It's not about the house.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Catch! That! Metaphor!

Poor Johnny.

I’m having a bad week.

Not that bad, in global standards. I mean, it’s not like I have pigs up my nose or anything. And it’s nothing you need to feel sorry for me about. I’m sure you all have bad weeks, too, sometimes -- maybe you’re even having one right now. Johnny and I aren’t dying (yet), we’re not in foreclosure (yet), and we’re not trying to move past our first 100 days with a Vice President who doesn’t know how to keep his big mouth shut.

Seriously! Would somebody shove a pig up that guy’s nose or something? Or at least give him an “End is near” sandwich board and point him towards the nutjob section of the village square? Hey Joe, should we keep all our money in our mattresses? Hey Joe, should we lock up all the Japanese? Hey Joe, will Y2K end civilization as we know it? Is the sky falling, Joe? Is there a wolf, Joe? Is there?

(Don’t get me wrong. I like Joe Biden. But how do you – in twelve hours! – go from the inspirational, landslide-winning, history-making, republican-converting, liberally-mandated, rising tide (not to mention slightly hunky; which doesn’t mean I’d want to see him in a Speedo) leader of the free world saying “I’m humbled by the limitations of my power” — to this cuckoo clock shaking his fist at the kids and yelling “Don’t get on the subway!” Jeez. Loosen up, Mr. Pitz. Get an enema. Do something.)

So I may not be having the worst week ever, but it has not been good. For lots of reasons, but I won’t bore you with them all. I’ll leave out the parts about the locusts, the midges, the boils, and the blood – because that’s all been done before, and on a much more epic scale. For now, and for the want of Charlton Heston, I’ll just bore you with this:

I’ve been having to stay late at work.

I know! I know! But it’s okay. I’ll be all right You don’t have to start a foundation in my name or anything. The GEGETAVE Imperative can wait. (That’s “Get EGE To the AssVac Earlier,” for all y’all acronymically impaired.)

It hasn’t really been all that much later, either. Not much later at actual work, I mean to say. A half-hour here, an hour there, and I don’t mind about the extra time. I get paid well for what I do, I know it. I don’t get paid by the hour, so I don’t get any more when these things happen, but when they do, I don’t see any reason to complain. Not to my boss Lady, anyway...

But somewhere in those half-hours is the tipping point – somewhere in there the T (Boston’s public transportation system) becomes a pumpkin. We all know how efficient pumpkins are as public transportation systems, yes? And therein, for my poor husband, lies the rub.

See, up there – in the op. cit. paragraph – I didn’t say I get paid well. I said I get paid well for what I do. Like, if you suddenly paid the burger-flipper twenty bucks an hour, but told him he could only work three days a week. It’s a situation I set up deliberately, to force me to keep working out something better for myself. I didn’t want to get a real job and end up the CEO of Morgan Stanley before I knew what was happening (hey, I’d have to do at least as good a job as that guy), with no time left for Following My Muse. So I work short hours for large peanuts, and I set aside certain hours of the day for chasing rainbows.

And when anything interferes with my rainbow hours, I get mean.

Like, for instance: I get up at 4:30 every morning so I can be at my desk at 5:00 a.m. So when somebody comes over on a weeknight, drinks all our peppermint schnapps (“It’s summer, you’re not using ‘em!”), wanders around half the night bumping into furniture, and the other half tumbling from our guest bed with a series of loud thunks, I fall asleep the next day at my computer with my head on my arm and miss my morning shift. So I tend to get a little shouty that afternoon when I see him at our kitchen table with a Goldschläger bottle in his hand.

This is not unreasonable, right?

I didn’t think so.

How about when my best friend in the whole wide world – Dr. One Friend, whom I haven’t talked to in a week, whom I know I’ve been neglecting, and who is, not incidentally, going through a little something of her own – has the nerve to call at 7:29, when she knows I write till 7:30, and when I see her on the caller ID I flip the telephone the double-bird and shout “Fuck off! You stop annoying me! Leave me alone!”

Yeah that’s not quite so kosher, is it? But it’s not like I meant it. I was just letting off a little steam. And besides, I can always defend my behavior on the basis that I didn’t do it to her face. It's like writing an angry letter and then throwing it away. She’ll never know.

Oh. Oops.

Hi, Dr. One Friend! I love you, Dr. One Friend! Call me!

My p.m. windmill-tilting hours are a little less defined. Because, although I always know what time I’m leaving in the mornings, I never really know what time I’m getting home. It depends how many burgers my Lady has for me to flip. And these are little burgers. Sliders, really. Even thirty of them go down pretty fast. (I trust you understand I’m speaking metaphorically; my Lady doesn’t even eat meat, except for hot dogs from New York City carts.) Aside from super-special occasions, my flipload hovers around twenty burgers, and sometimes it’s as few as two or three.

So for my afternoon impossible-dreaming, I give myself a little guilt-reducing gift: I am finished at the same time every evening, no matter what time I sit down when I get home. Sometimes I thrash around in that bucket for an hour, sometimes for as much as two or three. But knowing I get to walk away at 6:00, have dinner like a normal person, and still get to bed at a time that will allow me to get up at 4:30 and start the whole thing again, frees me from having to sit in here listening to Johnny watch “The Big Bang Theory” and write angry blog entries instead of doing work.

(Which is not what I’m doing right now, I swear to god. “Big Bang Theory” isn’t even on on Thursday night.)

If, once in a while, I have to flip a hundred burgers, I try to think of it like half a snow day. You won’t be home till after quitting time this evening, EGE, so you don’t have to hunt for snipe today! I still feel a little guilty, but I imagine it’s on the same level a parent feels when they hire a sitter and get drunk: I couldn’t do that if I didn’t do this once in a while.


Lately, though, it’s been a hundred burgers every day. And, coincidentally, I’m at a point now where I can see the light at the end of the pipe dream. If I could just stay down long enough to... suffocate ... the canary? ... or something? ... I don't know, I lost track of that one somewhere. Anyway if I could, then I might at long last finally wake up. So every day my Lady asks me to flip extra, and every day I ride the goddamn pumpkin home, and every day I walk in the door – before quitting time, but not enough before to catch a cloud and pin it down – and shout at Johnny.

I swear, I’m like that quintessential ‘50s dude who comes home from the office to kick the dog. And Johnny’s like the cringing little wife.

“Thanks for taking the plexi off my office window like you said you would, my dear.”

“I started! But the battery in the power drill was dead. See? It’s charging.”

“Maybe if you started a little earlier you could have charged it and been done by now. It’s not like it’s 93 degrees outside and I might like to breathe or anything. What have you been doing with your day? Oh, soup? There's a surprise. I hope you don’t expect me to eat it. It smells like crap. You know I hate turnips and besides, have you noticed that it's 93 degrees outside? Now don’t talk to me unless I talk to you first. I’m going to lay a few bricks on that castle I'm building in the air, and you know everything you say or do when I'm in there pisses me off.”

At which point he goes to the pub.

He’s been there a lot this week.

But really, can you blame him? Then he comes home after I’m in bed and makes his dinner – really, really loudly – when he knows perfectly well that I’m trying to sleep. So that I can (ahem) be at my desk at 5:00 in the morning, rolling out my giant piecrust in the sky.

You think he might be trying to tell me something? You think, on the days that I’m late anyway, I should probably hit the pub myself on the way home?

Or should I just hit the nutjob section of the village square and rage at angels?

All this is to say: Sisyphus, if you're out there: this week's boulder's probably gonna be a little late.


Charlie said...

at least i call you...and it was 7:30 in my time zone!

Courtney said...

Roger that. Hang in there.


Chris said...

Hey tell John that I love “Big Bang Theory” Sheldon makes me piss myself from laughing so much.

And tell Johnny this week will pass and soon he will not have to go to the pub so much. I know that must be killing him...

pork luck said...

oh my.. i'll be at the pub with Johnny.

Sparkle Plenty said...

This post makes me think many things:
1) Doggone it, I want a hamburger. Now. Or a slider. Maybe a hamburger topped with a slider. And I haven't eaten beef for decades.
2) You rock for gettin' up so early and rolling out your piecrust (I want pie, too) and building your castle--and doing so after work, too. I salute ya big time and I can't wait to buy your first book. And the second one. And the third one, too.
3) Gee! I like Big Bang Theory, too! Sheldon does rock.
4) This post makes me think of Betty Mac--and that's some of the highest praise I can think of.
5) Sending good vibes to One Friend.
6) Ya know, on the days that you're going to be late anyway maybe you SHOULD hit the pub. Because all work and no play makes Jack turn into Jack from The Shining!
7) Here's to Johnny! And to you!

ege said...

Charlie -- I know! You live at least one minute ahead of the rest of us! I know! (And as soon as I'm done answering comments, I'll call you.)

Courtney -- See? I didn't understand what they meant about The Right One till I found you. (For the rest of you: Johnny's still my Right One; Courtney's just my Right One In My Head.)

Chris -- Yeah, he friggin' hates it. But I love Big Bang Theory, too!

PorkPie -- He would love to see you there. (Me too, when I'm done stinking up the joint.)

Sparkle -- 1. I love how you always leave comments with lists.
4. You invoked The High Priestess! I'm not worthy!
6. I think I will. Because otherwise, the people the people the people the people...
7. He thanks you. And so do I. But mostly him. Pray for him.

HPH said...

Two ball in the side pocket, triple bank, off the 4. Nothing helps the old attitude more than racking up some balls, smacking them against each and swigging down some fermented hops. (Rampage is just no longer available, even in the crustiest of Arcades.)

Jenni said...

I like the line about rolling out piecrust in the sky.
Lucky Pork should sketch that one too.

I was listening to the Vice Pres and was kinda shocked he said that. Even though we have Hog Flu 10 doors down and I am hiding under my bed covered in globs of hand sanitizer, thinking I have the sniffles and a scratchy throat.

The funny thing is the news reported from here that the whole town was walking around in masks.
I think the news crew passed out the masks and told folks that if they wear the mask they could be on tv.

Really I went to work. No Work, No Pay, No Play.

BTW Do you have anymore of those pig-rats?

Sashimi said...

I'd buy your book too! (Are they releasing in India? :) ) Good luck!

ege said...

HPH -- Oh man, do I wish there was someplace decent around here for playing pool. The only bar within walking distance that has a table, the owner plays you and kicks your ass and rules the table for the rest of the night. The owner is a penis. So you go home.

Jenni -- I DO! I DO have a pig rat! Hm...

Sashimi -- Thanks! If it ever actually comes out anywhere, I'll make sure you get one!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pub visit or two is definitely in order. I'll be there with Johnny too. Hope we see you there. Also, what's a slider?

ege said...

A slider is a very tiny hamburger that you eat in like three bites. I guess they're called that because they slide right down?

pork luck said...

are you still in a bad mood?

ege said...

I wasn't, I had gotten over it, but then the insurance company ###@#%$!!!!

And just when I got over that, the dentist %#$#$$#%!!!

And then Johnny %#$#$$#%!!!

Oh my god, one of these days I'm going to %#$#$$#%.

Sparkle Plenty said...

Blargh! Sorry to hear about all of the %#$#$$#%!!! Hope the %#$#$$#%!!! abates soon!

I love how well Pork Luck's little wary cartoon face accompanies her query, "Are you still in a bad mood?" Perfect match for the question!

Silver lining attempt: Didja know that blackberries are on sale at Stop 'n Shop this week? .99 per package which is, I dunno, $3.00 off or somethin'?