Some of the things my dryer squeaks at me are laughable. For example, “Take a passport, take a passport!” This was followed the next day by, “Read a French book, read a French book.”

I’m not sure why most things are repeated twice but it does serve to emphasize the words, as if there is a sense of urgency I dare not ignore.

Wouldn’t it seem that being told to take a passport, trailed by Read a French book, would imply something? An impending trip perhaps.

Personally, I don’t think I should be allowed to travel abroad. Anyone whose home grows cobwebs long enough to jump rope with is not to be trusted on foreign soil.

Still, I can see me lollygagging in this quaint Paris hotel room. Any cobwebs I might spy wouldn’t be my responsibility would they? I might make mention of it to the young woman who knocks on my door every day to clean. I can see the two of us standing together with craned necks peering up at the unsightly cobweb, foreheads crinkled in mutual consternation.

She would tsk briskly and hurry from the room to fetch a broom. Instantly I would regret my complaint. She can’t be expected to see every dust bunny and cobweb! Think of how many rooms she must be responsible for every day. Regret fills me with the impulse to show her a kindness. When she returns with the broom and knocks down the offending cobweb, we exchange a smile and I press into her hand a piece of candy I’ve been hoarding. The gold foil shines in the palm of her hand as she begins to speak, but I wave off her protest because I can afford to feel magnanimous with all that my quaint little room does for my tired soul.

This is the thing about my squeaky dryer, it gets me to thinking. You can see how one thought on its own might not be much but it leads to another, and then before I know what’s what I’ve woven together a little story that feels so authentic I have to remind myself it’s not a memory.

I’m already grieving that room in Paris with the windows that open inwards, and a twilight so purpled and star-studded that it makes me gasp with delight the first time I see it.





Here’s Something You Don’t See Everyday

I’ve put up with a lot from my dryer.

I didn’t complain when a knob fell off.

When it began snagging my clothes I rolled my eyes a lot, I confess, but I’ve learned to let it go, mostly.

I could call the office and make a request for a replacement dryer. Doesn’t that sound logical and even grown up of me? It really does, doesn’t it. But see, I don’t like people in my space, not when I don’t know them. We’ve gone through so many maintenance guys here that I don’t know any of them. And then I’d have to deal with Fat Cat Midge  freaking out (she doesn’t like strange people in her space either). And here’s another thing, what if someone comes in while I’m out grocery shopping and I don’t know anyone’s here and I walk in and they scare me half to death, and Midge too? Doesn’t it almost seem that it would be easier to bear the burden of an old, squeaky dryer that sometimes snags clothes but also, let’s be honest, keeps me company? Talks to me, anyway, even if in a rather pushy manner.

Here I am defending the old squeaker when what I meant to say is that yesterday it gave me conflicting messages. When I first turned it on, the message was, “Put your hands up, put your hands up!” Later, when I threw a new load into its gaping clothes hole it ordered, “Stir the sauce good, stir the sauce good!”

Well really, which is it? I can hardly do both at once. Do you want my hands up or the sauce stirred?

Later, while pondering my dryer’s bossy and conflicting messages, I happened to look up at my living room ceiling and gasped.

“WOT?!” I exclaimed, and you’ll understand that better if you know I just watched Dickens’ Great Expectations and, worth noting also, I am in the middle of an English novel. So WOT came naturally to me at the moment when I spied with my little eye a mammoth cobweb brazenly swaying from my ceiling.

I don’t pride myself on being a perfect housekeeper, but I’m hardly a Miss Havisham. (Another allusion to Great Expectations.) My home isn’t decaying around me as I sit in my raggedy wedding dress, my wedding cake moldering on the table beside me, refusing to let go of the past. Still, maybe it began like this. Maybe being jilted at the altar broke Miss Havisham’s heart a little, then she happened to glance up at her ceiling and saw evidence of what a pigsty she was living in . . . and she just couldn’t come back from it.

Well, not me. I eyed that cobwebcobweb with as much disdain as I could muster, and went for my broom. Where do these things even come from? It wasn’t there yesterday! Gah, it’s nearly long enough to use as a jump rope.

Then, let’s just add insult to injury, I walk by my french doors and what do I see on the patio? Hair. Clumps of hair. Four or five clumps of them. I swear I’m going to have to start a new category for this blog, something like, “Here’s Something You Don’t See Everyday!”

The hair may not seem hairto be related to the dryer, or the cobweb, or Great Expectations. But you can see how it might have seemed to me. Well. I didn’t holler, “WOT?” when I saw the hair. I merely stood and stared, probably with my mouth hanging open. Then I made one of my sons who was visiting go outside and check it out. This might seem mean, but he’s old a grown up, besides isn’t this partially why we have kids? To do the things we don’t want to do? Or is it just me?

I thought maybe a cat had been been in a really bad fight, but he confirmed it was human hair. Okay. But why on my patio? When did it arrive, in the middle of the night? Did it come with the cobweb? I mean, really?

Just now, I’m not kidding, I saw a neighbor walk by who until today had a full head of dark hair. He’s obviously shaved his head. On his balcony maybe? It’s not directly over me but if he tossed the hair and the wind was blowing . . . ah, mystery solved.

That cobweb, though. That dryer.









Paying attention

My dryer is squeaking out a very brisk, “Where the wind blows! Where the wind blows!”

Behind the squeakiness is the sound of its drum rolling, a cozy sound counterbalancing the frenzied, “Where the wind blows! Where the wind blows!”

The thrumming of the drum makes it possible for me to not mind the squeak so much, though part of me feels like I should stand, ramrod straight, with baton in hand, and conduct this weird orchestra. mohammad-metri-421904-unsplashBut no, I need more than a drum and a squeak. Perhaps my dishwasher would like to join in? I noticed it making some strange sounds earlier. But that’s for another day.

I just want to make note of the fact that I’m keeping record. There’s some kind of message being sent my way, and I’ll decode it because I’m paying attention.