Thursday, February 14, 2008

Vocal Re-Wiring

Two years ago when I lived downstairs I spent a summer without light in the kitchen. The bulb had blown; I had changed it; there still wasn't any light. I was busy that summer -- camping, serving at the pub, playing ball -- so I wasn't home enough to really worry about it. There came a point, as there always does, that it had to be fixed. I called my pal, an electrician, to have a look at what the deal was with my kitchen lighting fixtures. He showed me, alright: the insulation around the wires themselves was so old it was crumbling and flaking; the switch inside the panel was porcelain, and I'm pretty sure he said such things hadn't been used since the 1950's.

I called Luke. I said something about 'fire hazard' and the work was done amazingly quickly.

Fast forward to February 2008. I had called Luke about my uplifting toilet, and also brought the lighting fixture in the dining room to his attention. You see, two of the four light bulbs had burnt out, and when I unscrewed said bulbs there was a little 'pop' and the sockets smoked. He changed the light bulbs for me; gracious, I know, since I've traditionally been incapable of such domestic tasks (read sarcasm, please). And I was told, basically, not to worry too much about it.

Last night I got home around 11:30 pm, and my friend noticed that one of the bulbs in my dining room was out (one of the original four). He got on a chair to unscrew it (maybe I should start employing official home-bulb-changers...) and as I was telling him about the 'pops' the socket 'popped' and all the lights went out in the kitchen, dining room and living room. I lost it. (Although, it seems, my 'losing it' is very restrained and polite and articulate.)

I called Luke. Probably not a nice thing to do at 11:30ish on a Wednesday night, but I was angry. And I wonder: are my initial concerns about averting potential disaster (like, oh, an electrical fire, say) not taken seriously because I'm a woman? (I had this thought, actually, while Luke was telling me that it was the toilet seat, not the toilet, that was broken. See post below.) I'm no expert, but aren't all of the above problems not normal? Does it matter what gender I am when expressing concern? 'Concern' seems too mild a word. And here's the thing: if I speak in my 'normal,' undeniably feminine voice then I am not taken seriously. As I had written earlier, it is necessary that I lower this voice. I think I've found one element of adulthood: expressing righteous anger in a righteous voice.

It's all in the voice. A couple of days ago, I was speaking with one of my profs who was telling me about her dealings with internet/phone providers. As she put it, she "pulled her doctor card" out and lost it on them, in what I imagine as her 'normal,' (though angered) woman's voice. I realized that I don't have that card yet to play and so must rely on this deeper, more serious voice to get things done. I rather like this deeper voice of mine, although using it begs the question: do we women need 'a card' to play to get shit done? Domestic shit doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is: one of the things I have dreamt of and worked hard for is this sanctuary, this special place where I can be myself, by myself, from which to share myself with the world. (This is hard work, and fodder for another blog.) And, not being an expert, I rely on those who are to fix things -- don't we all? Isn't that the point of different people training to do different things? Anyway, I just wonder when or if, really, 'a card' is necessary for stressing one's righteous anger as a woman to facilitate action, regardless of the issue that needs to be addressed.

Righteous voice, righteous anger. Light.

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