Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Let There Be Light

After Thanksgiving, I went home with my parents for a couple of days while Ty returned to our apartment. I did this for a few reasons--I wanted to be there for my dad's birthday, I wanted to make sure nobody threw away my old Colorforms during The Great Basement Cleanout, and, frankly, I wanted a break from working, cooking, washing my pots and pans, destroying my junk mail, and doing my laundry near-daily. A break from my routine, basically. Also, my high school reunion was this past weekend, and I wanted to be sure that I was five minutes away from it as I intentionally missed it.

So, while I was in Lazy Mode, I was spending a lot of time with my mother, who is never in Lazy Mode. This woman is so efficient that she offers me tea within two minutes of my waking up, even as my bladder is only partially evacuated. She can emerge from the bathtub sparklingly clean in 90 seconds. She laughs with a particular kind of knowledge when Eddie Murphy describes how his mother could be simultaneously talking on the phone and cooking dinner, yet still throw an object across the room with precision aim.

While home with my parents, I stayed in my old bedroom, which still has my old furniture and books and dolls, and now also serves as storage space for the rest of the family. I haven't slept there in a long time, because now that Ty and I are married, we get to sleep together in the double bed in the guest bedroom. So I was looking at my old room with fresh eyes.

I first looked at my old room with fresh eyes when I was about ten years old. That was when we moved to the suburbs from the city, to my everlasting dismay. I understood then why my parents did it, but I understand better now. My mother had been mugged at gunpoint in broad daylight in our beautiful residential neighborhood, and I was getting to the age where I was asking when I would be allowed to go for walks alone. Also, some people were robbing homes on our street by ringing the bell and pushing in the people when they went to answer the door. AND the kid down the block came home barefoot and freezing once; his sneakers and jacket had been stolen from him. This was the era of "No Radio" signs and broken car window glass all over the street. So, we moved to a suburban neighborhood with pretty lawns, an underage drinking problem, and football.

My old, old room in the city had been painted a shade of lavender so light you could barely tell it was lavender. We painted my new old room lavender, too, but the shade was much more pronounced. In my old, old room, the lightswitch when you first walked in was connected to a large, bright, centrally-located overhead lighting fixture. After I saw Gremlins when I was very little, I slept for several weeks with that light on all night. My new old room has two low-wattage wall fixtures on either side of the room. When I stayed there this past week, I couldn't believe how dark it was. I couldn't believe I'd lived in that dark room for eight years.

Ty and I joke that he's into atmospheric lighting, while I like it surgical-bright. In fact, after he leaves for work in the morning, the first thing I do is brighten the light. Now I know why.

I was angry at my parents for a long time for moving. Now that I'm an adult, I've moved back, just like I said I would. They are very good parents and understand why I did. And I understand why they left, and why they aren't coming back.

We can joke about it now. When my dad found out about the high school reunion, he said, "You should go!" in his wide-eyed dad way. In my sarcastic daughter way, I said, "I'll go to the reunion when you move back to the city."

We laughed and ate some pasta.


Blogger Mr. Lashes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Mr. Lashes said...

I made a grammatical mistake in my first post and then I had to check dictionary.com to make sure I spelled grammatical correctly (I spelled it with only 1 m the first time).

Ah Arabella, your amusing anecdotes help me maintain my sanity. Keep up the good work.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous c.s. said...

i hear you arabella -- i'm still pissed at my parents that they moved to the suburbs from the bronx 3 years before i was born, thus making me the only person in the family not born in the city (or russia) and denying me an upbringing in the city.

and now to their chagrin i've moved to my rightful home (well, a different borough, but the city nonetheless) in a 4 floor walk-up, commuting by subway and with a locked gate leading to my "terrace" (more commonly known as a fire escape). just the situation they worked so hard to get out of.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

I skipped my 10 year and apparently a 15 year (eek!) didn't happen, not that I would have gone, but I do get a voyeuristic thrill scrolling through the classmates.com list of my graduating class. Oh and I also love to google all former crushes, boyfriends, randoms, as I think you posted about a while back. I guess I secretly want to know what everyone is doing these days without actually standing around a keg to figure it out. Yeah, I went to that kind of school.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

I would sooner self-immolate than attend my high school reunion.

As far as the obsessive googling, my current faves are a) husband's ex-GF and b) dead ex-BF's brother (who has a blog, wouldn'tcha know!).

I love me some google.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

I went to that kind of school, too.

"Husband's ex-girlfriend" is always good fodder for Google, as are "former crushes".

5:16 PM  

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