A long time ago I saw an episode of Oprah (how many people have started a story with these exact words) where she had guests come on and share video-taped spots capturing the kind of antics their pets were up to while they were at work. My favorite was a Great Dane named Hercules (or something else that signified huge, as if looking at the dog wasn’t enough to figure it out) who got up on the kitchen counter to grab a few cookies from the cookie jar. Hercules barely fit all four tree trunk legs on the counter, but he possessed an amazing amount of agility and determination. Another favorite was the dog who, upon hearing his owner pull into the driveway, dove from the plush couch to his ragged dog bed. Can you blame him?
I never forgot how funny this was and in the 8 years that I’ve had Henry Miller, my faithful mutt, I’ve always wondered what he did while I was working to keep a roof over his head. Now that I’m home writing every day, the mystery has been solved. He does: absolutely nothing. I don’t love him any less, but wow, he is extremely boring. And if he’s doing so little with his life, why is he so tired?
Maybe Henry does nothing because he already knows what I’m just beginning to figure out: being home in the morning/afternoon on a weekday is weird. It’s like that time when the sun and the moon have an eclipse at the exact same moment and everyone stands in front of their house and is all, what’s going on, what’s happening, what time is it, what planet is this? And people don’t know if they should go back in and hunker down or walk single-file to the ocean and take off their clothes and get in. Kind of like that.
The only time I’ve been home in the day is when I’ve been sick, so that doesn’t really count. But now, when everyone has showered and coffeed and left for work, I sit here alone, feeling like I’m doing something wrong. And more to the point, I’m worried that my neighbors might be up to something and I’m going to have to see them, catch them!, while their loved ones are away. This is an incredibly illicit time of day.
And before my analyst friend who subscribes to this blog writes me a letter to ask, Dear Lissa, what on earth are you up to over there. . . I swear it’s not me. It’s them. The woman who lives behind me comes out into her yard and giggles and whispers with someone in a very um, come-hither tone. And there is a cat involved. In the front house, when everyone is supposedly at school and work, feet can be heard bouncing down the stairs. Who is that? And how come neighbors who work far far away are suddenly popping home for lunch? I’m not making this up. Just this morning through the window I heard yet another neighbor on the phone talking, well, “massage-talk.” I feel like a house wife on Desperate Housewives, although I’m not a wife and I’ve never seen the show.
To get anything accomplished I’m going to have to leave the house and join the Land of the Productive! Right after I figure out how the video camera works.