So, last week, I set my turkey baster on fire while cooking my homemade tomato sauce. The reason my turkey baster was lounging there next to the burner isn’t really relevant. I may have panicked a bit and blown at the fire, which only fanned the flames. My next course of action was to throw a washcloth on it and sort of half-yell, “Um- fire situation here! Small fire!” The husband came in on his white steed, took over, and then gave me his “intense” look.
This is why I don’t cook.
The family eventually made it to the table, and John attempted polite dinner conversation.
“Did you hear about what’s going on in Wisconsin?”
“Yes, they won the stupid Super Bowl. I was present at the game, if you recall. The women were sitting on the floor while the men were sitting on the couches? Remember?”
“I don’t recall that, but that’s actually not what I’m talking about.”
“Well then please proceed and tell me what’s going on in Wisconsin.”
“The new conservative governor is pushing new legislation, trying to make it illegal for government workers to unionize, and people are totally freaking out. 25,000 protested.”
“That’s quite a few people for Wisconsin.”
“That’s what I’m saying.”
“Guess the Super Bowl afterglow is over.”
“They make cheese in Wisconsin.”
“That’s true.” Pause. “You don’t really care about what’s going on in Wisconsin, do you?”
“Not at this particular moment. I’m still mourning the loss of the turkey baster.”
“Yes, with all the basting you do, I understand your grief. So. What did you do today?”
“I’ve been working on the ultimate workout playlist. Speaking of which, I have a question for you. Is there an easier way to scroll up and down on the iPod? I put my thumb across the circle, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
“Let me see this- this is how you work it.”
“Oh! You scroll up and down by going AROUND the circle! The middle of the circle doesn’t do anything!” Pause. “You know who would really enjoy my kickass workout playlist? Those people in Wisconsin. It was would totally pump them up. Great protesting songs. Like, for instance…” I scrolled through the songs like I’d been doing it for years, “"Right Now" by Van Halen.”
“Van- Van Halen?”
“Yes. 'Right Now' by Van Halen.” More “intense looks” commence. “Are we not a fan of Van Halen?”
Apparently we are not.
Later that evening, I curl into bed with my tattered copy of Great Expectations. (You think it is tattered because I have read it over and over again. Not the case. It is a used Penguin copy I “borrowed” a very long time ago when I was a substitute teacher. Imagine what the Wisconsin protestors would do with that piece of information.)
John yawns and gets ready to turn off his light.
“Y’know?” I say, “Reading Dickens is a definite aphrodisiac.”
John perks right up.
“You just said reading Dickens is an aphrodisiac.”
“I said no such thing. Why on earth would I say that? Stop looking at me that way.”
“Here are your words, verbatim, ‘Reading Dickens is a definite aphrodisiac.’”
“I said reading Dickens is a great soporific device.” (Pointed yawn.) “See? I’m sooo sleepy.”
(Sometimes I confuse words with others. Aphrodisiac might be one of those words.)
“Just admit that you said aphrodisiac.”
I consider this.
“It’s been a long day, what with the compiling of great eighties hair band songs, nearly burning the house down, and now I’m trying hard to work my way through this enchanting but sleep-inducing tale of redemption. We’ve had a trifle misunderstanding! I’m not even sure why you married me, anyway. I obviously have the IQ of a gnat.”
John mumbles something about the reason he married me into his pillow, and it sounds like it had nothing to do with my brains. I read to him in a British accent, because reading Dickens in a cockney accent is just so fun, and he's asleep in five. I’m left alone to ponder what the heck Pip sees in Estella when he could have the perfectly lovely, warm, and hardworking Biddy. The house still smells faintly of burnt rubber, and I can’t get Van Halen out of my head. I'm so sleepy, but won't drift off for another three hours.
Van Halen and Dickens, by the way, don’t mesh very well.
Sometimes, that’s just the way things are.