So yesterday my son called out to me and said, “You have to take a picture of this.” I came into my bedroom to find the cat curled up next to a stack of my books. I grabbed the camera and started shooting. This photo is from the end of the series, by which point he had sat up, his nap ruined by the flashes. (Serves him right: he’s woken me up for the past several mornings, meowing loudly at 7:30 am. Clearly he doesn’t realize it’s summer vacation and I’ve been dealing with chronic insomnia. I’ve tried explaining it to him, but I don’t think he’s a good listener.)
Anyway, the photo amuses me for some reason. I think it tells you a lot about my life.
For one thing, there’s the messiness: why did I leave a bunch of books on the work-out bench rather than put them neatly away in the bookcase that’s RIGHT BEHIND IT? I don’t know. It’s classic me. I had probably grabbed a pile of stuff to bring upstairs and just started dumping things near where they should go as opposed to putting them away where they actually belonged.
Then I complain to everyone who’ll listen that I can’t find anything, our house is a mess, and nothing is where it should be.
Another detail: the stack of novels is set against a back-drop of my autism books, my two author lives entwining, always connected, always informing each other, from the autism storyline in Knitting Under the Influence to the slightly spectrum-y little boy in If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now.
And the weight bench. Exercise equipment being used as a) storage and b) a cat bed. There was a time when I would recline on that weight bench and lift dumbbells and grunt and stuff. But the novelty wore off. The novelty of exercising always wears off for me. So now it just takes up space, along with the treadmill. (I’d also include the exercycle but my husband actually USES the damn thing. He’s a little nuts.)
Then there’s the cat, staring at me, expecting me to do something for or with him. Do you know how many creatures in this household look at me that way? Two dogs, one cat, two turtles, six humans . . . I swear, even the DISHWASHER gives me a look as I pass by: “Hey, come on. Pay attention to me. You haven’t even emptied me out yet and look at all those dishes piling up in the sink.” The hamper is reproachful, the water bowls need me, the lettuce is wilting because I’ve ignored it, and that stack of invitations and forms is trying to be brave about being overlooked for so long.
Finally, though, there’s the photo behind the cat. You may not be able to see it that well, but it’s a picture of a huge group of our friends, all having what appears to be a picnic lunch together. You know why we were all together that day? Because we asked our friends to join us on a walkathon to raise money for autism research. And without hesitation, they all did. We had a fine day of it too, the kids running happily from group to group, the adults mingling and chatting as they walked around a park for five miles, free food at the end thanks to some generous donations . . .
You know what? It’s a good life.