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Apr. 8 2010 - 9:18 pm | 41 views | 0 recommendations | 6 comments

The Guys I Rely On — And Yours?

The barber

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Sort of a board of directors, but better. I met two young men today, my two new physical therapists. It’s a little weird having a handsome young man twisting you like a Gumby doll, sort of pleasant. But, hey, medically required.

There’s Tony, the massage therapist; Alex, the hairdresser; Mike, the shoe repairman; Jose, the drycleaning guy; Hassan, who runs the gourmet store; Gregg, who owns the hardware store; Aqueel, the local pharmacist who sat me down to actually explain the effects of various medications, John, the X-ray tech at my doctor’s who’s always got a smile, a bunch of orthopedic surgeons dealing with my latest tear, sprain or fracture and Bill, my irascible mechanic of 15+ years.

If it were not for their skill, good humor, warmth and concern, the world would be a much colder place. I can barter with Tony, know I can rely on Alex to give me a haircut that gives me enough confidence to appear on TV, try some amazing new cheese that Hassan will slice off and offer, as he does to all his customers, with a gentle smile. One of my doctors, an avid shooter, keeps giving people copies of my book and another loves art as much as I do. I value the humanity behind our commercial or medical transactions.

I grew up an only child with my Dad gone a lot traveling on business and was living on my own at 19. Taught to be independent, expected to fend for myself and figure most things out without coaching or instruction, I really appreciate these smart, competent men and the way they generously and good-naturedly help me navigate my challenges, whether getting my arthritic hip into good enough shape to hit the softball diamond this summer or making sure the battered old Subaru keeps running smoothly.

I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Is there a team of guys (or women) like this in your life? Whose skills do you rely on beyond yourself or your immediate family?


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  1. collapse expand

    Beautiful post. Suddenly reminds me of the otherwise unacknowledged people who keep me happy that I can read or work without much tension.
    It is James, a history teacher, who takes my motorbike to the river and cleans it. He then knots a sacred Buddhist scarf around the handle as protection from perilous Himalayan curves.

    Anand, an earthmover operator who lives in the town bordering India and Bhutan is my connection between the two countries. A street-smart guy, who finds the best Chinese fake phone from a thousand duplicates.

    Toby, the administrative officer of the paper where I work, who always has a kerosene ration coupon to heat my house, when I run out of coupons.

    There are more people in the list, and you have inspired a beautiful thought.

  2. collapse expand

    Aby, thanks. I love your guys! They add such kindness and strength to your life — as mine do to mine. I feel like we all have such people, but I wonder if they know how much they matter to us.

  3. collapse expand

    What a cool article. My dry cleaner (an 80 year old) sent me a prayer card when I had my knee scoped 2 months ago. I love that man.

  4. collapse expand

    leon, thanks. I like your dry cleaner! How’s your knee doing? I’ve had both done.

  5. collapse expand

    Depending on your age and how much PT you are doing (?) you should also be fine. My first recovery was very slow and painful (100% now) and my second a total breeze with nary an aspirin post-surgery.

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    Former reporter and feature writer for the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and the New York Daily News. Winner of a Canadian National Magazine Award (humor) about -- what else -- my divorce. I've been writing frequently for The New York Times since 1990 on almost any subject you can think of -- yup, I'm a generalist. Author of "Blown Away: American Women and Guns" (Pocket Books 2004). Canadian born, raised and formally educated, I've lived in New York since 1989.

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