Today was one of those days where I felt like I had a job, even though I don’t.
The “storage tent” Arthur ordered – which is for me to put my extra stuff in – arrived. It’s a large object: a box of a kit that needs to be built. So it was at the Alaska Marine Lines freight office in town. That meant we had to take the trailer into town (though in retrospect I think if we’d really wanted, we could have put the box into the back of his SUV).
To take the trailer into town, we had to rearrange the trailers parked in the driveway – there’s a heavy-duty cargo trailer and a boat trailer. Arthur wanted to drive these trailers around, and my thinking was that he has a lot more experience driving trailers around than I do, on the steep driveway and one-lane dirt road, so I let him, just kind of watching and trying to be a spotter for when he should stop backing up.
Clearly Arthur was struggling with the 3D puzzle aspect of backing trailers into the odd angles of his driveway. I know that it’s not an easy thing – I don’t presume that I could have done much better. But for Arthur, who is accustomed to a sense of expertise and smooth competence with this type of thing, I think it was painful for him to confront the fact that he just wasn’t doing well. Over and over, he would back up, hit the bushes or the side of the road, missing his target, and have to pull up and try again. I mean – I’ve been there. Trailers are hard to back up. But he was getting frustrated and angry, as he does.
I couldn’t do anything but just let go and let him struggle. And worst was that, after we finally got the trailers where he wanted, and we were getting ready to drive into town for our weekly Thursday shopping and errand trip, well, Arthur noticed (and I did too) that he’d managed to place a huge dent in his front bumper while doing all his back-and-forth navigating the trailer. It was clearly a new wound to the vehicle, and noticeable.
Arthur was devastated. I think not just that he’d dented his SUV, but that he didn’t remember doing it. I could see him kind of deflate, and I recalled sitting with the SLP (Speech Pathologist) at the VA, a month and a half ago, and her saying, “Well, perhaps he’s just going to have to have his moments of failure, for his new limitations to hit home.” I think this was just such a moment.
I drove into town. At one point, in one of the parking lots, it became my moment to have to back up the trailer – because we were hauling around, to pick up the storage tent. Arthur started to try to tell me how to do it. As I said, I’m certainly no expert trailer-backer-upper, either. But then he just grumbled, “don’t listen to me, you saw what I did.” It was a moment where he showed his shame and embarrassment.
We got the tent. He left the trailer hooked up to the SUV in the driveway, perhaps thinking he’d want to tackle more backing up tomorrow. I’m not sure I’m up for it. But it’ll have to happen, I guess.
It was not that difficult a day from a task standpoint. It was emotionally rough, I guess you could say.
On a brighter note, I had made some 김치볶은밥 (kimchi fried rice) for lunch, and Arthur conceded it was “quite acceptable” – which is high praise, coming from him.
A cloud in the afternoon.
[daily log: walking, 2km]