Quite some years back I was having coffee with a friend – Jonathan. I’d been going through some tough times, I recall. Jonathan had a way of listening that made me feel comfortable getting past the noise and bull that I put in the way of me and whatever the hell it was that was bothering me.
I was saying something to the effect that I thought things would be getting easier, but they weren’t, and then Jonathan nods and assumes a slight back country accent (one of several Jonathan could roll out) and pronounces the following line, completely out of the blue:
Yep. You gotta pull yer own tractor!
I was immediately dumbstruck by the goofy sense of the phrase – which I think was his own invention, there on the spot. Jonathan was like that, he was unencumbered by clichés, by conventions about how things should be said or by the expectations that society would saddle him with. I burst out laughing from inside, from some spot I didn’t understand. Where did that come from?! At that moment – if only for a brief time – the relationship between me and whatever I’d been agonizing over, struck me as so, so absurd.
Ever since then, the phrase has stuck with me, and I remember it especially whenever I think of snails, slugs, turtles or the like. And there are an awful lot of those, so that’s good.
(music: Family Waltz Theme by Sondre Lerche)