Saturday, November 20, 2010

Playing House

Many important things happened this week: my dad had a colonoscopy, one friend’s house was burglarized, I ran my book club, and I graded a jillion student papers until my hands bled from trying to remove the noose from my neck.

However—and I am both pained and blushy to say this—I also have an out-of-town guest, and have been most curious about him and his effect on me. It’s like running an experiment in my own house, with me as both scientist and subject. Do I like pouring this man a glass of milk? I think I do. Write that down. Do I mind it when he leaves the seat up? Yes I do. Tell him. Should I mention that the way he doesn’t shave for three days, the way he leaves his clothes and belongings scattered throughout my spare room, suitcase open and overflowing, reminds me of living with Ed Gein? Probably not. He’s only here until Monday.

So instead of shooting concerned e-mails back and forth between my mom and my siblings, trying to figure out how Dad really felt about his colonoscopy, I used that time to facilitate friendships between my cats and this non-cat person: “She wants you to pet her” (leaving out “you stupid man”). Instead of hanging on the phone longer with my friend to find out what the burglars got, I hung up and arranged a breakfast display for my late sleeper: tea, honey, cup, spoon, more milk, Cheerios, a muffin, butter, and a bowl of blackberries. It’s what my mom does for my dad every day, so I figured, I will do that. I hope this shows love.

Instead of studying my book club selection more carefully so that I could be right most of the time at our meeting and make fun of those who were wrong, I waited for what seemed like appropriate moments to light candles, play music, and flit around revealing all of my Victoria’s Secrets.

But I did get those papers graded, and even though I can’t turn my head because my neck bone is fused to my shoulder blade again, I am still managing to gaze coyly at my houseguest when I reach out to him covered in lace to say, “Please don’t brush those pistachio shells onto the floor” (leaving out “this is not a bar, you pig”). I hope he can sense how much I like having him around, and how easy this is for me.

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