I thought I'd show you a little sneak peek of the living room today. Because I have finally accepted the fact that house will not be 'done' in my mind until, oh, I don't know, February. Or 2015. Or something. Now that the walls are painted, the furniture is arranged, and there aren't massive piles of empty boxes lying around (except for maybe one, hidden beside the couch), I gave my inner perfectionist the boot, and started snapping away. I probably should've fluffed the pillows. Or moved the newspaper. Or hung some art. Or. Um. I'll stop now.
You guys rule. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions. I am on the hunt for a tripod now, since, yes, a wider aperture lens is pretty much out of the question. It's just that this week. Well, this week. It ran this household over with a bulldozer, you see.
The heat and the humidity have rolled in, in Floridian proportions. These are the kind of evenings where you find yourself cold-showering for no reason other than to let your wet hair (which despite your best efforts, is now waist-length again), drip dry, creating puddles all over the house, just to gain a few cool minutes. Stepping outside will do you no good, because it is like standing inside a mouth. And that window AC unit that was on sale that you felt guilty for buying a month ago? Well, you are parked in front of it now, and feel nothing but satisfaction with your foresight and wisdom.
James Joyce said, 'In the particular is contained the universal,' and I am wondering how this could be true of the last 7 days.
How universal is it, when at midnight on Friday you find yourself surrounded by 400 teenage girls in prom dresses, in wedding dresses, in black capes, in glitter. And you are the guardian of the book. The book they want. The book that they would give their lives for. And you have not read this book. Or the related books. And you are not in a prom dress, because maybe you are not a team-player. Or maybe you are just more comfortable with toddlers. As you see it, you are just doing your job. Picking up after them, avoiding the flash of their cell phone cameras. But you are having flashbacks all the same, and are suddenly as uncomfortable as you were when you were one of them. Or not one of them, as the case may be. Still, after 15 years, completely uncomfortable. And the powers that be forget about the air conditioning, turn it off, and you are still guarding the books, but ready to keel over from the heat, the smell of cover-girl make-up, teenage sweat and anxiety, and you swear that the glitter has a smell. And it's not pretty, the smell of need, and obsession, and fear, and you wish Kurt Cobain were still around because it really does smell like Teen Spirit.
You do not remember Saturday. Although at 2 in the morning you were still picking up Starbucks cups and tearing down tulle from your desk. You sleep, and go back to work but remember nothing else. You sleep until Sunday afternoon, and wake up craving pancakes and bacon. This is weird because you have never craved pancakes in your life but it is suddenly all you can think about, and you put in a request with the chef husband, not realizing that despite being a chef, he has never made pancakes. He accidentally uses self-rising flour, and you run out of milk. As is so often the case with him, mistakes turn out to be a stroke of genius. They are incredible. You plan to blog about it, 'The accidental pancakes.' You buy a piano. You plan to blog about it. A few friends and co-workers come over to help you paint the studio, and say goodbye to Thomas the Tank Engine blue, once and for all. It is suddenly midnight, and the first coat is not even dry thanks to your other good friend, white wine.
You wake up in a sweat on Sunday. You finish painting the studio. Your husband makes smoothies but the blender breaks. You can no longer stand the heat, and so you hop in the car and drive to the cool hills, and get lost on purpose. You return home, watch 'Lars and the Real Girl,' and fall asleep, dreaming of snow. You wake up, and head to the convention center. You cannot fathom the size of this building. It gives you vertigo, looking up, thinking how far you still have to go. You arrive at the booth; 1,000 Oregon educators are lined up, with grant money to spend, with questions on the books you have brought. There are only three of you, behind the booth. And one register. One person to every 335 attendees. It's going to be a long three days.
You are worried the sky will not hold on the final day. Monsoon conditions. Unbearable humidity. There are sixty boxes waiting to be loaded on the truck, returned to the store. It begins to drizzle. And you are not sure if it is from sweat or rain that you are drenched, but you are finished, and make the trip back. Repeat. Unload. The power goes out.
You wake up on the couch to the phone ringing. A few hours have passed, at least, since you arrived home, a sticky, tired mess. It is your husband. He sounds distressed. Speaking too quickly. The words don't register at first. 'Stolen.' 'Wallet.' 'Drivers License.' 'Credit Card.' 'Debit card.' 'Fraudulent purchases.' 'Greencard.' And suddenly, you are wide awake. On the INS website, looking for answers. Wondering how he can prove his identity, his status, when everything is gone. Being used by kids to buy beer, tri-met passes, two hundred dollars of crap from Rite-Aid, fourty eight dollars worth of Starbucks coffee. And you cannot stop thinking about the fourty eight dollars worth of Starbucks coffee. The comedy of that. Mugs? Twenty five frappucinos? Fifteen sandwiches? Who spends fourty eight dollars at a Starbucks? You have visions of a teenage girl posing as a 31 year old Canadian with mutton chops. You want to laugh, but you also want to cry. Your husband opens the door, defeated. The police arrive. File a case report. It is over for now. Everything is canceled. Appointments are made. The DMV, the immigration office. It is 2 am. You lie in the twisted sheets, noting the cold air rushing in from the window. And just like that. The heat is gone.
A week full of particulars and it is Friday. And while you do not feel like celebrating, you have never been so grateful for a weekend.
James Joyce eat your heart out.