Online Journal as Dumping Ground: I cannot stop thinking about this little incident that happened a few days ago, and when I say “little incident” I really mean it because it was just a tossed-off comment in a larger conversation about nothing much. However, I CANNOT GET IT OFF MY MIND. Therefore, I am going to share it with you, along with my various reactions and possibly some semi-coherent textual representations of sputtering. Woo! Are you ready? Here it goes.
So I was in my friend’s car on the way home from Wal-Mart after we had spent a significant portion of the day cleaning her kid’s room. We were talking about domestic crap, like how kids make messes and what you do to get your whites even whiter or whatever, and she said, “See, I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning, just not as it applies to me!” This was in reference to the fact that she mostly doesn’t do these things, think about these things, or worry about these things, because life is too short and her family is perfectly happy in a messy house (which is true), so whatever.
Okay. Okay, here’s the thing. The thing is… that at the time I didn’t think about it much but now my head is going to explode, because REALLY? There are really people who are like the low-rent small-town version of Paris Hilton, shopping and partying and wearing stylish sunglasses, and it is now acceptable to admit that in the home arena you are kind of useless? What? HUH?! Gah! The more I think about this the more I want to call her and say something like, “You don’t understand the ‘concept’ of cooking and cleaning ‘as it applies to you?’ WELL HOW NICE. It must be GREAT to be able to toss that one off like the stay-at-home mom version of ‘I don’t do windows!’ Have a nice goddamn day; if you want to come over I will be here, doing laundry and fixing lunch for my son!” I have been obsessing about this for three days now, and it just does not get any better.
Am I jealous? Hell, I don’t know. I just feel like that was a pretty stupid moment that I should have caught and responded to in some way, instead of just going, “Yep,” or doing whatever it was I actually did. The concept of cooking and cleaning? You understand the concept? Because I did not know there was a concept, I thought it was all action and results, like a mathematical formula: One (1) appropriate cleansing agent + one (1) germ-phobic stain-obsessed household manager (“Mom”) + many (4789345876) hours of scrubbing, sorting, and tidying = one (1) clean, happy, well-fed family. I did not know that there was this whole theory that you could just appreciate from a distance without worrying about or striving for its daily application. Sure, there are days when I say “eh, fuck it” and we all go out to play or whatever, but on the whole I feel like if you stay at home doing nothing, have kids, and are the primary caretaker for that home and those kids, then you should maybe — and wait for it a minute, because this is radical — TAKE CARE OF YOUR HOME AND KIDS.
The whole thing is just driving me nuts for vague reasons, really, because this friend’s kids are quite obviously well cared-for and very happy, she and her husband are very much in love and functional, and their house is often messy but it’s never gross or anything. So why should I care? I DON’T KNOW. I just keep having visions of all the dishes I’ve scrubbed, all the mopping-related backaches I’ve endured, and feeling kind of pissed off. Again, all I can think of to say is, OH IT MUST BE NICE. Perhaps I am just pissed off at my own anal-retentive stickler tendencies toward being some kind of Stepford mommy, I don’t know.
I have your concept right here, buddy. Jeez.