He walked in looking for the cigar bar that used to occupy the space where I sat just inside the door, right at the window, making my quilting stitches. He seemed confused. He asked Carrie, who manages lf8, where it had gone. She did her best to direct him toward the new locale for the stenchy establishment, and as he turned to walk out he took a quick look around the shop and at us and said, “so what is this now, woman’s work?”
Carrie and I both laughed and said yes, we supposed it was.
Woman’s work. Work for a woman.
I don’t know about y’all, but I work pretty hard and spend very little time being pampered or sitting on my tuffet eating truffles. And the same goes for every woman I know. I’ve got a four-year-old son that has made me physically stronger than I’ve ever been before in my life, and I’m a singer/songwriter, so that means I’ve spent years throwing instruments around and have moved my share of amplifiers and cases, and have even loaded a van or two. I may not look like much but I’m no delicate flower. Yes, my hands are nimble. I can make nice, even stitches. But they can also wrap around the neck of a guitar, wield a hammer or wrench when they need to, be firm guides for my little guy, or solid sisters for my friends.
They do woman’s work all the time.
I suppose I could have been mistaken for someone not quite so dimensional, as I sat in the pretty blue chair that Lisa Fox, proprietress of lf8, put in the window for me to sit in while I worked the red stitches into the turquoise Alabama Chanin DIY coat kit. The cigar-hunting man didn’t know that I was finding rhythm in my labor of supposedly feminine art as I loved my thread and worked it in and out like I was taught to do by previous generations of women. Women who did woman’s work. He didn’t know that I was finding songs, poetry, and most importantly, quite possibly, a few non-gender specific thoughts there. But I was quiet as I sat and sewed. I was serene. I was being seen and not heard.
Woman’s work. Work for a woman. I could make the woman’s work list right now but I’m not going to. I’m just going to shake my head, smile, and know exactly what a woman’s work is as I remember that sometimes it’s just when you think you’re getting somewhere that someone comes up and wants to blow smoke.