Some conversations, one knows from the get-go, aren't going anywhere good. Listening in on the neighbors can be educational, but is seldom a life-enriching experience.
Unless your neighbors are Savage Kitten and myself.
[Savage Kitten, for those of you who are new to the program, is my roommate. Years ago we were an item, but that ended. She's still a good person - people don't change just because they change - and I'm still an irascible old cuss. Frustrated, yes, but a gentleman. She has her own room. We come and go our separate ways, seeing each other in the kitchen or television room.]
The other day she chastised me for not having washed my plate the night before.
"What the heck happened? Did one of the zombies in your closet come out and vomit?!? Dude, can't you do the dishes once in a while? This is absolutely disgusting, what did you eat? Was it still alive when you pulled it kicking and screaming from the trap? Oh I know, you caught one of the neighborhood children and skinned them. Should've grabbed a chihuahua instead, nobody would miss the little turd machines. Not even the bubble-headed blonde what owned the brute. Just don't bring her home.
Man, roasted chihuahua, that's nasty! You're a real barbarian at times."
In actual fact, she does not have Tourette's Syndrome.
Just an active imagination, and a lively tongue.
And she's full of beans in the morning.
Piss and vinegar, always.
Despite her snide attitude she's also a softie.
Over more than two decades I've learned exactly what to hide from her, so that she doesn't feel incredibly sad.
I no longer mention the incidents of poverty and despair I've seen, nor the unhappiness of people I know. No unpleasant news items, no tragedies.
Don't want her face to crumple.
[Aspergers. I cannot help grasping despair, she cannot even recognize the visual evidence of it, cannot see it. Consequently she has no defenses whatsoever when it is made plain When she realizes that there is misery it hurts her right to the bone. Fortunately her Aspergers blinds her to what is often obvious. It's a small blessing. I've spent twenty years trying to keep stuff out of her world. Emotionally I cannot deal with her recognizing unhappiness of that scale.]
But I will say that I do the dishes. Regularly. Often, in fact.
I need to stress this. And I've mentioned it to her, albeit defensively.
She doesn't notice it, doesn't remember that she left a coffee mug stained with chocolate, tea-sludge, and ginger shreds in the sink. Or that marmot that she hunted down and tortured to death. It died horribly.
When putrefying Hobbit corpses disappear, she doesn't wonder how it happened.
And the less said about the occasional burnt sauce pan, the better.
I never heat up milk. And then forget about it.
Or meat - little charred chops.
See, that's one of the reasons we still live together - I'm a saint.
And her rhetorical exuberance still brings a smile to my face.
POST SCRIPTUM: The reason I (sometimes!) leave dishes in the sink at night is because it gives me an excuse to run the water in the morning. That way I do not have to use what has been standing in the pipes all night for my cup of coffee. Yes, I know that San Francisco's agua del grifo is considerably purer than many other places, and that the chance of leprosy, the plague, and tea-partyism being spread by stale water is non-existent.
Still. There's a method. Logic.
Besides, she's Felix Ungar.
Please note that her exclamatory statement regarding the dishes was delivered near an open window to the airwell we share with other tenants and the people in the building next door. They probably all heard it, as the accoustics are excellent. For twenty years they've been looking at me funny. Whenever they see me, they cringe.
They've heard all about my sadism and brutality.
From the kitchen window at the airwell.
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