I have made a few observations regarding myself of late that… concern me.
#1) A couple of weeks ago, Dan asked me about a laundry basket in the corner of our room that was about three quarters full. “What is this doing here?” I explained it was a load of clothes that I was getting ready to put in the wash. Then I watched as he casually dropped a green t-shirt into the basket.
“What are you doing? That is a load of blacks. Save that t-shirt for the next load, I am doing colors soon.”
He looked at me as if I had just told him I going to save water and run a load of wash in cat piss instead.
“Does it really matter if the blacks are with the blacks? You used to just throw in a load of whatever whenever we had enough for a full laundry basket. You never even separated lights and darks. What is this all about?”
He never used to eat raw daicon radishes, but that’s a whole other story.
“I just think the colors will stay brighter if we wash similar colors together.”
Dan shook his head and I proceeded with my load of blacks, then I collected a load of brights, and finally load of sheets and towels. I silently wondered when I had become my mother, the original laundry Nazi, demanding that denims go together, reds and pinks go together, etc, leaving you to wonder if you unwittingly threw a favorite yellow t-shirt in the hamper, whether you’d be able to wear it again in the next eight to ten weeks, should it take that long for a full load of yellows and oranges to accumulate, finally granting them admission to the washing machine.
#2) Tuesday, I was on my way to the gym before work when I finally got sick of looking at this little stain in our toilet bowl. You would think a person would get used to it, but I haven’t. It’s not a major thing, its a light gray spot in right at the base of the bowl, where the bowl borders the hole where all the water flushes. I always think the cleaning lady will get it but she never does, which is weird because she does such a thorough job with everything else. And so the interplay of factors including a subtle desire to procrastinate the workout, an overt desire to avoid going outside in sub-zero degrees, and what had become a chronic irritation with the Gray Spot led to the Perfect Storm; In the moments just before dawn while Dan slept soundly, I scrubbed the mark with the enthusiasm of a monkey on crack. Vigorously, I applied pressure to the scrubby from a variety of angles, all to no avail. My patience wore thin as I continued to pump the scrubby up and down at a perpendicular angle to the bowl, then again at a 45 degree angle to the bowl, and then repeated the sequence again. I was beginning to understand why our cleaning lady had never gotten the bowl 100% clean. It occurred to me I might be better off getting in there with some bleach and an old toothbrush when suddenly I was lunging forward, my face headed directly for the bowl. I righted my balance just inches before my nose was submerged in the water. I hadn’t realized I was putting nearly all of my body weight into my endeavor until my equilibrium was suddenly altered by the stick of my toilet scrub breaking cleanly in half.
“Damn it!” I cried.
“What?” Dan called from the bedroom.
“Nothing. I just broke our toilet brush trying to clean the toilet.”
Did I really just say that? How did this happen to me? When did I become someone who would exert violent force on a cleaning instrument? We weren’t even anticipating company. I am at heart, a total slob. My mom is the neat freak. I take after my dad! I didn’t even know myself anymore. Worse, I was pondering this fact without even having had so much as a sip of coffee yet. Also, my heart was heavy with disappointment that I had broken this particular scrubby, because of its sentimental value, which sounds ridiculous, but its true. What happened was, I put it on our wedding gift registry at the last minute, and it was given to us by my best friend’s in-laws, which was just so sweet because they weren’t even invited to our wedding, and actually I have not seen them since my best friend’s wedding, which was in 2005, but apparently, I made a really good impression on my friend’s mother-in-law, who apparently asks after me often, and who was kind enough to think of me and Dan and buy us the matching toilet brush and garbage can from our registry, even though she had not seen or heard from me in five years. So you can see why I was touched by the gesture.
#3) I have developed a habit of taking Dan’s coat from the living room chair and hanging it on a hanger in the coat closet. Sometimes I wonder when I started caring where other people left their stuff. Because really, when I think about all the cool things I could have done with my life, all the degrees I might have earned, all the books and short stories I could have written, all the pies and cakes I could have baked, the African children I could have adopted and cared for, had I only not wasted all the hours I have spent over the years looking for my keys/wallet/purse/the library books I meant to return on time/my lunch/my jacket/the sweater I was dying to wear/whatever because I had misplaced them or because they were obscured by a mountain of other stuff that I never bothered to put away, well, it really is just pathetic. And sometimes I think about the shrill tone of my mom’s yell ca. 1995, to which sometimes I would yell back “What?” and just as often pretend as if I did not hear her, knowing her next cry would be “You left your shoes in the den! Take them upstairs or you will find them in the garage!” In my room, I would roll my eyes, knowing she would never actually make good on her threat, wondering why she didn’t have something better to do than get pissy about my shoes.
#4) I finally changed my last name. I got my new drivers license, new social security card, new ID badge at work, new ATM card, the whole megillah. What really thrills me about taking Dan’s last name is that now I can use Sinel as my middle name. I never had a middle name before, but I always wanted one. My dad is fond of saying he and my mom couldn’t afford middle names for us back when we were little. I used to act like I didn’t believe him and I knew he was just kidding, but I actually wasn’t sure for a long time. (I believed in Santa till I was like ten and he didn’t even come to our house). Anyway, its been kind of an adjustment to a new signature. The worst part is making the cursive “r” in Moore and making sure it doesn’t come out looking like an “n.” The best part is the flourish with which I sign my middle initial, “S.” (I love having a middle initial!!) It took me a few times to realize, I had done this before. Then it all came rushing back to me… I used to forge my mom’s signature in middle school, which has a big old “S” as the middle initial. For the life of me, I have no earthly idea why I would have done that. Despite having been a snot (see above), I was actually a pretty good kid. I got good grades, I was rarely absent, never tardy, and always turned in my homework on time, and except for math, mostly correct, so why I was pretending I was my mother doesn’t make any sense to me now. But what I remember was the fun I had with signing her middle initial, which also happens to be an “S.” The curves and swirls of “S” were a roller coaster for my pen.
What this all means is that I think (fear- no not really fear, I love you, Mom, but well, yes, maybe fear a little, but in a good way) is that what this all adds up to is that I am turning into my mother. Stay tuned. Other signs to watch for include steam cleaning the kitchen counter and adopting a stray chihuahua mutt. (The latter of which is actually my secret dream).