168. My Enemies List

At Mass yesterday, our pastor did his homily on the verses from Matthew 5:43-48 about “loving our enemies”.  And I will, as soon as I can identify them.

Walking home from church, I thought about what Father had preached about having patience and tolerance for all those mean guys.  Somehow, I decided, I have to come up with an Enemies List.

As a rule, little old ladies don’t have a real long list of enemies.  It’s one of those oddities of life.  Policemen, people on the bus, even surly teenagers tend to be nice to us. So are other little old ladies, except they’re way more picky about it.

There might be three reasons for this phenomenon:

1.  When a woman who was once considered full of beans becomes a little old lady, her advancing age somehow endows her with increased wisdom and valuable insights.  I recently put a sign announcing this on my refrigerator door and, once the snickering subsides, I will await the homage to which I am due.

2. People are nice to little old ladies because they’re expected to kick the bucket anytime soon.  This would be advantageous for those waiting for a seat on the bus or for free access to the hidden Macademia Nut Clusters in the pantry (unless, just in time, I eat them up first).

3. And finally, one reason many people curry favor with little old ladies is because they want to avoid getting poked in the ribs with an umbrella.  I don’t own an umbrella myself, but I have some handy knitting needles.

I thought and thought about it.  It’s no use going to church if you don’t pay attention to what’s getting kicked around there.  How will my enemies know I’m loving them, if I haven’t made their acquaintance?  But where are they and what are their names so I can let them know about it?

Then I had a flash of that wisdom to which I am newly endowed.  Father didn’t say anything about whether the enemies have to be human.  While I don’t know many humanoids who hate me, I know a lot of droids that do.

Among the objects that I can count as enemies are over-sensitive smoke alarms, any automobile that runs, high heels, Quickbooks, wine bottle openers, cats, warranty end dates, jury notices, IRS forms, and all flavors of Windows operating systems. Boy, are they going to be surprised.

For an enemy to practice on today, I chose to heap love on my kitchen faucet.  For the past three months, it has tried to send me to the funny farm by dripping, dripping, dripping.  “Instead of hatred”, I said to myself, “I shall sow love.  I shall respond to the faucet’s uncaring assault on my nerves with patience and tolerance and, perhaps, a new washer.”

First I would get organized.  I went to the internet and googled “how to change a washer in a kitchen faucet”.  More than 10 pages of references and videos came up.  The one from “doityourself.com” sounded right down my alley so I selected it.  Up came a video tutorial and a nine page PDF document of instructions.  I was intimidated upon reading the list of the tools I would need:

Tools and Materials:

  • Smooth-jaw adjustable wrench
  • Screwdrivers, standard and Phillips
  • Pliers
  • Faucet washers
  • Brass screws
  • Stem
  • Silicone grease or petroleum jelly
  • Seat dressing tool or Seat & Seat wrench
  • Silicone rubber sealant or pipe compound
  • Socket wrench
  • Packing
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Hand cleaner

I don’t exactly carry them around in my purse but I know what all but five of those items are. Those five have now been added to my Enemies List.

If you have 30 minutes or so – or a degree in plumbing – you might want to read the full instructions at  http://www.doityourself.com/stry/leakywasherfaucet#ixzz1EXigb4xA

I would tell you how helpful all that research was, but I don’t like to lie. Nevertheless, you’ll be pleased to learn that this story has a happy ending.  Love will find a way. Not mine though,  – the faucet’s.

Frustrated with all my new-found but useless knowledge about pipes and wrenches, I got a pliers and a hammer and went at it. I was trying to dislodge something at the end of the faucet that looked like it could be unscrewed.  But it couldn’t.  It must be a permanent part of the sink. When it wouldn’t let loose, I pounded it a few times and suddenly, the faucet stopped dripping.  Disbelieving, I turned it on and off a few times, and each time, – no drips.

Awestruck, I considered my former-enemy-and-now-my-new-best-friend.  One of two things must have happened.  Either my forceful personality scared the faucet into submission, or it decided to extend love to its enemy – me, the dame with the hammer.

Or else, maybe it’s just that even a faucet wants to be nice to little old ladies.

(All jesting aside, with apologies to St. Matthew for messing around with his true meaning, here’s what he wrote.  We need to listen up.  If everybody did, it might bring the world what it has always lacked — peace on earth!)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48

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2 Responses to 168. My Enemies List

  1. Linda Lewis says:

    And remember when flying to not pack those knitting needles in your carry on.

    Nice tribute to all the flowers peeking up through the soil these cold days. I love ’em.

  2. Colleen says:

    You certainly don’t have any human enemies, I’m absolutely sure. I have seen you get pretty heated over the inanimate objects you listed, but you forgot about the weeds that pop up in the garden!

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