Archive for May 2014

One more lament from Larissa…

Now that LARISSA TAKES FLIGHT: STORIES has officially launched you can read all of her adventures and musings in paperback form, but here’s an extra one for the weekend…

Larissa and Spring Cleaning

I don’t trust my mother’s new vacuum cleaner robot. It’s just one more way technology is covertly planning to make us dependent and take over the world. The solution is obvious, stay dirty, but my boyfriend doesn’t agree and hands me the mop while he takes up the toilet brush for our war against the bathroom, and I sigh but march after him because it was his house before it was mine and this is part of the pact of being in a relationship. .
I understand that there are germs I can’t see and dust mites could give me respiratory problems, but it’s hard to be concerned about the invisible. My boyfriend scrubs the bowl wearing yellow plastic gloves and says I could have said the same thing about the black plague. He’s researched the dangers of uncleanliness and tries to haunt me with tales of rats and influenza, but I say being too clean reduces your immunity to icky bacteria. Bacteria, along with technology, has always been plotting against us.
My boyfriend has a job in the produce department, which makes him feel ethically pure and lets him tell people when eggplant and tomatoes are on sale. He is used to the repetitive nature of cleaning, mopping up spills and footprints and putting out yellow signs to tell people the floor is wet, so if they slip they can’t sue the store.
I know the effort is useless. After I clean things will just get dirty again.
My boyfriend says it’s like those sand paintings monks do as the meditate, letting the grains slip through the fingers to form intricate mandalas that take half a day to create before they blow them away and form the next one. He says permanence isn’t the point, the point is the act itself, and he looks at me over the rims of his glasses like he thinks it’s my fault that I can’t find solace in mopping.
I never felt bad about dirt until my mother came to visit, because she guilted me into cleanliness like she did when I was a kid so I vacuum in a haze of remorse. Mom said I’d feel different about cleaning when I got older, I’d notice dirt like she did. That radar never kicked in, so I was born without it or mine is just defective. She loves my philosopher boyfriend, says we make a great couple, but I’m sure half of this is because he believes in brooms.

Another Larissa story (exclusive to my blog)

Less than two weeks before the official launch of Larissa Takes Flight: Stories, so here’s another one of her adventures to whet your appetite.

Larissa vs. the Refrigerator

┬áBecause my fridge is vindictive it dies with a half a chocolate cheesecake inside and I launch into a panic because there’s seventy bucks of food crammed in that white box, so I carry it in laundry baskets from apartment to apartment in the building, pleading for sympathy and fridge space (but please don’t eat the cheesecake). After an hour most of my provisions have found temporary lodging and I call the landlord in a culinary panic because I don’t think my fridge can be resurrected from the great electric beyond. I’m shrill enough so that she gives me permission to choose a new used fridge from the appliance store and she’ll check it out tomorrow, so I drive to the store with my philosopher boyfriend.

I know my grandma had an icebox when she was a kid, a cupboard cooled by a huge block of ice delivered twice a week, and there was a drip pan underneath to catch the melted water, but it was an age blossoming with innovation and my great-grandma was sick of drip pans. She wanted an electric fridge, but Great-Grandpa said they were too expensive and a waste. Great-Grandma did laundry for the local appliance salesperson and put the fridge on layaway, paid for it with piles of clean pants and starched shirts, then she had the man who lived five doors down install an outlet behind a wall calendar, so when the new fridge was delivered Great-Grandma hung the calendar on the handle and waited for Great-Grandpa to come home. He frowned at the new fridge’s electric hum, moved his cheese to the old icebox, and poured out the drip pan every day because he never gave into the future easily.

As we trudge the aisles of range tops and ovens, my boyfriend reminds me that keeping things cool is a luxury, and if I lived without electricity in a small Japanese fishing village this wouldn’t bother me, but I say if I lived in a small Japanese fishing village I wouldn’t know about cheesecake, I’d eat fish and rice and be lactose intolerant, and since I know about cheesecake I can’t very well forget it. My boyfriend rolls his eyes, but I’ll admit that normalcy depends on time and place, and this is why I didn’t have four kids by the age of twenty or die of cholera, but in one hundred years will people say I had it rough since they live underwater in glass bubbles that used to be New York City, looking up into the blue and dreaming of a piece of sky? But I shouldn’t be depressed as I choose my new used refrigerator, this is the price of living in this time and place and needing cheesecake. As my boyfriend and I drive home I know I don’t ask for much in the way of present luxuries, just the ability to open that door and eat last night’s cold pizza in peace.