I’ve had several subscribers ask how I got to be such a control freak (i.e. weirdo.) It’s all quite embarrassing and I don’t know where to begin. But, as I’m always advising my critique group, “You have to open a vein onto the page.” So here’s a humiliating glimpse into my Crazie upbringing.
My mother was the world’s worst housekeeper. In her defense, she worked full time and had eight irresponsible kids. I remember that there was a chart of household chores that we were required to do each day. (My first attempt at control freak-dom?) One might expect that we came home from school and completed our chores, then went out to play.
Not us. We jumped off the bus, ran inside and immediately planted ourselves in front of the TV to watch Gilligan’s Island and/or any other nonsense show that was broadcast. Someone sat by the window that had a view of the hill Mom would be driving over on her way home. We had to change lookout’s every day, because even though it was a perfect view of the road, it was not a perfect view of the television, and that’s just not fair. When the lookout saw our battered green station wagon crest the hill they’d shout “MOM!”
Thus began the wild rush to complete our tasks before she drove, what couldn’t have been more than three minutes, into the driveway. I distinctly remember one time when she walked into a smoke filled house. Rather than bend over and pick up one of my brother’s socks that was lying on the floor, I decided to vacuum it up instead. Luckily we had extinguished the fire before she got in the door.
Keeping up with dirty clothes was another task she never quite got control of. She’d wash and dry them, then dump them on the dining room table. When the pile began to slide onto the floor she’d call out “Clothes Folding Party.” We sat in a circle and she held up an article of clothing. One of us would shout out “Mine” and she’d toss it to us.
My bedroom was upstairs and rather than walk up all those stairs, I placed my folded clothes on the step, figuring I’d take them up with me on my next trip. I never did. I just picked out my clothes from the ones on the stairs and eventually they were clear…until the next clothes folding party.
When I was in high school our house was robbed while I was home. I heard the thieves knock down the back door and I dropped to the floor of my bedroom to hide under the bed. Only there was so much junk under there already, I couldn’t fit. I had to run to my brother’s room and hide under his bed.
When the sheriff arrived, he took one look around and said “Oh my god, they trashed the place!” I was too embarrassed to tell him the truth.
There you go, dear reader. Mortifying and shameful. Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go find a bandage for my bleeding vein.