I admit divorce isn’t funny, but there are funny things that can happen while you’re going through it. Or at least I found things I could make fun of to get me through it. And by things I mean me. Like how I was so proud of myself and my then-husband for consulting with therapists and divorced friends for advice about how to tell our son and help him cope. When the time came, it was the hardest conversation I’ve ever had, but I think our preparation helped make a horrible situation a little less horrible for him.
However, I soon realized that the time I had spent congratulating myself on handling it so well could have been better spent, say, learning the basics of home repair—previously the purview of my ex. About a week after he moved out, it hit home that I was on my own; my son shook me awake in the middle of the night to tell me his pillow was wet. I stumbled to his dark room, praying it was something I could fix—a waste of a prayer if there ever was one. The only chance was if his pillow contained sentence fragments or passive verbs. I flicked on the light and assessed the situation. His pillow was right under a window with an air conditioner that seemed to be leaking. Hmmm. I know precious little about the physical mechanics of an air conditioner when I’m alert, never mind when I’m sleep-fogged. But I remembered it probably had something to do with tilt—water needs to exit, and was currently doing so inside, on the pillow. I just needed to tilt the appliance so that the water would flow out the back of the air conditioner, drop down two stories, and harmlessly hit the ground below. Foggy brain directed sleepy hands:
Step one, open the window.
As I slid open the window about two inches, there was a short pause and everything in the universe skidded into Matrix-like slow motion. My awareness kicked in just in time to see the power cord rip away from the outlet and whip around like an angry snake. I managed to grab it, just like in the movies, but my victory was brief—the air conditioner effortlessly detached from the cord like Apollo 13 jettisoning its first-stage rocket boosters. It made a loud, adrenaline overdosing crash when it hit the ground. My son and I stared wide-eyed at each other in shocked silence. It took a minute more for my brain to catch up, and I finally, futilely exclaimed, “Holy shit, I just dropped the air conditioner!” Lucky for me, I lived in the kind of neighborhood where loud, random sounds were normal, so when I went outside in my pajamas to inspect the damage, no one peeked through their windows or came out to witness my stupidity. It hadn’t hit anything, so I pushed the pieces into a pile next to the house and went back inside. I promised my son we’d get another one the next day—if I couldn’t assure him I was handy, I could at least let him know I could replace things. As I passed through the kitchen on my way back to bed, the refrigerator rattled in a threatening way. I gave it a stern look, and its watery gurgle sounded like a snicker. At least it couldn’t fall out the window.
Image credit: strangecosmos.com