When deeply absorbed in an art project, I have the unfortunate habit of neglecting household chores and my personal appearance. I mean, why bother if you’re just going to get paint on your clothes anyway? Since I’m not very social I can usually get away with it, but occasionally it leads to rather awkward situations…like the one this afternoon. Here is a story I wrote to deal with my embarrassment.
For centuries aristocrats have indulged in the luxury of employing butlers. Butlers, believe it or not, are essentially professional door openers. Butlers have slick dark hair to match their stiff bowties, they bear refined yet unassuming names like Wadsworth or Wilkins and speak in polished British accents…all traits apparently essential to successful door opening. Hiring a door opener is understandable if you are too short to reach the handle, or immobile; but for a perfectly healthy person to retain a butler seems to be the epitome of sloth. The reasons behind the persistence of this seemingly superfluous tradition have mystified me…until today.
Just having moved to a new state and living a somewhat hermetic life, I rarely have visitors, so I was unprepared when I heard a knock on my door this afternoon. Daniel and I had been playing rather loudly, laughing and jabbering baby talk. The house was a mess so I didn’t want to answer, but whoever was at the door would surely have realized from the noise that I was home. Hoping it wasn’t an unfriendly neighbor with a complaint about the racket, I peered trepidatiously through the peephole. The knocker was a woman who, to my relief, didn’t look grumpy. Deciding she wasn’t here to complain, I opened the door. The woman was Sister Palmer, a sweet lady from church wondering if I would like to go for a walk. Suddenly the mess in the living room seemed magnified, it was chaos. Much to my embarrassment, while Daniel distracted me with his innocent chatter, most of my possessions (including the T.V. and a kitchen chair) had apparently migrated haphazardly to the middle of my living room floor. Why is it that clutter has a tendency to collect en masse at inopportune moments exactly where it will be most visible? There were baby toys, baby blankets, baby clothes (are you sensing a theme here?), and yes, even baby diapers, all in my relatively small front room for Sister Palmer to see. Flustered, and anxious to shut the door and hide the mess, I suggested that we go walking some other time and said a lame goodbye.
It was only after shutting the door that I realized not only was my house a mess, I was a mess too. My hair was in a disheveled pony tail and I was wearing my husband’s largest basketball shorts with a mismatched olive green jacket. As if that weren’t enough, I was also wearing socks with lurid green stripes that went all the way up to my knees. Those socks would have made me look like the Wicked Witch of the West if the rest of my outfit hadn’t been so ridiculous…I was mortified. If only I could have melted like the Wicked Witch instead of just looking like her.
Conclusion? Someone else is answering the door next time. I’m hiring a butler.