Monday, October 28, 2013

Of Poetry, Cleaning, and Moving On . . . You know -- Random Stuff!

You obviously can't have a Random Vignette without some Indiscriminate Beauty -- sunrises courtesy of last week's early mornings, fog, and an obliging seagull. . . 

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.


  1. Oh goodness, I would have CRIED if someone did that. Mind you, when we moved into this house, I had to take everything off the fridge and magnets are banned on the new fridge - in my garage/office I have two huge cupboards with steel doors that do the same job :)

    But I get annoyed with my cleaners too, because they simply WILL NOT put things back exactly as they found them. I am possibly a little OCD about placement of stuff, but it drives me nuts having to rearrange the house when I get home every second Friday. Having said that, I LOVE getting home to a clean house ...

    1. I suppose it would be easier to keep the fridge magnet and photo-free if I had steel-doored cupboards nearby. . . perhaps. . . .
      My new cleaner was all set to go through and clean all the kitchen cupboards and drawers for me, but after the fridge, I've asked her to hold off -- I'm realizing I'm touchier about possible rearranging than I knew I would be. I guess I may be a bit OCD myself! ;-)

  2. Hard to lose those poems. On the other hand, the kids are still so near by, they will fill your heart right back up.

    I was thinking, you should knit some scarves in the patterns of your sunsets:). Or perhaps you already have.

    1. Hmmm, I once had a site bookmarked that could take the colours from a photo and set them out in colour bars -- those derived from the sunrise photos would knit up nicely, thanks for the idea!

  3. We just had a laugh about this the other day. My daughter had to stand in line for a bagel! In New York City! On a weekday! Horrors!

    I am a clean fridge person, myself, but as a fairly new empty nester, I understand why you miss those poems. Like echos.....

    1. Oh, life is so difficult. Bagel line-ups! LOL! ;-)
      Echos indeed. . . I quite like my empty nest, but still, the echos were comforting. . .

  4. Such an evocative post!

    We had a cleaning lady of Russian heritage. After she visited you could never find at least one item for a good long while. When you would ask her "Irene, did you move the little sewing box that was beside the chair", or anything else, she had but one response, "I put avay." So that's what we called her: "I. Putavay."

    We had an old Grateful Dead bumpersticker on our fridge that said "Are You Kind?" for at least 15 years. I'm pretty sure then new owners removed it.

    1. That's hilarious! I. Putavay. . . but where?!
      I'm so glad to know about that old Grateful Dead bumpersticker. . . I'd love to think the new owners kept it. . .


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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