This is Why We Fight

Everything is beautiful outside. Even the dingier streets of my town are lined with blossoming pear trees. Forgotten bushes erupt in bright pink flowers. My yard is bright yellow with dandelions (which I think are pretty rather than weedy).

On Thursday my neighbor pulled me aside to show me “what she sees” from her yard. What she sees includes the cap to my truck lying next to the driveway, a messy woodpile, some pallets learning against the garage. She can’t even see the weedy state of my garden.

She said hi to at least three people walking by while shaming me about my garden. She is the soul of friendliness, you see. I told her about how interesting and busy DP and I were, as if to show that our winning personalities and creative lives were more important than our inability to stack wood neatly.

I fussed over her cat, the big tough tomcat with the dainty mew. He hunts moles in my yard and stalks birds in our blackberry patch. (Fortunately she can’t see it. The canes are sprawling and messy. We make jam from the berries that we give our friends.)

Facebook is hazardous on Mother’s day. After two seconds I clicked out of my feed and went to sit on the porch. Mr. Dog came out to sit with me. We looked perfectly happy in the spring sunshine. (I was not unhappy, and who knows what was going through Mr. Dog’s brain?)

My radio station is playing Hank Williams. But I don’t mean Mr. Hank Williams (also covered by my favorite singer, just an aside because it is so fucking good even if the audio is terrible); rather, it’s Hank III, who embodies everything is wrong with country radio.

Sure I write pretty sentences, but am I thinking the memoir through enough? Do I ask and answer the right questions?

Do you keep up appearances?


12 responses to “This is Why We Fight

  1. You know, the hardest lesson I’m attempting to learn is to stop assuming I know what other people are thinking when they look at me and mine.

    If I make such a bad first impression on someone that they don’t want to bother with a second one, then they aren’t worth my time, either. It’s a semi-working theory.

    • It’s true, unless you have previously undisclosed mind-reading skills.

      I want to sit her down and say, “Really? Why does my woodpile bother you this much?” But I probably do not want to know the answer.

      • Only sporadically.

        Why not stand her up and say, “I dont’ know much about woodpiles, really. How do you think this should be done? Could you show me? Here, I’ll sit and watch you do it.”

      • Heh. Now there’s an idea. Other suggestions have included inflatable santas all year round, the largest compost pile in the state of [redacted], and roosters.

  2. I am a natural neatnik, and my mother’s philosophy was always, “it doesn’t matter what you have, but it matters how you take care of it.” When I was little and we were living in ratty apartments and broken-down houses, we spent a lot of time cleaning and rearranging furniture and making the outside look as nice as we could. This has stuck with me.

      • Now THAT I have, but otherwise …

        When I divorced my practice husband and fell into a huge funk, my therapist advised me to start with just making my bed everyday, that by walking by a made-up bed and getting into it at night would make my life not seem like such a mess. I hated to admit she was right, at least for me.

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