Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thank you Whirlpool.

How often do you get blog subject matter from your washing machine?
Do any of you remember Cathy from the comic strip? It was based on Cathy Guisewite’s life, and dealt with the four basic guilt trips women have: food, love, mother, and work. I used to enjoy Cathy’s take on things and for the most part could relate. She poked fun at the foibles of modern women, but in a nice way, and I always read that strip in my daily newspaper.
Anyway a lot of years ago I had bought a Cathy doll. She’s quite tall, maybe eighteen or so inches. She’s totally made of fabric and pleasantly plump. Her skin is pale pink, with brown wool hair, a drawn on cartoon face with kind of an “oops” smile, and she wears a blue outfit. I didn’t know until yesterday that the dress is fixed with Velcro to her body and it’s covered by a long sleeved matching blue jacket. She wears fabric blue shoes and they are fixed in place. Velcro’d to her hands is a brown briefcase also made from fabric, and printed on it are the words: Take Life One Disaster at a Time.
I liked those words and thought they were good ones to live by, and I tried hard to follow that advice. Although some days when my kids were teenagers it was more like too many disasters to deal with, and how can I juggle all of them? I’d look at Cathy, who always sat on the spare chair in my office and was only removed if someone wanted to sit there—except for my son who used to just sit right on top of her—and I’d roll my eyes and say, “Okay, Cathy, speak to me.” Over the years Cathy was relegated to different places as my home space got smaller and the kids went off in pursuit of whatever it is that kids pursue. Yesterday I found her again. She was looking a little the worse for wear: dusty, crumpled, and her hair was tangled. I threw her into the washing machine, not realizing her clothes could be removed, tossed in the detergent, started up the machine, and went back to work on my latest WIP. Then, as writers are apt to do, I got deeply involved in my work and forgot all about Cathy.
This morning I decided to wash towels and opened the top of the washing machine. There was Cathy, totally naked, and totally dry. She was smiling up at me, her pink body smooth as a baby’s bottom, her clothes lying in disarray on the bottom of the machine, and her briefcase torn from her little hands. She looked happy, like she’d had a really good night of it. I burst out laughing. Then I took her out and dressed her. She didn’t even need a spin in the dryer, but her hair? Let me tell you whatever she did in that machine, she sure had fun. That brown wool hair was too tangled to comb out, so I did the best I could and braided it, tying it off with a rubber band. Then I reattached her briefcase, like she was heading back to the office.
She’s as good as new, if not better, and she seems quite content sitting on a stool behind me. I’m not sure about her smug smile though, maybe it’s satisfaction after her little spin?

No comments: