Note: Continuing our enumeration of critical things one must do in order to squeeze the maximum productivity out of your personal day and yet still remain relatively content and happy. Click here to read the first part of the series, in case you don’t recall the bit of a pickle I was in when last we chatted…
21. Avoid getting arrested for public indecency.
This goal proved to be much more attainable than first thought when I realized that the window I was standing at only came down to general chest-level. This meant that the annoying minor and the medicated major standing in the street could only see, at best, my nipples, which definitely kept things more family-friendly. (Although, if those nipples could talk, they would definitely have some stories to tell. Perhaps another time.) However, I have to admit that a very small part of me was a little disappointed that I would not have a reputation as a sex criminal.
22. Avoid the public, period.
As it dawned on the staring Trixie and June that there was indeed life within these walls, and Trixie started to re-hoist her evil cookie collection and stomp back my way, I grabbed the curtain and wrenched it shut again. Trixie made a little gasp of indignation (something she probably did daily, based on the professional sound of it) and turned to mother June, prepared to launch into a treatise on the indignity of my actions and how her retail aspirations were not being satisfactorily met. (Children simply have no patience these days. Perhaps if some parents weren’t shoving wireless phones and iPads into their tiny little hands as soon as they shoot out of the womb, things would be a bit different.)
23. Spy on people even though you really just want them to go away.
There was a convenient rip in the window curtain, a drab bit of material that has been hanging from the same rod since the first moon landing, which allowed me to observe the family dysfunction taking place at the curb. Little Trixie was fully intent on making me purchase every box of sugared fat on the planet. Momma June was starting to realize that her offspring was making a bit of a scene, a notion that rarely crossed Momma’s mind unless she ran out of wine. More importantly, Momma was aware that the other mommas were getting an eyeful of what happens when ill-prepared people manage to conceive.
24. Discover that you can learn a lot just by looking at someone’s face.
Due to the delicate nature of the situation, what with Momma June having been nominated for an important committee in her favorite organization, a pointless group that only had functions so the women could buy new clothes to attend them, a nomination that was dependent on the very women who were now standing around Momma and gloating that their own children were temporarily not having over-privileged meltdowns, Momma lowered her voice so I couldn’t hear her exact words to Trixie. But Momma’s eyes were very clear: You are going to shut the hell up right now and get in the car before I wallop you with this Gucci handbag that can only hold a tube of lipstick and a thong.
25. Discover that children can learn things very quickly, when they apply themselves.
Trixie’s eyes: I am also up for a nomination in my own favorite organization, the Pre-Teen Bitchy Queen League, and if I give in to you right now, I will get two demerits and therefore disqualify myself from the election. However, I also wish to remain in your will, specifically so I can get the house in Connecticut and generally because I abhor the thought of ever having to work for a living. Therefore, I am going to petulantly get my ass in the car and we can continue to psychologically damage each other at a later time.
26. Remind yourself that some people have absolutely no respect for the environment.
As June and Trixie and the cadre of Junior Leaguers and Junior League-ettes piled into their enormous SUV’s that were bigger than some residential housing and drove away, they collectively used up 47 gallons of gasoline before they reached the end of the block.
27. Try once again to force the cat to stop doing irritating things.
I turned to Scotch, he who found it necessary to rip open the window curtain in the first place, and explained to him that Daddy was not very happy about his unwelcome behavior. If he wished to retain all rights and privileges that were in the original contract that we signed, he must refrain from activities that redecorate the house in any way or potentially cause Daddy to be involved in litigation concerning his nudity. Scotch studied me briefly, then hoisted a leg and went back to searching for Jimmy Hoffa in his nether region.
28. Take another nap.
Watching disharmonious familial relationships can be very exhausting, especially if you have to stand at a window and peek out while doing so. I flopped back on the bed and fell asleep to the repetitive sound of a tongue on fur.
29. Actually leave the bedroom.
A bit later, or maybe hours, no one was keeping score and I didn’t have to be anywhere that was court-ordered, I finally got tired of sleeping (ahem) and wandered down the hallway to the kitchen. It looked exactly the same as the last time I was in that room, so I was a little disappointed and almost turned around, but then I realized that perhaps I should eat something. After all, it takes a lot of energy to not do anything important. Besides, I couldn’t hear the damn cat drilling for oil in this room.
30. Test the longevity of the refrigerator light bulb.
This is something I do quite often, so I obviously have a talent for it and should put it on my resume. (Somebody somewhere is surely interested in hiring someone that is capable of just standing there and waiting for something to happen instead of being proactive about getting things done. Maybe the House of Representatives is hiring?) Anyway, I stared at the contents of the fridge for a good 20 minutes before deciding that nothing had the least bit of appeal and I slammed the door shut. Perhaps food producers should consider mechanizing their products so that the packages dance and sing and compete for a chance to be devoured. This would improve the quality of meal times and reduce wasted energy. Write your congressperson.
31. Contemplate unloading the dishwasher.
Stare at the washer briefly, as if considering the joys of domestic athleticism, even though this doesn’t appeal to you at all. Then decide that all the little bowls and knives in there have become friends by this point and you really don’t believe in breaking up families. To avoid heated arguments later in the evening when some irritating person questions why you avoided the task, briefly open the door so the annoying “Clean!” light goes off, thus giving you an alibi. (“I thought they were still dirty. My bad.”)
32. Check all the other TV’s in the house to make sure that a new channel hasn’t been invented since you turned off the TV in the bedroom.
This is a very doubtful development, but you should always strive to be an informed citizen.
33. Take something random off the kitchen table and throw it on the floor to see if it interests the cat in any way.
If kitty pounces, you get to eat three cookies of your choice. If kitty just sits there and looks at you with that “insanity of the two-legged people” expression, eat the cookies anyway. They’re just going stale.
34. Try to organize that closet that you’re always talking about organizing.
Open the door. Lift the lid on an unmarked box. Realize that you don’t recognize any of the contents, and you don’t know if they are important objects or just random crap from some long-ago half-ass housecleaning experiment. Close the lid. Close the door. Make sure the “Clean!” light turns off. Walk away.
35. Attempt to pay bills.
Sit at your desk. Move things out of the way until you find the dusty stack of envelopes where people want money from you. Pick out one that looks like a credit card bill and open it. Stare at the outstanding balance and realize that the figure could also be the population amount of a medium-size city in Oklahoma. Read the now legally-required warning notice that “if you only make the minimum payment, it will take you 112 years to pay the damn thing off”. Sigh. Put the bill back on top of its little friends and leave the room. This is obviously a spiritually unhappy place and you don’t need to be in there.
36. Do some creative dusting.
Track down the cat (he’s probably out smoking behind the barn) and convince him that you are not going to do anything annoying or psychotic this time so he will jump into your arms. Walk over to the coffee table and place him on his back, then slide kitty from one end of the table to the other. (If kitty gives the appearance of wishing to speak to management about this development, explain to kitty that what you are doing is just like that new ride at Six Claws Over Texas. Kitty should appreciate the efforts that Daddy goes to just to provide cultural entertainment.) Repeat this process with other furniture until kitty gets all Norman Bates on you.
37. Open the front door and explain to the SPCA representative that just showed up that you are only playing with kitty and it is not child abuse.
Make a donation, if necessary. Donations often make people vote the way you want them to. (Just ask the NRA.) Then close the door and go take the SIM card out of kitty’s phone so he won’t be alerting anybody else.
38. Flop on the couch in the den and contemplate how many times today you’ve nearly been involved in legal matters today and you haven’t even left the house.
Perhaps you need to change your diet in some way? Maybe you’re a little under the weather. Go into the bathroom and give yourself a health check. Stare into the mirror and try to determine which of your body parts show the most signs of decay. Check the box marked “all of the above” and leave your co-payment on the counter.
39. Contemplate leaving the house for a while, if only so people can’t see your house number as they report suspicious activity to authorities.
Then realize that you would actually have to bathe and get dressed in order to make this little spontaneous field trip. And you might possibly have to interact with other human beings whilst loose in the wild. This is far too much to suffer through after your harrowing day of dealing with urchins bearing snack treats and the physical exhaustion of avoiding everything on your to-do list. You need to build your strength back up before facing societal problems like gum-smacking cashiers or people who don’t know how to work an ATM.
40. Go back to the bedroom and take another nap.
It certainly can’t hurt anything. After all, no one has ever died from too much sleeping and a lack of measurable progress of any kind. Well, except for the Republican Party….
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