Once again, I'm doing the Random Tuesday Thoughts thing from Un Mom (click on that picture above and follow the damn instructions after you read this), and once again I am discovering that nothing is completely random. I have been collecting a bunch of tidbits all up in my brainpan, and I thought they were unconnected, but it turns out there is a fine, supple, silky thread that links them together: they are all things my wife hates. As the New York Dolls said, "Everything connects, and that ain't nowhere." (Actually, I always thought it was "that ENDS nowhere," or at least I thought that's what it *should* be. But anyway, check it out--that lyric is from a song called "Vietnamese Baby." And I have two half-Vietnamese babies, which equals one Vietnamese Baby, which pretty much proves my point. And that ain't nowhere.
Hate is such a strong word. And that's why it's the only word that accurately describes the way my wife, a strong, passionate woman of great conviction, feels about certain things. She doesn't hate people (except for Jennifer Love Hewitt, the very mention of whose name makes her gag for reasons unclear to me since I don't think I could pick her out of a lineup; and her transgressions, when brought to my attention, seem only mildly annoying) because that would be uncharitable and wrong. It's just objects and institutions, and things that some people do and say and like that provoke Dr. Mom's ire.
1. The Earth
If you love the earth, as I do, you are probably familiar with hypermiling, the practice of driving in such a way as to minimize fuel consumption. I have developed a similar system for saving water at home, called hyperdiapering.
We use cloth diapers because we decided that it was slightly better to do more laundry than to add to the overflowing landfill. Since we live in a drought-prone area, the environmental impact of cloth diapers is probably about the same as disposables; but the extra work involved in cloth diapers functions as an act of penance for sucking up resources by having children.
When we started using cloth, I followed my wife's orders, and we ended up doing 2-3 loads of diaper laundry per week. I found this incompatible with my environmentalist leanings; so I figured out how to get at least two uses out of each outer covering (we use a couple different systems, both of which involve a cover and an insert) and changing diapers only when absolutely necessary. This brought the number of diaper laundry loads down to one per week.
This is what happened when I demonstrated my earth-friendly achievement to Dr. Mom.
Me: [gestures toward washing machine] Check it out--all of the diapers in one load of wash. There's not one clean diaper left.
Dr. Mom: That's a really full load.
Dr. Mom: I don't think they'll get as clean if the machine is overstuffed.
Me: She said it was okay.
Dr. Mom: What's okay?
Me: Um...like, forty-five or something?
Dr. Mom: Forty-five what?
Me: PSI? Um...she thinks I should have a chemical peel on my face. Also, she said I'd be a good candidate for a hair transplant.
Dr. Mom: You need to get a different doctor.
3. When People Repeat Themselves
Since she remembers virtually everything that anyone has ever said to her, and everything she has ever said to anyone else, it vexes her when she hears the same story more than once. For some reason, she tolerates this in her father, my father, and me. I think she starts daydreaming about dragons when she hears the opening strains of one of our yarns.
4. When People Forget What She Has Already Told Them, Especially Things about Herself
To Dr. Mom, this is the height of rudeness and indicates self-absorbtion on the part of her interlocutor. She will patiently tell her life story over again, but I can see her jaw twitching and her tiny fists clenching because she knows she is once again wasting her breath. As in the case of item 3, I am given an exemption from her wrath when I do this.
5. When People Repeat Themselves
It vexes her.
Like Dwight Yoakam's character in Sling Blade, she just doesn't want them around her. She doesn't hate people who like antiques; she just thinks they are wasting their time and money. Same goes for stuff from yard sales and swap meets. In fact, she has no use for any kind of used-up old dusty junk and considers it an eyesore and an affront to her aesthetics and practicality. There are, of course, a few exceptions: the traditional charm of our 100-year-old house, the reliability and economy of our 13-year-old car, and the classic lines of her vintage husband.