It's not about the house.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wet Work

My fingers are all wrinkly, and I’m afraid it might be permanent.

See, Johnny’s away, and I only realized this morning, while talking to a friend, that I follow a very precise pattern when he goes away. The first night, I drink a lot of beers all by myself in the apartment – I mean, house; I still can’t get used to that – with the radio up really loud and playing something he would never tolerate if he were here. This time I was extra-lucky because, when the soundtrack to Evita ended and I sat down to watch television, Thelma & Louise was on. I own it, on video and on DVD, but it’s still a treat to find a thing like that on the night your husband goes away. It’s like the universe is telling you to go ahead and take your bra off. Which I – well, which I had done already, to be honest.

Anyway, so the next part of my pattern when Johnny goes away is to not pick up after myself at all for the first couple of days. That bra? Stayed on the table where I dropped it. Dishes go unwashed, laundry goes undone, empty beer bottles stay wherever I set them after taking the last sip. “I’m leaving it there,” I think to him, wherever he is. “Ha ha!”

After a few days I’m grossed out. “Look at this place, it’s a pigsty!” But there’s no one else to blame…

This time I was lucky. He went away on a Wednesday, so by the time I was disgusted it was Friday night. Well, you can’t do anything about it on a Friday night, so I had a few more beers and listened to the Partridge Family really, really loud. Woke up this morning all gung-ho to do something about it. To spend the day listening to NPR (“Car Talk,” “Wait, Wait,” “This Life”) and cleaning up the pigsty that I’d turned my house into. (By the way, Microsoft Word offers “unattractive place” as a synonym for “pigsty” – but that just doesn’t have the same effect, now, does it?)

So but before I set to work this morning I went online and for some reason looked at this website I read about in yesterday’s Economist article. It’s about – well, hell, I’ll just go ahead and tell you it’s – and I don’t know why, but I spent an hour reading the 426 comments on the post where he was (of course) asking folks to give him money.

Actually, I do know why: I started out thinking I might leave a pithy comment that would make all of those 426 people want to read my pithy blog. But instead the whole thing made me tense. I’m getting all worked up again now just remembering about it.

For some reason, reading about this idiot – who, by the way, dug himself into this hole by lying to get undocumented loans to purchase no fewer than seven properties in six months, and who started out on this quixotic quest after buying into one of those late-night get-rich-quick-by-buying-real-estate seminar dealies – for some reason, reading about this idiot made me all tense. Made me feel like it was happening to me. Made me get that “I’m in trouble” feeling in my gut.

And it turned out those 426 people were actually only him and seven or eight other dorks, staying up until four o’clock in the morning going back and forth on how much money it would take for him to post his resume or naked pictures of himself.


Anyway, the whole thing left me feeling dirty, and tense, and rather like I’d done something I ought to be ashamed of. So – after talking on the phone to C and getting all of this off of my chest – I threw myself into my cleaning. I tidied and dusted and vacuumed and scrubbed, laundered and dish-washed and made beds and mopped. The house is clean now, and my fingers are wrinkly, but I’m still a little tense.

Anyway, so the end part of my pattern is that until Johnny gets home I'll keep the house hospital-room clean. I'll wash every spoon as it comes out of my teacup, throw every sock straight from my foot into the laundry. I will congratulate myself on my housekeeping skills, and marvel at the sparkle on the stainless stove – which I will dare not use, for fear of dripping something on it. And then Johnny will come home and drop all his crap everywhere, and I will kill him. And then I'll have to clean the house all over again. – what do you think? Wanna give me money? I ain't posting any naked pictures, though. And my resume is even more embarrassing...


Georgetown House said...

Your post made me laugh - perhaps we're twins separated at birth?!? Give me some alone time at home and oh sure, I miss my honey but then I get to drink martinis and kills a few more brain cells, crank up classic rock and opera while dancing around the house with hair I haven't brushed if I haven't been out of the house, and watch the endings of While You Were Sleeping, Mr. Hollands Opus, and Sleepless in Seattle for the kazillionth time when I come across them on tv (becuase of course even though I have them all recorded somewhere, it's just not the same, plus the endings are always the best part anyway).

EGE said...

The best end-of-movie, as far as I'm concerned, is My Cousin Vinnie. If I see it's on tv I wait and tune in when there are 20 minutes left, so I can hear Marisa Tomei make her "positraction" testimony. Would you like me to explain...?

Georgetown House said...

OMGOMGOMG That's one of my absolute favorite endings!!!! We ARE twins separated at birth!

Though sometimes the best scenes aren't at the end, such as Erin Bogdonivitch (which I caught in bits & pieces today but NOT the good scenes) talking about exactly what she had to do to procure all those signatures, or, well, most of the scenes where she's in a meeting with some other priggish lawyers.

Mom pom said...

No twins separated... But it is soooo cool that there is a soul mate.