Sunday, May 24, 2015

Housecleaning, and criticism

At last, at last, FINALLY!  I finally have the urge to clean my house.  Yes, indeed, perhaps y'all are different from me in this, but if I am not feeling this particular drive, I can let the house get into a very un-lovely state.   I just -- well, I don't want to say I can't, since of course I know I could, but when this apathy takes hold, I really, really don't do any cleaning of the homestead.  Dishes pile up.  Laundry sits around in wobbly tilting stacks in the bedroom.  Dust builds up on shelves in the bathroom.  And worst of all, I feel no shame or distress at this dreadful situation.  I just look at it and register it like it was a sunny day, or clouds in the sky.  "Huh," my brain goes. "Yup, that dust is getting thick."

So I came home from work on Friday night and chatted with my neighbors for half an hour or so, and then went in, planning to sit in my chair with some dinner and read.  But while I was in the kitchen, adding some teriyaki sauce to the pork chops browning in my favorite frying pan, I looked over at the sink.  And then turned on the hot water and squirted some soap, and washed those dishes, while keeping an eye on the pan and the progress of the chops.  Oh, the relief!
Since then, I've done two drainer loads of dishes, taken out the garbage, washed the floor, and straightened out the contents of the pantry cupboard, and the feeling of need-to-be-cleaning has not gone away.  I am sitting at the office, planning on where I am going to attack when I get home.  Such an excellent feeling to be having!  Perhaps it will stay with me this time!

Just finished reading a Nelson DeMille called "The Quest" -- not one of his best, cuz he has written a couple of really good, interesting and imaginative books.  Really, he has.  I have read and re-read "The Charm School," and found that the story line and the characterization made up -- mostly -- for the sort of schlocky themes, and paternalistic viewpoint. 

This one was a compilation of all the DeMille standards, tied together around a very old and threadbare plot.  I had started reading it while waiting for a computer to open up, and then I kept reading it because there it was in my hand, even while the Me of my brain kept asking, "Why are you reading this garbage?  This is garbage!  Why are you continuing to run your eyes down the page and then turn to the next one?"

The two-men-and-one-woman idea was there, slightly more pronounced than usual.  There was nothing particularly interesting about the woman, except that she was one -- she had soft skin and long hair -- but that made her worth introducing to the story, just to give the two men, only one of whom we cared about or believed in, something to fight over and show off for.  And the plot was tiny, and unbelievable by anyone, and had been done by many and frequently far better.  The bad guy was very, very bad, and seemed crazed with it, except he wasn't, he was quite sane.  But that degree of badness is so very easy to hate and shy away from. 

Mr. DeMille was doing his DeMille thing of careful description of the action being performed by the people -- so all along this journey to find the Grail (yes that's right) he was describing the way palm leaves shift in the lightest breeze so that it is very difficult to know exactly what shapes they may be concealing -- but then lost interest, or gave up, or something, and the climactic scene was about three-quarters of a page.  Really.  Much more attention was paid to the description of the cell which held the priest who told them the story that started them along this quest.  Much more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Watch yourself

I am in the library, at the computer table.

Homeless Man: (suddenly and loudly, lurching forward to stare at me)

"Did you know the family was guilty of treason?"

Me: " I did NOT know that."

Homeless Man: "True story. Better watch yourself, sister."