austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Living in a dusty town

The call came in the middle of the day. There are some curious things about my parents' home, and one of them is that they receive about four million phone calls between 2 and 3 pm every day that I'm home for it. Without exaggeration I'd say they get more calls in a week than I would in whole semesters back in Singapore. Sometimes I take the call, even though the answering machine would do a better job recording the message, and this was one of those ties.

This call was from their bank: they'd like to send someone out to do an appraisal of the home. I explain that I'm not either homeowner and, feeling like I should probably explain the strange man who admits not owning the home answering the home phone in the middle of the day, explained I'm their son. I start to feel self-conscious about being my age and living with my parents, so I explain that I cat-sit for them. The bank has little reason to care about my parents' cat-care arrangements. I avoid telling them about the sorry state of my academic career, and give them my mother's hand phone number. That night, I learn, the appraiser was to be here in three days.

Our house is cluttered. It runs in the family. It's not awful or unsanitary like on the BBC's How Unspeakably Filthy Can You Possibly Get? with those people who've never thrown out a used tissue and who keep their moldy kitchen pots on the toilet seat; it's just got a lot of things that really defy persistent classification. If you started picking things up and making piles where they could rest a while you would finish in about three days. We discovered a lot of soft little balls of fabric which appear to be cat toys, and the kitten was delighted to have so many more things to chase which aren't feet. All this activity had the cats upset, since the older two have learned that when there's a lot of things being moved around that tends to mean someone is leaving, and that could easily be my parents.

I did not learn where the broom was kept, but my father forgot to return it to whatever never-land he stores it in, so for the time being I can sweep when I feel like it.

Trivia: In 1901 Coca-Cola had an advertising budget of $100,000. Source: Advertising and the Transformation of American Society, 1865 - 1920, James D Norris.

Currently Reading: Brave Men, Ernie Pyle.

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