Waiting for Poof!

Tomorrow morning, or, to be exact, later this morning, the nice man with the loud motor and all the hoses and the soap will arrive to clean our carpet.

There is nothing we need more. There is nothing I desire less.

Because before the nice man comes, I have to move all the living room furniture into the dining room, which is already filled with a table, chairs, a sideboard stuffed with china, and a stationary bike. Some of the furniture will spill into the kitchen. If I’m not careful, I won’t be able to get to the cabinet for a glass, the sink for water, or the refrigerator for whatever is in there.

Worse yet, before the nice man comes, I have to pick up everything else that is on the floor. The furniture is nothing. I’ll drag three chairs, two tables, and two lamps onto the tile and tell the nice man to work around the piano, the electronics, the couch, and possibly the bookcases, depending on how hard I want to work.

The tables are a bit of a challenge because I have to move their marble tops separately, and marble is heavy. One of the lamps is old, an oil lamp wired for electricity, that I’ve always loved. It’s a challenge, too, because I’m obsessed with its fragility. My mother bought it in Maryland in 1946. We coexisted peacefully for my first forty years, but since I inherited it twenty years ago, I’ve been afraid I would break it. Someday I’ll post a picture of it, but first I have to remove the cobwebs. In case of breakage, I’m counting on cobwebs to hold the shards together.

But, as I said, all those things are really nothing. David will help. He’s home for Columbus’ Day. He might even be looking forward to the experience. He was furloughed–or, as I prefer to call it, shut down–two weeks ago. He doesn’t appear to be growing restive, but cooking breakfast every day is bound to get boring. Variety is a good thing.

The big deal is that I have to pick up all the books and papers previously stacked and now collapsed all around my chair. Books I need to read, books I have read but need to read again, books that were on shelves until I had the impulse to put them where I could reach them. Notebooks of every shape and size and color, a different one for each purpose, and all now multipurpose because I can never find the right one when I need it. Paper paper paper comprising manuscripts of, it seems, everything I’ve ever written. And other stuff. I suspect there’s more other stuff than anything else. I expect to find several items already given up for lost. Especially another pair of socks. They have to be around here somewhere.

Remember the piece Fancy Fairchild posted on the 15 Minutes of Fame blog, about the cloth-covered boxes stacked behind her couch that she’s trying to pass off as an end table? I have some of those too. But without the cloth or the boxes.

So why, you ask, am I writing about getting ready for the carpet cleaner when I should be getting ready.

Denial, that’s why. Just plain denial. If I look at the monitor rather than at the–stuff–it might tippy-toe over to the kitchen all by itself. It might disappear. Vanish. Atomize. Poof!

Stranger things have happened.


The dining room pictured above is not mine, more’s the pity.

“The saddest words…,” or, “Who cares?”

English: Monkeys Blogging Español: Simios blog...
Image via Wikipedia

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.—Somerset Maugham

After two days of letting A. A. Milne and Mark Twain do my thinking for me, I buckled down this evening and composed an essay about my experiences teaching high school English.

Actually, I wrote about half of a draft in which I said that all except three of my students hated writing, and that when I became a better teacher about a dozen showed slight enthusiasm for writing, and that after the library (to which I had fled in search of a job that would allow me to buy books with other people’s money) connected to the Internet and let students open e-mail accounts, those who had formerly resisted picking up a pen skipped lunch to park themselves at my computers and e-mail students sitting less than a foot away when they could have just turned their heads and spoken face-to-face.

Of course, I said that in shorter sentences, but a lot more of them.

I was planning to say that kids who’d been telling their composition teachers, “But I don’t have anything to say,” suddenly found plenty to say. I was going remark that the novelty of the technology contributed to the verbal onslaught. I was going to mention that the definite sense of aim, mode, and audience also promoted fluency.

I was going to expand the discussion from students with e-mail to adults with blogs. I was going to say that two weeks ago I joined the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) network and, following its dictates, have posted on two blog sites every blessed day for thirteen days straight, even when I haven’t had anything worth saying.

I was going to say I’m running out of pictures of my cats, and there are only so many poses they’re willing to strike, and I’d prefer not be pigeonholed as a chronicler of cute.

I was going to say that more than 12,000 other people are blogging at NaBloPoMo–poetry, journals, photographs, devotionals, stories, recipes, a plethora of words, words, words. I was going to marvel at what appears to be a compulsion among people who, like my students (and I was going to admit I had once shared feeling), would once have found it difficult or foreign or unimaginable to put pen to paper.

I was going to wonder about this desire to create, to share, to vent, to communicate, to play, to do whatever we’re doing when we contribute to the sentences flooding cyberspace.

I was going to say that some people tat or make doilies or whittle, and we write.

Then I was going to draw a lesson, wise and well-phrased, from all the foregoing, and end with a nod to novelist Somerset Maugham, whose words precede mine on this page.

That’s what I said and what I was going to say.

Unfortunately, about three hundred words in, I touched an alien key and deleted everything except the HTML for font, and I couldn’t find the Undo icon because I’d composed on a new blog I’d set up on a rival blog site and hadn’t read all the instructions and found out I’d have to undo with a keystroke rather than an icon.

So now, instead of referring to Maugham, I shall end by paraphrasing Blaise Pascal, Mark Twain, T. S. Eliot, and any others to whom the line has been attributed, and say that this post would have been shorter but I didn’t have time.*

*It would have had better sentence structure, too. But it’s a lot less pompous, ponderous, and moralistic in this who-cares version.


Reposted from Whiskertips, July 23, 2009


Image by Julitofranco (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons