Hear Me Out


December 26, 1998


It's the end of a very long Thanksgiving weekend and I'm sitting in a steaming bubble bath nursing a strong grapefruit juice on the rocks and my aching body, trying to recover.

Because I am in a relationship with a lunatic, I get to, during the course of the long weekend, cook for a party of 12 (including her mother) and tile a bathroom. There are no gender rules keeping us in line and out of harms way so we blithely bumble along, cooking and tiling like there is no tomorrow.

What I have come to realize is there is actually no tomorrow because I have died as a direct result of injuries sustained today.

Like a well trained wife, I got my Thanksgiving menu and grocery list ready last Sunday. Up and down every aisle - looking at every box, can and bag, contemplating the possibility that I might, in case of emergency, need any of these items. I picked through the mushrooms one at a time. I selected the green beans with care and calculation. I had to wrestle the perfect turkey out of the hands of an elderly man in a walker. What the hell does he need a 20 pound turkey for anyway?

I was in and out in an hour and a half. I had, at the very least, 1.3 million plastic grocery bags. I'm sure that the Bag Boy oath of office mentions that no bag shall contain more than three small items or one large item!

I got home and Leslie unloaded the groceries and put them away. You see -- that is how a healthy, balanced relationship works. Each person does what she is good at and the other picks up the slack. While putting the groceries away, Leslie mentioned no less than 10 items I did not have and needed desperately for Thanksgiving dinner.

No problem. In order to avoid the lines, I'd go to the store near my office BEFORE work and then put the stuff in the fridge at the office. It's all still there if you are interested in a nice spinach dip served in your cubicle.

So, like many before me, I had to go to the store Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Leslie was wonderful - she offered to go with me. That is true love. An offer, no matter how insincere, to brave a parking lot full of angry, competitive drivers and a store filled to the gills with crazed shoppers only to face a surly checker with bad breath and raw fingers.

The doors slid open as I was hit with a warm, angry wall of noise. Children ran free. Men whimpered uncontrollably into bags of fresh cranberries, unsure if they were jellied or whole and positive that their wife would kill if brought the wrong one, yet again. I ignored it all and went to find perhaps the last remaining pint of sour cream and a fresh round of sourdough.

The instrumental version of "Copacabana" was interrupted by a plea for help. "Cathy, can I get a 501 on check stand three?"

"Cathy went home." came the hollow reply.

Eventually I made it through the store and parked behind a man with a mountain of food. I waited and read bad movie magazines. Julia Roberts and Susan Serandon are doing a movie, titled "Stepmother".

"Mark, please come bag on check stand eleven." Another pitiful cry into the wilderness.

"Mark is getting carts." came the voice of doom, you could hear the inference that he may never return.

It was Leslie's idea to invite all the holiday orphans for dinner. It was also her idea to tile the bathroom floor over the long weekend.

"After all, Thanksgiving is over in one day. That will leave us with three to do the work." Like a modern day typhoid Mary, Leslie rarely suffers as a result of the activities she instigates.

I, on the other hand, often return to work on Monday bandaged and limping. This weekend's injury list reads like a bus full of crash victims. I've got cuts, blisters, burns and punctures on my hands. My back, hips and knees are killing me. It hurts to lie, sit, stand or move.

I've also got a series of mystery bruises all over my body. You know what I'm talking about. You are so active and distracted that you run into things, drop things and generally do damage to yourself but you don't notice it until hours later when you take time to pee and see a red-purple bruise the size of a saucer swelling up on your thigh.

I figure since I get a say in the next home improvement project, we are putting in an intercom system throughout the house. Every room, every closet including the basement will be wired.

"Laura, can you give me a hand up here? Oh, and bring the drywall hammer with you." Leslie's voice burbles throughout the house.

"Laura's outside getting carts."

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Copyright 1998 by Laura Jiménez.


Updated 12/29/98
D&S Associates