My Now – 04/14/2022


Recently, I was on my mom’s roof, my childhood home, with an electric blower, clearing the gutters of maple and oak leaves. While making a final pass along the backyard gutter the blower’s power chord tangled in the extension ladder’s fly section. Unaware, I jerked the chord, toppling the ladder.

With no other family members present, nor a phone in the pocket, I was marooned, a suburban version of Tom Hanks in Castaway.

Being that it was a one story house I entertained dangling from the front gutter and hoping for the shrubbery to cushion my fall. But the gutter wouldn’t support my weight. I’d wrench it from the house. And even if it did hold, I’d be at risk placing my well being in the buffering abilities of a shrub.

I also considered summoning my inner Jason Bourne and leaping three-feet across to the garage roof and then seeing if I could reach the rungs of a telephone pole that bordered the garage’s back corner. But as a middle-aged white man I didn’t trust my long-jump abilities. Especially on an inclined roof.

Blindly screaming “help” was rejected. It, given the situation, would have sounded excessive, on par with dialing 911 for a paper cut.

I tried madly waving, with both arms, at the occasional passing vehicle. But none of the drivers saw me. Or maybe they did, misinterpreting me as hyper-friendly.

My only option was to wait. A neighbor would eventually emerge from their home or vehicle.

To pass the time I scanned the neighborhood reliving childhood memories – throwing dirt balls at Mr. Radell’s aluminum back porch roof, touch football games in the street, smoking my first and only cigarette behind Mr.Casasanti’s garage – I had not visited with in decades. It felt good to catch up.

Thirty-five minutes later my faith in eventually came through when a neighbor’s son, from across the street, who I only knew by face, pulled into his driveway. “Hey,” I yelled, catching his attention. “My ladder toppled. Can you give me some help?”

I was saved.

Later, my sister, upon hearing my roof story, said, “More proof on why you should always carry your phone.”

Yes, perhaps, I thought. But there was a refreshing idiocy about being stranded on my mom’s roof. A phone would have zapped the experience, making it no more dramatic than dropping a fork at a dinner table. Without a phone my brain entertained escape options. I had a reunion with lost childhood memories. And I gave the neighbor’s kid and myself a story.

How much, I wondered, are we missing in life by having every inconvenience convenienced by our electronic devices?

jeffwozer@gmail.com or 303.229.0583.