Monday, October 28, 2013
Of Poetry, Cleaning, and Moving On . . . You know -- Random Stuff!
I've been carrying around a few Random Vignettes over the last few weeks and thought perhaps I could share them here over the next while.
Random Vignette the First
My friend and I cross paths, she coming from class, me going to one. We deplore the lack of time to catch up, she particularly because she counts on me as one of a very few possibly understanding ears for her plight. She's sheepish about her annoyance but nonetheless wants to vent: the woman who cleans for her has insisted, yet again, at showing up almost an hour early, despite clear instructions, two weeks earlier, against this schedule-muddling practice. I laugh at my friend's annoyance, but it's a sympathetic laugh. Who else will commiserate with our bourgeois-seeming problems?
So I share my own irritation that the cleaner I recently engaged for bi-weekly visits started, the very first session, by clearing everything from the front of the fridge.* And by everything, I mean not only all those magnets snuggling my granddaughter's drawings in place, not only the photographs curling at the edges because they've been there for -- if I'm honest -- over a decade. But also all the Magnetic Poetry, each tiny magnetized word swept from its crowded context and packed irreverently into a plastic bag. Every single "poem" that my son's friends composed in their late adolescence, their sophomoric, often inappropriate, even more often crude, humour holding some trace of the noise and bluster and big physical presence I once rolled my eyes at. As juvenile as the recurring use of "sausages" was in those constellations of words, they filled my kitchen with echoing, if imagined, voices for me through these last "empty nest" years.
It's been over a month now, and I've grown used to the fridge's blandly clean, white surface. Perhaps oddly, to some of you, I've not spent much time wondering how I could have managed to get through a decade without that surface ever properly wiped down. (And I'll readily admit that one of the photos -- of my oldest daughter laughing as she made a wish on an eyelash, a custom I'd not known before that moment-- was dotted with tiny dried remnants of a whipped cream disaster that happened uncounted birthday cakes ago.) Nor have I spent any time arranging photos and magnetic words back on the fridge. The little bag sits, supposedly incubating latent poems, on the counter, ready for a clean start, a new phase. I've posted a few photos, my favourite Nola drawings, an artsy magnet or two, on the top door, the one that opens the freezer. But I'm not ready to "move on" yet into the Poetry of this Next Stage, so that bottom door is yet untouched.
Although as I write this post, I sense an idea glimmering. . . . a Launch the New Poetry Fridge gathering. . . . Meanwhile, though, I'll wallow a bit longer in my bourgeois annoyance. . . . while admitting that it's rather lovely to come home to a house that someone else cleaned so thoroughly. . . .
And now your turn: What "First World" or "bourgeois" problems have you been a bit sheepish to grouse about lately (did you see that? two animal metaphors in one sentence!)?
* To be fair to this hard-working woman, you really can't clean a fridge surface if it's cluttered with magnets, and how was she to know I had a surprisingly high tolerance for dirt, if it was accompanied by lashings of sentiment.