My hair dryer is a fire hazard. I find the smallest tool; try to clean out the lint. There is no cleaning out the lint. The small things weave into me, how if I can edge out the small dust particles until the holes are clear, this hand-held miracle will be restored to full power. But we are done. I am scanning for new dryers and texting my friend who I grew up with and she is telling me the one to buy. And I am clicking buy.
Life moves relentlessly forward while we recount what does not last: dryers, dogs, a bother-in-law, a grandma, a friend, an uncle. How one minute they were here with their idiosyncrasies and then their breath slowed and fought to linger on but didn’t win. And it’s silly and stupid to talk about the hair dryer in the same line as my friend or my dog. I won’t miss the hair dryer. I’ll love the power of the new one. But shouldn’t we take a moment and applaud how I learned to slow down enough to love blow drying my youngest daughter’s hair?
Can’t we talk about the smallest tools and how they add to our days? How the vacuum cleaner gave me respite on Friday as I cleaned up the remnants of my old dog’s life? How the now-clean blanket he laid upon sits folded next to his dog bed, how it gives me pleasures to see these tools he will no longer use? How this year we retired the handmade cutting board my brother-in-law made for us? That we tossed the handmade bed frame he made for us, how it made a small thud as it joined the pile of dead trees at the recycling plant. How long it took to take the bed frame out of storage and add it to the SUV for the dump run?
We are never out of tales and they live inside our breath until we take the very last breath. My new hair dryer is being put in a box somewhere and it will soon sit in my hand as I dry my 13-year-old’s hair. I will love it for its efficiency but more so for the way it makes me notice these moments that won’t come around to greet me again. It takes 5 minutes to dry her hair. I dry it well enough.