Sometimes it's a mind clarifier to point out the inaccuracies in your own life - that blend of irony and confusion that makes up your unique mindset. Bottom line: I'm all confused. You probably are too. Let's talk amongst ourselves...
Martha Wouldn't Be Proud
November 24th, 2008: My first day back from the Big Journey. Refusing to enjoy the comforts of home and longing for the road immediately, I decided to cook some boiled eggs - my recovery sustenance after the evil gastro disease of October. Somehow it seemed more comforting than a bucket of ice cream or fried food to sit at home and munch on the simplicity of a jiggly egg.
I put a pot on the stove with water just covering the four rolling eggs. My father told me to put them on high heat. Forty-five minutes later, the fire trucks were parked in front of my home, while I ran outside waving them down with a white dish towel.
Upon placing the pot down on the licking flames, Dad called me downstairs to teach the art of stapling canvases onto frames, since I purchased many abroad for presents and such. After a few minutes, he took off for the gym, and I saw my comfy armchair/office and sat down to continue the work I thought I was doing prior to the art lesson.
I started smelling burnt popcorn and figured Dad had done it again, completely forgetting he took off. Even after the alarm started buzzing from smoke, I figured he was taking care of his microwaving mistake. Eventually, the beeping, the lack of footsteps upstairs, the sudden flash of sulfur up my nostrils, everything came together, and I jumped up so fast I hurdled the couch in my way.
The remains of four eggs were fused onto the bottom of a bone dry saucepan. Bits of yolk and white splattered every surface like shrapnel from the stovetop bomb. Opening up windows and turning on fans, ventilation couldn't happen fast enough. The phone rang. My parents decided to choose a security code we hadn't used since our days in elementary school, but after exhausting all other password choices and calling Dad's unresponsive cell phone for help, the security representative on the other end realized I was telling the truth, that I was legitimately family...and just plain dumb.
The mess was cleaned up by the time I heard the distant fire trucks. A weight pressed on my heart as the sounds grew closer, and I made a plea to the Swiffer in my hands to stop all the madness and embarrassment as I cower in the corner of the pantry.
I'm not often embarrassed. I've tripped, been pantsed, made inappropriate comments and not been as embarrassed as I was when the fire trucks pulled in front of my home. My neighborhood being a clone of Pleasantville, half my neighbors came outside holding their dogs and looking worried.
Being on the road for so long apparently stripped me of domesticity. I forgot how to be a suburban American. It doesn't make much sense when you calculate the 22.7 years I spent learning such skills compared to the 7 months it took to forget nearly everything.
And you may ask, "What does one have to learn in middle-class American suburbia?" Well, a lot.
The correct way to answer the phone: "Hello, Lindsay speaking..." instead of "Hello? I don't know where anyone is...what's the date?"
Proper laundry etiquette: wear clothes once, then wash. After months home, I still preferred the sniff test...to my detriment.
Bathroom manners: use the toilet. My crazy eyes darted outside often, wondering if the neighbors would see me if I pulled an African overland squat in my back yard.
Balancing technology time and rest time: instead of taking breaks and interacting with people on a regular basis throughout the day, I worked online 16 hours a day and forgot how to form sentences verbally.
Proper public attire: I apparently embarrassed my mom when I went to the mall to visit her, wearing nothing but cloud print footed pajamas and a Santa hat. I thought it'd be funny.
Travel the world. Learn about yourself. Try new things. Stretch your limits. Come back home with new eyes...apparently to find out you've forgotten everything you once knew and must learn again.
Does any of this happen to you all, or am I the only one that comes home domestically awkward?