Le’s discuss gender roles, shall we? Ours — mine and Fang’s — are fairly traditional. In that, I’m expected to cook, clean, do laundry, fill out forms, RSVP, make phone calls, have keys made, change the sheets, do the dishes, feed the cat, and, I’m sure, a thousand other things that I’m just too overwhelmed to list. My husband does three things. He vacuums, cleans the litter box, and takes out the garbage.
He does the litter box and the garbage fairly regularly. It’s the vacuuming that he slacks off on. He puts it off until the dust bunnies look like tumbleweeds. When I don’t have my glasses on and have occasion to glance under the couch or the chair — usually when I’m glancing under furniture I’m looking for where the hell my glasses have gotten themselves to — I sometimes think that another cat has taken up residence here at the hovel. While that would certainly explain the amount of cat food I go through in a week, it’s never the case. The thing under the couch is never a new pet. It’s just a dust bunny the size of a small animal.
Come to think of it, maybe this is why these accumulations of dirt, hair, and dead skin cells are called dust bunnies in the first place. Some other vision-impaired person, hunting for an earring or a dropped writing implement, probably had the bejeesus scared out of them by dust the size of a bunny.
I don’t scare easily. Nor am I that blind. I know what I’m looking at when I see one lurking under the chair. And it irritates me.
Wanna know why? Because he has three things to do around this joint. Three.
When, after stumbling across a dust bunny the size of a miniature pony, I remind him of this, our conversation will usually go something like this:
ME: I’m wondering, have you read anything about Budweiser losing a Clydesdale?
FANG: What? No. Haven’t heard anything about that.
ME: Well, if you do, I want you to let them know that I may have come across it today. Underneath your chair.
FANG: What? There’s a Clydesdale underneath my chair? What are you talking about?
ME: It’s not really a Clydesdale, it’s just the size of one. I came across a dust bunny today that is the size of a Clydesdale underneath your chair.
FANG: Oh, really? Did you find your glasses?
ME: Yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that you didn’t vacuum. And my glasses weren’t underneath the chair — or the couch for that matter. They were in the bathroom. Did you move them? Because I swear that I took them off in the kitchen last night.
FANG: If you took them off in the kitchen, why would you be looking in the living room?
ME: Because they weren’t in the kitchen. Did you move them?
FANG: Yes. I moved them. Into the bathroom. Of course I didn’t move them. If I had moved them from the kitchen — where they never probably were in the first place — I wouldn’t have moved them into the bathroom. Who keeps glasses in the bathroom? Wait. Don’t answer that. You do.
ME: Yes. Now and again I need my glasses in the bathroom. Like when I need to use some lotion — and I want to make sure that I don’t squirt something that is NOT lotion onto my body. I sometimes have a need to READ things, like labels, in the bathroom. I wish I could wear them in the shower without them fogging up. I can’t tell you how many times a week I condition before I shampoo. Those bottles should have different colored caps or something, don’t you think. I’m going to write to Pantene. Make a suggestion.
FANG: I have a suggestion — one that doesn’t involve contacting shampoo manufacturers nationwide. I mean, what are the odds they’ll do it? Changing their cap colors will probably be time-consuming and expensive for them, don’t you think?
ME: I think it would be a great marketing tool.
FANG: For who? You?
ME: Yes. And for people like me.
FANG: There aren’t that many people like you, dear.
ME: Ain’t that the truth!
FANG: Well, just in case you’re unsuccessful in your attempts to get Pantene — and everyone else — on board with your improvements, why don’t you just put the shampoo on one shelf ALL THE TIME and the conditioner on another shelf ALL THE TIME?
ME: Maybe I’ll just buy a smaller shampoo and a larger conditioner. It would be more expensive, but I suppose it would solve the problem.
FANG: So would following basic organizing principles.
ME: Or, I could just use plumber’s tape. Ya know, red for shampoo, blue for conditioner. I’ll just stick a piece of tape on the bottles when I bring them in from the store.
FANG: You’d have to remember the red for shampoo, blue for conditioner scheme ya got going there, though. That might pose a problem.
ME: I’d remember. It’s alphabetical. “B” comes before “R”, “C” comes before “S”. Simple.
FANG: Yeah, but shampoo comes before conditioner in the order of how they’re used.
ME: Don’t confuse the issue. The alphabetical thing will work.
FANG: So would just putting them where they belong.
ME: Well, following your line of reasoning, I’d have to put the shampoo on the upper shelf and the conditioner on the lower shelf — because that’s the order I use them in, right?
FANG: Obviously that’s not the order you use them in all the time or we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But, yeah, that’s how I’d do it.
ME: I’d do it differently.
FANG: Of course you would, dear.
ME: Hear me out. I would put them in alphabetical order — the conditioner on the upper shelf, the shampoo on the lower shelf. Because that’s how I think.
FANG: You think alphabetically?
ME: Are you even the least bit interested in helping me solve my problem?
FANG: Of course, dear, that’s what I’m here for.
ME: You know there’s a fly in the ointment of your little “shelf plan” don’t you?
FANG: What fly?
ME: Fangette. Your darling daughter. Not only will she not be the least bit interested in following the plan, I can guarantee you that she’ll move the bottles around just to fuck with me.
FANG: Don’t tell her.
ME: Well, that would guard against the deliberate sabotage that we both know she’s capable of, but not against her just willy-nilly putting the bottles back wherever she felt like putting them.
FANG: Maybe you’d better get some of that plumber’s tape.
Do you see my problem here, folks? He derails me. He changes the subject. Did you notice that we never got back to the dust bunnies? Did you also notice that I am now tasked with obtaining two different colors of plumber’s tape? Do I even have to tell you that he still hasn’t vacuumed?
photo credit: shampoo