Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Between One o'clock and Forever

Lamar's for doughnuts, the bank to make the savings deposit, the jeweler to repair a bracelet, the auto service center to change the oil in the car, the grocery store for milk and fabric softener. That was our morning. Not too eventful.

I needed to stick close to home because the furnace repairman was coming between 1 oclock and forever. They never give you a definite time! So at 3 0clock "Rex" shows up. He's a throwback to the 50's with his crew cut and the hyper-proper way he keeps addressing me as "Mrs." The mechanism that turns the pilot light has broken from within and must be replaced he tells me. Okay that's all I need to know so do it.

But like many repairmen he is overexplaining to show he's a good repairman. He wants to tell me all about the inner workings of the damaged piece and how it has five something-or-others like you find in an automobile and says "you know" like I might know that part, and tells me the government won't allow him to disassemble the part because a couple of incompetents blew themselves up and there were lawsuits and now the part must be replaced completely and can't be until tomorrow and I'm thinking that's very interesting but can I get back to the harmony of my afternoon and the oreo cookie I had to set aside when he tapped the garage door uttering, "Mrs?"

Peace again. The phone hasn't even rung all afternoon. The rest of the world doesn't know about us or seem to care. Sometimes I relish that remoteness, sometimes I feel forgotten. Overall, it's up to me how engaged I want to be with the world. I think often about a woman my husband knew growing up. She was the mother of one of his friends. Her name was Thelma and she never left her house or changed out of her housecoat. She lived on coffee, cigarettes and Valium. My husband of course had no explanation for her odd behavior, but I suspect every mother in the world can fill in the blanks.

Thelma had obviously given up. She was that one mother that got sucked up into the vortex called Oblivion. Who knows who of us will fall into it next? Throughout my years raising children I have reflected on this woman I never met and wondered at what point did she make the decision to cross over to Oblivion? And then, why stay there appearing content to blow cigarette smoke through the screen door forevermore? When I was a young mother imagining her frightened and threatened me, but after I'd logged a few years I began to imagine her in a different way--kind of the same way a nine-to-fiver might envy a street bum his freedom. Maybe there was some pleasure in Oblivion I hadn't considered. It certainly couldn't be very taxing and then there's that cozy,"It's four o'clock and I'm still wearing my pajamas" feeling. Still, Thelma remains to me the woman I never want to become.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Hi Aunt Kelli, Uncle Robert, and Cousin Allison!

We are enjoying reading Aunt Kelli's blog and hearing about your Mexican adventure!

Love,
Kathy and the Gang