Monday, January 13, 2003

Scenes of Domestic Tranquility

Music: that music from the cartoons that are, like, fake Nature documentaries, and that were made in the 1940s and have turtles that look like Bing Crosby in them, and end up with dogs waiting to pee on the one tree growing in Brooklyn. You know, when the landscape is waking up, the sun dramatically sweeping across the vistas? That music. We zoom in across litter strewn streets of Southern California. We are almost hit by a guy in a Honda Accord with a 5 foot spoiler and the words "El Stupido" airbrushed proudly across the hood. We recover. We climb the outside of a four story apartment complex which is intended to look Mediterranean but does not. We set one of our feet on fire on those tiki torches someone is burning on their balcony. Blind to the pain, we continue up, ever up, to the two bedroom apartment which is nice because it has a fireplace but not nice because having a fireplace means one less closet and therefore too much stuff. We watch the denizens within:

1. The wife's out to dinner tonight, so for dinner I had:

- The remnants of 10-day old potato salad
- The last slice of a pizza from the weekend
- The last of the stuffing and potatoes from December 26th

I am, apparently, the family dog.

2. Last night, I had a terrible experience. I was home with the wife. We had just finished a nice dinner, and I built a fire, so we could snuggle up and watch a movie. Then, something happened to me. Or, rather, didn't happen. I told my wife it had never happened to me before. She was very nice and understanding, but I could tell things would never be the same between us. Guys, you know what I'm talking about. It's something that fills us with shame and I just never thought it would happen to me. At least, not until I'm older.

That's right: I couldn't get the fire to stay lit. I stuffed newspaper under the wood, I poked with the poker, I used that crazy tong tool thing I like so much. Nothing worked.

So we watched the movie and sat in front of a fireplace that contained no fire. Just a few glowing embers, mocking me silently.

While all this was going on, I released lots and lots of smoke into our apartment. You could have filmed "Backdraft" in our apartment. This fills me with trepidation, because I live on the fourth floor and subsequently have one of those "ceiling sprinkler" systems. I always think that one day it will go off and really, really piss off the cat. Not to mention destroy all of our stuff.

We also have the regular smoke alarms. But there's really nothing to worry about as far our smoke alarms are concerned. It is impossible to set them off with anything except toast. I could be running around in the kitchen with my hair on fire, fall into the curtains, which would be subsequently set ablaze, and not a peep would sound from the alarms.

God help you if you leave a sesame seed bagel in the toaster for a moment too long, though.

They're not smoke alarms. They're Toast Alarms.

3. Something in my nature makes me want to destroy my wife's finer garments. I don't mind doing the laundry. I happily sort colors, only occasionally calling for help in determining the difference between brown and orange. But good god, can I destroy a silk blouse. It always happens the same way: I'm doing the laundry, being careful to take the clothes that don't go in the dryer back into the apartment, to be hung in the bathroom. Then I'll see some shirt of hers that I know absolutely for certain goes in the dryer, and I will feel proud that I have completed this challenging task.

That's the silk shirt that "Absolutely for certain does not go in the dryer", and which will be reduced to roughly the size of a postage stamp when the dryer has had its wicked way with it.

It's all part of the plan.


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