Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life on Wisteria Lane

For a while now my daughter Elvira has been complaining that my life is more interesting than hers. It's true, what she says. I have been cursed by an evil fairy at birth blessed with an interesting life. I was born a red-haired small town scandal, and I've been given interesting stories to tell since. The past few years I've experienced enough for seven memoirs, but all seven would have to be published posthumously. I don't need for my life to get that interesting. Not everyone in my life owns a Prius, you know; some of them actually own guns and pick-up trucks, and those are the ones who would make the most interesting stories.

Last summer Elvira started comparing my life to Desperate Housewives. If you're a fan, you can understand why I would protest. Totally unbelievable plots peopled by rather stereotypical characters that somehow entertained Elvira and me enough that we've watched it for six years and will probably fly our flags at half-mast next spring when the final episode airs. Nobody's life is really like Desperate Housewives though, is it? Of course not... right?

Last summer, shortly after I moved into the 'hood city, I told Elvira she was exaggerating. I said, "Elvira, I think you're exaggerating. Nobody's life is like Desperate Housewives. And besides, I'm not a housewife any more. Since your father, Lt Col Ex, dumped me for a much younger sociopathic liar who used to flatter me by saying she wanted to be me when she grew up and who dyes her hair the same color as mine moved out, I've been teaching...."
"Mom," Elvira rarely lets me finish a sentence. "Face it. You're just like Bree Van de Kamp."
"Bree? Bree? I'm not like Bree! She's a tight ass perfectionist who let both her husband and a boyfriend die while she watched and drove her son to..."
"She bakes muffins and her house is perfect and all kinds of crazy things happen to her. You're like Bree."
"You're just saying that because she's the redhead. How cliched is it to have a blonde one, a redhead, and two brunettes? I think I'm more like..."
Another crazy redhead
"You're Bree. Look at how you kept our house. It was perfect."
"Not all the time. Remember how Hoghead went home and had glitter all over his clothes that one time and I let all the weeds grow up in the...."
"How many times did you vacuum every week?"
"If I  had a lot of papers to grade, that was a treat I gave myself. I'd grade ten papers and then I'd get to vacuum for ten minutes or wash the...."
"Yeah. Bree."
"And besides, I don't live in the suburbs any more and I could never get the carpet in this house as clean as..."
"You're Bree," she repeats herself until I'm exhausted and give in sometimes, but not yet.
"Elvira, Bree is an alcoholic who can't drink wine any more. I drink wine by the box, so I can't be...."
"It's not just the cleaning and the baking. Look at the shit that happens to you!"
"I've certainly never let anybody die right in front of me, although if your father, Lt Col Ex, choked on a chicken bone right now I might...."
"OK, look at what happened the day you moved. You were standing out in the yard talking to your friend, Linda, when you received a text. Just as you pulled your phone from your pocket and looked at the message, the almost full moving van started to roll down the driveway and you watched it crash into the house ..... the house you'd closed on the week before and didn't own any more. And the text was from your close friend who is a lawyer..."
"He just wanted to see how the move was going. He didn't know about the truck when he sent the...."
"....who is a lawyer and whom you had arrested earlier this summer, Mom ... anyway, your friend the lawyer texted you just as a moving truck rolled into your house and nobody was even surprised that the truck rolled into the house. Mom, you're Bree."
"I don't really think it was necessary to bring up the arrest. You know that was painful for both...."
"Mom! That's not the point!"
"It's true that when I called Starr...."
"Your handyman's name is Starr*! One more for my side."
"I love Starr. He's so hot."
"Sorry. It's true that when I called him he didn't even say hi when he answered. He just said, 'What happened now, babe?' OMG, he's so cute! Did I tell you about the time Colorado and I were standing under the skylight while he was fixing the roof and he had on shorts .... "
"Yeah, nobody is surprised any more that you live on Wisteria Lane."
"I live in a gated community now, I'll have you know." **

We've had a variation of this conversation a few times, Elvira and I. She feels kind of cheated that she's 20 and her life is less interesting than her old mom's life, so when she's bored she'll call and get a story. But Desperate Housewives? Really? That seems a little....well, then again, maybe Elvira has a point.

So the new season started a few weeks ago and .... just to catch you up ... Gabby Solis's abusive step-father showed up and attacked her in her house. Her husband Carlos walked in just in time and cracked him over the head and killed him. Now, Carlos has been to prison before, so he didn't want to go back,and besides the step-father deserved to be killed several times over. As they were pondering the situation, the other desperate housewives showed up to help Gabby get ready for her leg of a neighborhood traveling dinner party....well, anyway they walked in.

Bree took control and guided them into hiding the body until the party was over, and then taking it out and burying it in the woods. Then she went home and fucked her hot police detective boyfriend. She eventually broke up with the hot police detective boyfriend and now he hates her .... fuck me, this is so familiar .... And now her daughter is making sex swings and selling them on the internet .....

OMG! I've had an epiphany. I really am Bree Van de Kamp! If I walked into a friend's house and her husband had just killed her abusive step-father, I would so lead the body-burying party. And I would also tell Susan to shut the fuck up and stop whining about it. And I would also fuck my hot police detective boyfriend....OK, that's probably not relevant....but I would so boink that guy in spite of his jumbo ears, and I would break up with him even if it was the last thing I wanted to do. I would do all of that, and the scary thing is ... it's something that I could imagine really happening in my interesting life, and I wouldn't feel one bit of remorse. Not one bit. Well .... maybe about breaking up with the hot police detective, but I'm sure he'd turn into an asshole who deserved it. Inevitably if I went out with him, he'd turn out to be a total asshole and proud of it.

Our cows
How do I know I'm Bree? OK, a couple of weeks ago I made the raw milk pickup for our little herd  share co-op.  Chicken Grrrl came over to get her milk, and as we were carrying a large cooler full of several gallons of milk in half-gallon glass Bell jars from my van to her car, my neighbor across the street, Melvyn, called out, "Hey, baby. Whatcha got in there? You need some help?"
I shouted back, "No, we can carry it."
"You  know I love you, baby. Whatchoo got in there?" Melvyn is in love with me, partly because I'm so lovable and partly because he's an alcoholic, and I attract fucked up men.
"It's a dead body. We don't need to involve you. Love you too."
"OK, baby. You let me know if you need help."
"OK. We don't. It's only one body. We've got this."
As we strained to lift the cooler into the back of her car, I looked up and saw two cops half a block away, walking up the street toward us, just seconds after my conversation with Melvyn. I laughed. "Looks like we're busted with this dead body," I said.

The cops stopped to visit. One of them asked if we lived nearby. I said I lived in the green house there, and  I sure appreciated them walking the neighborhood. He said they worked for the hospital, so they weren't really patrolling for criminals. I noted they had guns and that seemed like a helpful deterrent to crime.

"You could be dealing drugs right in front of me and I wouldn't say anything," the cop told us.
Hmmmm, I thought. (Yes, I really do think, hmmmm, sometimes.) Hmmm. I wonder if he's trying to score some pot.
"I don't think you need to worry about me dealing drugs in front of you," I said. "Usually I'm more discreet than that."
"Well, you could and I wouldn't do anything," he said. I didn't direct him to either of the two drug dealers on the block.
"What if we were carrying a dead body in a cooler?" I said. Chicken Grrrl gasped behind me, as if we had really carried a dead body to her car just minutes before. Then I heard her giggle.
"If you were carrying a dead body, we'd probably have a discussion about that," he said.
I laughed. "Oh, you wouldn't offer to help? I've heard dead bodies are heavy," I said.
"No, I probably wouldn't help," he said. And they soon walked on, leaving us to our cooler full of dead body milk.

Here's the thing: If we'd really been carrying a dead body, I wouldn't have done anything different. Chicken Grrrl would have vomited in the street beside her car, but not me. I would have joked with Melvyn and with the cops about the dead body. And then I would have taken it somewhere--not saying where--and dug a hole and buried it.

It's not that I'm a killer, nor do I want to be. I'm not even a hater. And I'm certainly not a sociopath. Hell, I come out on the opposite end of the spectrum on the sociopath checklist. And I don't think I invite trouble. But in certain kinds of situations, I tend to take control and clean up the mess. And then I make Jello shots bake muffins and make sure life gets back to normal ..... well, what I call normal. For a while .... until the next interesting thing happens.

I've known people whose lives were not interesting, people who either lived through other people, or just didn't live, as far as I could tell. I'm glad I'm not either of those. But sometimes having an interesting life can be a challenge too. Like when calling the police becomes the last reasonable option or a moving van backs into your house, or when a dead body needs to be dealt with. Sorry I can't write about the latter here, should it ever happen, because that's another thing Bree knows how to do. She knows how to keep a secret, and so do I. One thing about an interesting life: even if I keep a few secrets, there will always be more stories to tell. I've been avoiding telling an important one, but my muse Delores isn't going to let me do that much longer. Interesting isn't always funny, is it? Sometimes it's just ... interesting.

* The really sad thing is that Starr died in the middle of the night of a heart attack just a couple of days after he repaired the damage from the moving van crashing into my house. He was only 30 years old. Sometimes no matter how you spin it, an interesting life isn't a funny life. I've got a lot of stories to prove that.
** I live in a neighborhood with locked gates that block the street every two blocks. They were installed in the 90's to prevent high-speed chases with drug dealers and drive-by shootings. It seems to have worked. I drive much slower after I turn down my street, and I still haven't shot anybody.


  1. Hmmm.... maybe its not such a good idea to hang out with you... I know what happens the the minor characters on that show... especially the male ones...

  2. Hmmmmm. Your blog just gets better and better. You might be my new soap opera since (sniff, sniff) All My Children & One Life to Live were canceled.

  3. Diplomat, the minor seasonal characters always start out nice, likeable even ... then it turns out they're lying and hiding something important... and then it turns out they're not nice at all and never were. So they have to be voted off the island .... oh, wait. That's Survivor. So their contracts aren't renewed for the next season and they have to be killed off.

  4. Thanks, 'Zann. Are soap operas becoming a thing of the past? My grandma used to call them her "stories." She'd say, "Let's get a cup of coffee and sit down. It's time for my stories." All My Children and The Young and the Restless. I never hear anybody talk about them any more.

  5. Sigh... there I was fishing for a "Oh, no. You're not a minor character"... instead, I learn I need to watch my back...

  6. I need some of your excellent perspective and sense of humor on leading an "interesting" life. My life is definitely interesting...but I have to work on it not leading me to develop an anxiety disorder. Interesting doesn't feel too far from insanity some days...

  7. If I wrote about all the "interesting" things that happen in my life, Autodidactpoet, I'd 1) be sitting here way too much writing (instead of reading Facebook and pinning shit to Pinterest) and 2) probably piss off a lot of people instead of just a couple a year.

    I have a private blog where I write the really interesting stuff and nobody sees it. I've been thinking maybe I should open an anonymous, brutally honest public blog, but I'm not sure who would read it and I'm not sure that's really ethical. There's something to be said for integrity in writing.

    In any case, I know what you mean about interesting getting too close to insanity, and I wish I had the balls to write into the insanity more often here. It has backfired before though so....I pull my punches.

    Anxiety disorders can be treated with tequila and turned into interesting stories. Always remember that.

  8. I laughed and laughed at this. Dearest and I refer to this as "having luck." Some people seem to have LOTS of luck. Some people have only the good kind, some only the bad kind, but most of the "lucky" people we know have lots of both. We don't tend to be "lucky" ourselves and we're OK with that. After all, there are other people willing to share stories about their lucky breaks and that's entertainment enough for some of us.

  9. Oh, Steve, I have luck ... if you want to call it that. I just call it hanging out with Miss Serendipity. I do try to leave room for her in my life, but I have no control over where she leads me. It happened again today. Miss S must be loving me.

  10. Reticulata - if you mean your Serendipity trip with masturbation and class, I see what you mean. Definitely seems to be more than coincidence going on here - it happens too often, and seems altogether too focused on the most humor laden and embarrassing bits of life. Though your musical theater encounters with the muse of chance seem more about passion than laughter. She's a wild ride.

    I like the way you connect the dots. Some great writing. Like Lisa's writing over at "That's Why." Sharp, open, on target, and belly-laugh funny.

  11. Yes, the masturbation. And today it happened again, so I must write about it. Now maybe people will believe me. Miss S really does give me a wild ride, it's true.

    I'll check out Lisa's blog. I need more blog porn. Some of my current reads are becoming too commercial for my taste.