A sad thing has happened: my friend Dan has become a homeowner, a husband and a dad. It’s sad because he’s finding it all really hard. “I love them,” he tells me. “But I’m not loving it.” He means life. He’s not loving life. More specifically, the responsibility and the sacrifice of freedom. In fact he’s trying to escape the more difficult elements, like millions of men who have gone before him. I visited one weekend to help him build a wall in his garden. There was tension in the house between Dan and his wife, who is never happy with his performance and is always questioning how he does things. They were bickering and it was verging on nasty.
One morning we were having breakfast and Dan’s wife was quietly attacking him for not yet having bought all the materials for the wall. “I’ll just have to go to Homebase again later for the extra bricks,” he said. “You should have had it all ready so you could just build it all today,” she said, pushing food into the baby’s mouth. Dan scooped up the last of his eggs and stood up, mumbling something under his breath as he ditched his plate in the sink. “Don’t call me an idiot,” she said. The toddler ran around bashing a plastic spoon against the cupboards. Dan pulled on his shoes and walked out to face the job. I followed awkwardly to help. Continue reading