Laundry is something I wish I didn’t do. Wish I didn’t have to. When I lived at home as a graduate student and chose the chore to express my independence, it felt therapeutic to pull sleeves from the tangled mess and make new piles like primary colored paint pools. I look, now, at the overfilled bin of co-mingling cottons with a side eye, skittishly escaping into the other room before the laundry sees me.
There’s no way to keep the dirty, like a negative charge, from sticking to positive you. Cover the body with clothes and then the you and the clothes need to find their way back to clean. In our house, there’s no fighting about who does the laundry, only agreement on how we avoid it until no underwear remain.
The truth, though, is that I do the laundry. As much as I’d sometimes like to, I don’t wear dirty clothes to work or inside out underwear underneath. I wash the clothes, leaving dryer sheets stuck in armpits and losing mismatched socks like upside down miracles. I do not separate the clothes like my dad so dutifully did when I lived at home, and nothing, thankfully, turns pale pink and plays on tricks on me. I wait until the very last minute, forced to put together tights and tops and scarves and shoes in a rainbow of shades, six different blues, but I get dressed and do the laundry and we all wear clean clothes because of this thing I (we) do.
After the ceremonial belt-loosening and pant-dropping, I walk right in and I sit down for a pee. There are times, due to conditions far beyond my control, when I cannot perform this simple and sensible procedure. Thus begins my open letter to the women’s restroom users who do not believe in sitting:
Women, unite! This is what we were made to do in the restroom, sit down there, have a quick pee, freshen our faces, and return to the lines of battle. But, alas. This is too much for some of you out there. You marginalized sect of stubborn women. You stander-uppers. You who are too grossed out and dressed up, oh-my-god-ing when he leaves the seat up type women. I’m here to say I’ve had enough of you. You’re the problem with the entire women’s public restroom scenario.
I will not stand up when I pee publically, and neither should you. This would work out fine for all of us, were it not for insistence on doing the standing squat. The problem with this, ladies, is that you’re too busy (or lazy) to actually squat at all. You pretty much stand developing world-style over the toilet while fixing your hangnail or your hair. And since you’re working with a vagina and a bunch of crumpled up labial lips down there instead of a straight shooting penis, you shoot your urinary goods over every inch of the stall in your I think I’m squatting, but I’m actually standing and also checking my iphone stance. Satisfied that your high-faluting rear end is free from any parasites that were germinating on that putrid toilet seat, you pull your stockings from your armpits and strut out, leaving the stall desecrated, dripping with your juice, marked like a hydrant from hip to toes.
You, ma’am, are the reason the rest of us cannot sit down. If you would subscribe to the simple formula of sit, pee, flush, the public porcelain throne remains as clean as your queen’s seat at home, where do you, presumably, sit. Your bum, though I have not seen it, only what it can do, is surely not diamond studded. No more than mine. Let us, then, all sit our sparkly bums on the seat and put our pees in the bowl.
Regards, no, Best Regards,
Linda Anne Dennison
Visit her page to meet the collaborator of this post’s initial idea.
Dear person who has my wallet: Due to the twelve business cards inside bearing my name and email address, my personalized Starbucks card on which you are free to have a drink (on me), and the pretty picture of me on my New York license (though I am not a New Yorker), all your excuses are morally inept. Should you require a reward for the return of my wallet, that can be arranged. The reward for keeping it has already been vanquished with a few phone calls.
Come on dude/dudette, it’s 2012 and I’m oh-so-quick like that. Buy yourself a venti soy something and give it back.
Linda Anne Dennison
Making new friends is awkward, touch and go like learning to drive a car as a teen. Already uncomfortable in the skin you’re in, slamming the brake when you know you shouldn’t, but you’re scared, so you do, this is how it goes.
Making new adult friends is this but with coffee, cold from the afternoon, still in hand as a prop. It’s this with wine in plastic cups like Dixie, like the teeth-brushing rinser-outer cups for me and my brother, but see-through and bigger. More room for more wine for the silences.
But I’m new here so making friends is what I’ll have to do, always slamming on the brakes with Dixie cups of wine.
She stopped at every corner,
snapping photos of the street signs,
individual cobblestones beneath our soles,
bricks in each building,
making history of address labels on wall street skyscrapers,
capturing her traveling soul in photo,
I wish it were Monday. No make-up Monday has such a ring to it. And Mondays are a nice excuse for anything. You know, people have heart attacks on Mondays more than any other day. Alex Trebec knows this for sure.
The point is, today’s a day to get ready the regular way. Jeans-n-boots, my favorite t shirt, with pencil sketches of the band Cream on the front. New gray jacket from H&M, mustard seed necklace, wedding and engagement bands. My hair styles are simple, but there are lots of them. I never like to wear my hair the same way. All my friends know that I’m the best nonprofessional hairstylist they know. I don’t know how it happens; but it does.
And then only lotion on my winter-chapped face. Out the door. You see, I’m often caught in the white lie that I don’t wear any makeup. Ever. And, to be fair, no one ever actually calls me out on this, but I know that when I say it, it’s only a half-truth. I wear exponentially less makeup than everyone I know. Except my girlfriends, Sarah and Charissa, they really don’t wear any. Not in the half-truth way. They may not even own any; you’d never know, pretty faces. Even my little sister, ten years my junior, (parental-style digression diverted) wears more makeup than I do.
For so many reasons, one of the primary being that I like sleep far too much to spend so much morning in front of the mirror, I don’t invest in all the accoutrements that the female population create a market for. Some cover up, a bronzer that has lasted me 6 years and sometimes a touch of nude eye color. The end. But today, the end is the beginning. None.
The circles under my eyes that have puffed up from crying for my best friend, for my girlfriends all 800 miles away, for enduring change and working too much, they stay gray and deep. The pimple that just mysteriously appeared on my right cheek is red from my rubbing it, and it stays red. Bummer for anyone who has to look at it. My eyelids are sort of veiny, I noticed the other day. And today, they remain such. My skin is a little flush in the winter, unevenly so. And tonight it remains.
I’m dressed and ready. I have my bag, my water bottle and a book for the train. I am makeupless and don’t feel self-conscious. Here I come, world. Look at me.
The conundrum of the phone call situation is that I do actually have the mathematical time to return them. But, considering what it takes to return a phone call: the geography, the headspace, the time commitment, the concentration to conversationally catch up, the mathematical time isn’t a great quantifying measure. Returning phone calls is up there with serious commitments like getting married. So when I say I don’t have time or that I’m too busy, I don’t mean in minutes; I don’t mean that I’m flying around with my jet pack strapped to my shoulders on the run all day. What I mean is that I can’t sacrifice all that it takes to commit to a phone call. Or, to be real and raw, I won’t. I value the now too much; phone calls don’t feel like right now to me.
It’s part of the reason I tried so hard and for so many years to brand myself as a letter-writer. Everyone knows. Everyone who knows even a little knows this about me. And they don’t write, no one does (Yes, Strongs, except for you). So I feel, even self-righteously (I’ll admit), totally justified in my ignored voicemails, when my mailbox is empty of your letter.
With a letter, I can choose my geography and a comfortable headspace. I can start the letter on the train, where the cell phone towers can’t reach, and stop when I arrive at work with minutes to spare. I can finish when I get home, listening to Cold War Kids in my stereo speakers and eating an apple at the desk. I can take a walk while I deliver your letter, I can make an appointment, or call my mom (my mom does get calls back; don’t fuss, it’s different). I enjoy writing in a way I do not enjoy the labor of calls, especially calls back, when I’m on the guilty end of the exchange, so stuck and jailed by my phone call obligations. If these nuances could just be public about the weaving and knitting inside of me, I would never have personal, only professional, voicemails. In the meanwhile, I make no sincere apology about this thing I do not do.
I do not make the bed. Except on the rare occasion when the sheets and the duvet cover are all clean and everything smells like bounce freshener sheets which compels deep within me this irresistible urge to be wrapped up tightly and covered with cheese (yes, much like an empanada), except that the cheese is bounce fresh linens and all of this is happening on my bed. When the ends of the sheets are gripped by the mattress bottom, they tug my down snugly so I can’t escape. The comforter and the pillows pile on top of me in a perfectly made bed, making a cave that I could sleep in for days. Ahh.
When the bed does get made, I compulsively hotel-tuck the corners of the bed sheets, though I do not do it well, and it’s only a night or two before the sheet is shamefully hanging on the ground from my big toe. I do not, 361 days out of the year, make the bed (don’t worry, I wash my sheets more often than quarterly). I see no point in making something that we are planning on jumping in, in just a matter of hours, to roll around in and mess up again. It’s a silly cycle. No one needs my bed to be made. My husband’s not a bed-maker; I am not a bed-maker. We are both, conveniently, bed messer-uppers, so there should be no fussing or turn-taking. Only sleeping and reading and snuggling and no making of any kind.
We come out of crumpled sheets and go into crumpled sheets and they are always comfortable and sometimes clean-ish. That’s quite enough in this household, thank you.
My fingers slipped in his grasp as he flung me gently from him in our kitchen big enough for only two. We clenched fingertips, olive oil and garlic clove residue holding us together while he led me twirling back into his embrace, wrapped up like a ringlet curl. His whisper tickled my ear, which he kissed, and my neck. Then we danced. To no music, we danced. Starchy bubbles cracking from ziti tubes, we danced. Wiping the kitchen titles with our socks, we danced like this until the subway grumbled and screeched and announced my stop and the end to my half sleep daydream. I walked home with light feet in the misty rainfall.