Continuing with the trend of being hit on by policemen, today one actually asked me what I was planning on doing with a very large roll of bubble wrap I was pulling off the shelf at Home Depot. I felt like telling him "wrapping up the bodies of creepy cops in my basement," but he would never have bought it. Because New Orleans does not have basements.
Instead, I said "I just like to pop this stuff." And scurried away like the frivolous bit of awkwardness I transform into when encountering strangers of any shape. The fact this stranger was carrying a weapon and inquiring into my storage habits was even more disconcerting.
But, bubble wrap being proof, spring cleaning is in full swing. I woke up one morning about a week ago determined to get rid of 39% of my stuff - a reasonable percentage. I have become obsessed with clean lines, clean surfaces, and no reminders of things that have made me unhappy.
My mother has come into town for the occasion. ("Why did you run away from that cop like that, Erin? He seemed really nice.."). Spring cleaning with my mother is interesting namely because she really deserves a special spot on that show Hoarders. In fact, a good deal of the time is spent with her trying to convince me to keep things I may need "one day." I guess for when I time travel back into the '90s.
"Mom," I say in the middle of shoving things I have never used nor want to ever see again in boxes, "would you like this pedometer? The gym I no longer belong to gave it to me, and I never used it. See? Original wrapping?"
"Oh, I have like three of those things." (five minutes later) "Where did you put that pedometer? I could use that."
The big drama came with the hanging of some blinds to replace the awful grandmothery curtains in my dining room that were left here by the seller. Hanging blinds in New Orleans historic homes are a nightmare because the window frames are sinking as unevenly as the swampland beneath us. Following exactly an hour and a half, and six different sets of blinds, the Home Depot girl allegedly cut the two sets I needed to size. Well, one set, yes. The other - a little too short on both ends, so if you just tugged on it a little, it would come crashing down heavily.
"We have to take these back," says my mother who, normally calm under the most trying of circumstances, is frustrated almost to tears by the work of crooked framing, the bright sun through my ancient thin window panes and the fact that while she has been slaving away, I've been entertaining myself by trying to talk my depressed aunt into riding the wave or taking her xanax or learning Basque. Admittedly, of us two, I was probably having a better time.
I make kissing noises into the phone, hang up and sigh. I don't want to go through the whole Home Depot thing again. The people on power trips inquiring into my bubble wrapping needs, the people trying to help me find refrigerator filters, my overwhelming desire to suddenly run down the long aisles yelling for someone to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Actually, it was more like I felt bad for the girl who tried so hard to get it right. Also, she talked to her pen. Like a person who happened to be named "Pinky."
"These blinds are going to kill you," my mother says dramatically. And on cue, the blinds again fall to earth. She looks at me nervously.
"I'm just going to stuff the gaps with something white and firm and that should brace it and hold them up."
"Oh good, you've got some cotton balls?"
"Um, not exactly. But I think I have something."
20 minutes later and the blinds are no longer threatening to be homicidal. I am studying my wineglass, delighted in my ability to be thrifty, nifty and get out of returning to the hell that is a home improvement store.
"Tampons! Who knew?" my mom says, reluctant admiration sneaking through her voice.
I smile and twirl my wine glass on the table of my barren and beautiful home, almost like a real grownup.
It Is Happening Again
20 hours ago