I know I am middle aged by how much domesticity roils through my writing, my photos, my discussions. Back in my mid-20s, when I worked a corporate job, I would eat lunch in the cafeteria with my older coworkers. (Sometime during that time they made a smoking room in the cafeteria, forcing the smokers into one hazy space with their cigarettes. They were terribly offended.) At lunch the talk would turn to gardens, the weekends spent mulching and trimming back, the best place to plant a hydrangea. Inside I would roll my eyes. How do I keep myself from becoming that person?
A few decades later, here I am snapping pictures of the cosmos crowding the path, the invasive passion vine that’s taken over what was once the veggie bed. I talk bathroom remodels and pest control with friends. And on my day off I make okra pilaf, jetting to Trader Joe’s to buy bacon, and read about infusing my vodkas with summer’s fresh berries. The domestic is all around me, and so often I’m like a downhome version of some celebrity lifestyle blogger, offering up the picturesque and enviable without the high price tag. Here is my CSA basket. Here the nectarines I cooked on the grill.
And here the laundry I woke to this morning, folded in front of the TV while watching an awkward and accurate movie last night. In the kitchen, cheese wrappers and ringed mugs collect on the counter. There the stain from the nail polish I spilled last week, there the half-read magazine folded over and sliding off the coffee table. The house teems with all that needs to be done. Will I ever make it through those piles? Is the fig tree dying from lack of water? What are we going to do about the tiles that have fallen off the porch? Why didn’t I plant the basil in a more protected spot?
July 25, 2015