language that tends to give away is called a “tell.” Google provided list upon list of them: eyes shifting quickly toward the chips can signal that a player is nervous about the strength of his hand; acting nonchalant (“Oh, is it my turn?”) can indicate that a player’s hand is strong. These are involuntary.
Oddly enough, the whole conversation that introduced me to “tells” had to do with my tractor and my lying husband. Only this time, it was the kind of lying that one hears referred to as B**LLS**T. (Cleaned up to maintain my PG-13 rating).
I was telling my BIL about hubby’s reaction to my tractor woes. A friend had borrowed it a couple weeks ago but returned it promptly, saying it just was not powerful at all and he was worried about using it. Great! A few days later I got on it and it was fine, then I had to baby it along, and, finally, it just quit in the middle of the pasture. When I sent my son out about twenty minutes later, it started right back up. What??!!
I let the subject of tractor repair ruminate in the back of my mind while I went on with life the next couple of weeks. I have no way to take one to the shop—are there “house call” tractor mechanics? So, I tackled the problem by avoidance of the issue plus prayer.
Shortly after this, my husband came out to get his tools. While he was here (with one of his guy friends to help), I thought I’d take a shot at shortcutting the tractor repair problem. After all, we were being cordial enough, and he knows the tractor, maybe there is just some idiosyncrasy…I explained the problem.
Then he did an odd thing. It is what I now know is a sure-fire “tell” for BS: He straightened up, kind of pulled his britches up a little by the sides, and did a little fake spit to the right. “Well, I’ll tell you, C, it sounds like you might be havin’ some transmission problems. Too bad…”
Transmission problems??? Well the dying in the middle of the pasture did not seem like transmission problems to me, but who knows?
As he was leaving, he did another weird thing. “I see you had some electrical outlets installed in the work shed. Did DK (electrician down the road) do it for you? How much did he charge?”
It was none of his business, but I told him, anyway, which resulted in this condescension: “Hmmmph! I thought so…he’ll get to ya alright…” (Translation: “You idiot, you got took.")
DK did NOT get to me. I had called several before thinking of him and he was far and away the most reasonable. I know my husband knew this price was good, why was he doing this? (Revelation comes later….)
So, fast forward to last weekend. I got the tractor out, hoping that my prayers-and-avoidance treatment had cured all ills. And, remarkably, it cranked right up and I bushhogged right along for an hour. Then, the weakness began again. I babied it a while and then it started to hiss. I just don’t think that is ever a good sign. And there was a little fluid leaking. Yikes! This is not my tractor pictured, but it sure what was pictured in my mind (can you see the spewing out of water in this picture?):
I left it sitting in my mother-in-law's front yard and walked dejectedly down the driveway wondering again about house-call mechanics.
Halfway home I was intercepted by my neighbor who asked what was the problem. I told him and we walked back to the tractor together. His response: “I don’t know what’s wrong, but let’s check the most obvious. This hissing and fluid is from yourtractor overheating.” He showed me where the air filter is. We removed it and turned out chunks of dirt. I mean, that thing was filled completely up! “Your little tractor was just gasping for oxygen, he said!”
And, as an aside here, this man did not treat me with condescension like my husband did on this subject. Rather, he seemed to think that he might know a little more about tractors than I but that I probably knew things he didn’t as well, like, say, how to do a writ of habeus corpus and such. No down talking here, just respectful exchange of info.
This weekend, the tractor performed like a champ—being able to breathe and all. But, now, back to that “tell” thing. First lesson I learned here: When a guy does that fake spit to the side thing, accompanied by hitching up his britches, he is more ‘n’ likely about to BS you. Truth is, my husband did not have the faintest idea what was wrong with the tractor but rather than say that, he gave an answer and it was one that was designed to demoralize me.
And the remark about the electrical work was also designed to demoralize me. It was gratuitous and stupid. In the end, he had to know I actually knew what the job should cost. Why would he take the chance that this could actually make him look childish to me? Which it did. Sort of like a kid saying, “Well, I can do that better than you!!” Whether it's true or not. Again, I pondered, and it came to me: It’s a “Tell!” I think he is halfway afraid I am going to succeed without his sorry butt and—horrors!—I might actually manage better than he does.
How funny; he ain’t wrong…he can just hide and watch!
Mid-sized city, Somewhere in the South!, United States
We are "C" and "V," two baby-boomers who have been through thick and thin--50+ years of best-friend togetherness.
C is a divorce attorney, separated from her husband of 40(!) years--at age 59 he ran off with a thirty-year-old-never-married-mother-of-two and has now fathered another--and we're not even divorced! A very hard time for C.
C has one grown son--no daughter-in-law or grandchildren yet! (Drat!)
V works in a community based instruction program in a public school, helping special-needs students learn life skills. Mother of three, grandmother of five!
For 50+ years we've laughed together, cried together, and we've learned a lot! We love, love, love writing and want to share with you! Please come share, too!
Check out our posts under the label "Stickhorses" for more, but suffice it to say that these cowgirls started their lives together riding stick horses. Stick horses have come to symbolize the power of dreams and imagination for C and V--besides, we love cowgirl spirit!
You and the mother of the man who done you wrong are going to raise chickens together? I love it. I hope you become international stars in the chicken-raising world, and when you (and his mother and your chickens) are famous, I hope he comes crawling back, pleading with you to take back his poor miserable, not-famous self. You go, girl!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! On to International Chicken Stardom!! C
YET ANOTHER STUPENDOUS COMMENT!
SimplyJoolz (see our blogroll for link) said these kind words about the travails of C:
I love this story -its like a well written novel. I can't wait until the part where C kicks the useless husband between his hanky and his small change pocket! Lol!
It's coming, Joolz! C
PS - thank you all for your comments. They so give me a lift--often just when I need it!
C's SINGLE AGAIN POWER
Below is a list of things I'm learning to do--wish I'd started years earlier! It feels so good to list my "Power Accomplishments" for you, and I'd love to hear about yours!
Replacing the back fireplace refractory panel. Who knew?
Jacking up the front porch with my new, red, hydraulic jack!!
Learning to shoot and getting my Conceal-and-Carry license! (Power rush!!)
Purchasing tires...all by myself!
Buying and installing (!) the lawn tractor battery! Again, not rocket science...
Putting a new end on a ruined looooong extension cord. One prong was missing, and we replaced the plug-in. (Who knew you could do this??) I feel so, well, powerful!
Cleaning Tractor Air Filter
Dealing with fire ants--boy, are those suckers tuff!
Gettin' that utility pole installed.
Ordering gravel (SB 2!)
Replacing hydraulic hoses
Learning about the lawn mower (engine stabilizer!).