Monday, August 25, 2008
My roommate and best friend from college, Janice, and her family are visiting this week. I didn't feel as much pressure to prepare for her arrival as I do normally when guests arrive since she surely has memories of my slovenly housekeeping in the dorms and anything she encounters here would be a vast improvement over those piles of dirty clothes and empty Coke cans. Actually, now that I reflect on it, not much has changed except the Coke cans have become Diet Mountain Dew cans.
My name is Saskia and I am a Diet Mountain Dew-aholic.
I wake up in the morning at 5:30 am and the only thing that keeps me from hanging myself by the cords of my Roman shades is the anticipation of the sweet bliss of cracking open the sweating aluminum skin of my favorite neon yellow beverage. Soon I will not be able to even look in the direction of ice cream because the enamel will have eroded off every tooth, leaving a mass of tender exposed roots. Then I will have to mainline my Diet Mountain Dew through my arm veins.
Janice's little boy, Dalton, who just turned two, looks like he could be Frankie's little brother. They both have dusty brown hair, straight as the Ohio Turnpike, and big brown eyes and are both built on the same Lilliputian scale. From behind, they both have hips about as a wide as my thumb. Frankie enjoys condescendingly quizzing Dalton on his knowledge of colors. They sit across the counter from each other while Frankie holds her thermos next to her chest, below counter-height and points to the most miniscule printing and asks him to identify the color. Needless to say he has difficulty with this, what with the fact that the letters are 2mm high and he is trapped in a high chair at least four feet from her. Janice tells her very politely that perhaps she ought to pick something he can see a little bit better when I know what she wants to say is HE IS NOT RETARDED, FRANKIE, IN FACT HIS IQ IS PROBABLY TWELVE TIMES HIGHER THAN YOURS, HE JUST DOESN'T HAVE X-RAY VISION. I know this is what she is secretly thinking because it is the kind of thing I would secretly be thinking.
It is slightly satisfying to me to see situations where Frankie has the upper hand because she has been the loser so often. There is nothing that makes an ordinarily compassionate lover of children want to break the limbs of an innocent six-year-old quite so fast as when he disses your two-year-old. Cole, a little boy down the street, comes over to play with our next-door neighbor, Evan, occasionally. He is focused entirely on Evan and he will not deign to look to the left nor the right to acknowledge my child who is frantically standing next to him shouting "Cole, Cole! Look Cole, I have a wagon, Cole! You want to take a ride in my wagon, Cole? You can, Cole! I will pull you, Cole! I will pull you! You can! Cole, Cole, look at this wagon, Cole!" And I watch while secretly thinking of poisons that leave no trace at autopsy.