It happens once a day.
Routinely, predictably — thankfully.
The roommate takes the three dogs for a walk.
Only then does the house fall into quiet. A rare quiet. An unusual quiet. A quiet unheard of given a roommate who’s like a cyclone. A loud cyclone. The three dogs, eh. Yeah, they’re active. They’re noisy too. They bark. They run around. They’re dogs. They do dog things.
The roommate (and house owner), on the other hand … well, put it this way. It’s YOU who wants to self-sedate to cope with her loud cyclonic ways and temperament!
Every morning at about 7 o’clock, she loads the trio into her car and takes them to a nearby trail to run.
That’s about the time I also get up for the job.
I’m a slow waker-upper. I’m not a morning person. I don’t like to talk, engage or interact except minimally if necessary. J., with her brash, loudy, insensitive go! go! go! spinning style, is the very low on that list of people I wanna encounter first thing in the morning!
So even if I’m lying awake in bed, ready to make my coffee, I wait.
Wait until the sounds of the slamming screen door — she doesn’t do anything delicately. Until the sound of the car engine revved rolls out of earshot.
Then and only then do I get up.
It’s not news that life in the house revolves around J. She’s not a case of My Way or the Highway.
It’s Her Way or No Way. You’d think that life would’ve taught someone in her 60s to be more compromising, yielding, fair or truly respectful toward others.
Be that as it may, the overarching theme in the house of three people (and three dogs) is My Way or No Way. Am I struggling with that? Oh yeah. Big time. I feel suffocated, confined., handcuffed and strait-jacketed.
I remind myself this is temporary. Not forever. And though there’s truth in that approach, it also fails to address the REAL issues. The underlying facts that home — “home” — has never been anything BUT: confining, suffocating, exhausting … emotionally volatile and unstable (made so by others). Unsupportive. Uncaring.
Dominated by an oppressive and domineering other. Seriously dominated.
Those truths of my childhood environment don’t go unnoticed in this scenario. I contemplate them in the comparative quiet of cleaning hotel bathrooms and making beds at the job. Just as I’ve contemplated many many many other times through the years.
I’ve yet to really grasp what’s on the other side of a Home in Disarray, Dysfunction and Destruction — the perfect representation of what “home” means, experientially, to me. I don’t KNOW what a home that’s peaceful … serene … supportive … nurturing … heartfully warm … is like.
I’ve SEEN it — and not in Better Homes & Gardens! I’ve seen it created by friends, for themselves. However, I myself have never had it.
What a home — a good home — would look like to me is something worth contemplating in the relative quiet of my cleaning tasks.
In the meantime, my roommate’s just returned. As possibly half the neighborhood’s aware. Possibly even you. She was just chatting with a neighbor across the road. All I can say is lungs like that should be put to use on an opera stage!