Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Me and James Thurber

A long time ago, James Thurber wrote a humor column for the New Yorker. Lots of times they were accompanied by little drawings he did and lots of them are part of anthologies that are still available.

One of his columns was about the amount of submissions he received and he told about how many women find their day-to-day tasks hilarious even though they weren’t and he advised them not to write about them.

I question whether I do that. Candidly, I try to keep some perspective about our home’s destruction and it sort of mystifies me that I’m so caught up in this. I’m caught up in a way that I didn’t expect to be. First of all, I’m amazed about the amount of money I spend and the things that I should have bought but didn’t because I forget that I don’t own them anymore.

I’m not talking about construction stuff. I’m talking about other stuff. You know a drawer full of pens. Me, I’m not so good with pens and I find that whenever I need to write something down, I can’t find one. I don’t know whether this is new or not. Okay, it’s not brand new, as I used to be able to rummage around for one but now there’s no rummaging. It comes down to the fact that I bought a pen and I lost it and I don’t have another one and it’s iffy if I’ll remember to buy a couple next time I’m out or at least very soon. This leads me to borrow my husband’s pen which, I’ll have to tell, he didn’t forget to buy. After I borrow his, I put it someplace where neither of us would look for it so we spend some time pen-less. This does not endear me to my spouse and we’ve been married for such a long time that there’s no question about who lost the pen, the scissors, the tweezers, the dental floss, etc. Lots of times I deny responsibility for things like this but I really don’t have any credibility, even with myself. I deny anyway.

This happens to be a recent issue. The reason for this is the aforementioned piles of stuff and also because when we lived at our neighbor’s house they nicely had piles of pens in places where you would look for them. I’m only recently living with single items and that’s going about as well as I should have known it would but I didn’t think about stuff like that but now I do.

A really big part of me thinks it’s an excellent idea to live smaller, be more organized, and not buy into that consumerism thing. Also, at the moment, I like our home empty. We have a couple of lamps, a pretty good collection of wine, a desk that we brought from a neighbor, 2 camp umbrella chairs, 2 folding chairs a card table and a bed. We have sheer curtains on our bedroom window and all of the other windows are unadorned.
We have a stove, a microwave and a refrigerator. By the end of the week we’ll have counters and a sink and next week we can hook up the water. I fouled this up because we were supposed to get the counters (whose glue takes a couple of days to dry) this week but when the granite people called to confirm the Wednesday delivery I told them that it had to be Thursday because Monday thru Wednesday was Passover and that our building didn’t allow large deliveries during that holiday and they can’t come until Friday so it has to be then. I didn’t double check and it turns out that Passover ends on Tuesday so a Wednesday delivery would have been fine.

I don’t mind this as much as I should and this is partly because we’ve a bunch of kitchen stuff in storage that has to be cleaned and I am a little bit lazy about getting the stuff (which is a couple of blocks away), which has to be toted and unpacked, washed and put away. So, it seems perfectly reasonable to me to plan to devote next week to that. My better half is not going to understand this. I will be chagrined, he will be annoyed but will exhibit resolve and I will promise to do all the things.

I’m pretty sure that the majority of the kitchen things will be fine. With the exception of the silverware, which fused in a pile because our home was so hot, most stuff, I think, will be okay.

I have oodles of stuff and will be glad to see it. I can winnow stuff down and function with many less things than are stored and this will help me with my anti-consumer campaign; also, when I find out what I have, I can buy some pens and also a pineapple corer/slicer that I didn’t buy when I was at Williams Sonoma because that just seemed silly and I didn’t have a place to put it and also the anti-consumer thing.

I am preparing to clean everything in a green sort of way. I tested a ceramic dish in a dishwasher and the soot didn't come off. Then I tried a bunch of different kinds of soap and only Dawn worked and I only tried that because I remembered an advertisement that used it to clean gulf pelicans after the oil spill so that would seem to cover the green requirement.

So, this isn’t about hilarity and if James T. was alive and he read this he probably wouldn’t object on the non-hilarious grounds. Because he’s passed, he can’t object on any grounds at all and that’s good. What I write probably wouldn’t annoy a lot of dead people, so there’s that. Also, when I get a pen, I might start including little drawings as I already confessed that I can’t do the photo thing.

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