“Because that’s what happens when you elect politicians with no vision who are only interested in saving their jobs,“ I yelled at the television.
“You’re doing it again,” said Pammy, quietly. “The people in the TV can’t hear you.” She’s been dating my son for five years now, and I sometimes forget she’s not my own kid. She does her best to let me know I’m doing things that could possibly be related to the fact I have cats, go to bed at 7pm to watch Netflix and buy something I call fridge wine. I yell at the news, because sometimes it needs to be yelled at.
Like most families, within these walls we have our own strange dynamic that we all understand and usually forgive. When I make a reference to Paul Bunyan and Pammy asks if he was that serial killer, Christopher tells her, no, that was Ted Bundy. We know what she means because we are family.
Everybody has a role; Ari and Christer are the two who can fix the computers and solve the wifi issues, Pam is our best face to send out to deal with people in the outside world and I confine myself to learning as many obscure and useless things as possible.
At the beginning of term when we moved Ari into residence, his new roommate came down to help us unload the car. He was a quiet lad, no doubt still adjusting to the new environment. The moving in was going smoothly until the third trip up in the elevator. The lights blinked once, and then the elevator shuddered to a halt.
“That will be the pee corner,” I announced, pointing to a corner of the metal box we were trapped in. The roommate just stared at me; Ari winced.
“What? I read somewhere if you’re trapped in an elevator, that’s what you’re supposed to do. If everyone has a different idea about something like that, things can get pretty ugly, pretty fast. I’ve heard.”
The elevator wheezed a little and started up again, making my decision a moot point. The roommate briskly exited when we arrived on their floor, and Ari sighed.
“Why do you have to say things like that?” he asked me.
“I thought it was a good bit of knowledge to have. It would have been useful if we’d really been stuck.”
“So would hitting the emergency button and getting out before anyone had to pee in a corner.”
Ari ultimately left school later that week due to a program switch, and if anything, his roommate worked even faster helping him move out.
I’ve reached the point where my brain is like a saturated sponge, unable to absorb anything else. I’ve told the kids that to learn something new, something old must be cast out. I tell them this is why I can’t be bothered to learn how to work all the junk at the back of my computer; I haven’t found anything I’m willing to let go of to make the necessary room in my head. I realize that doesn’t explain why I elect to keep something about trapped-in-an-elevator etiquette, and I wonder what I surrendered for that little nugget.
To keep on top of things, I email myself reminders, especially late at night. I’ll simply drop in a word or two that will be sure to trigger the brilliant thought I can’t be bothered to get up to write down. Without fail, each morning I will open several emails to myself containing a single word, or a badly garbled phrase.
And without fail, I will never know what I’m talking about.