taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Friday, January 07, 2005

A friend of mine recently took a job at a swanky restaurant waiting tables. The money was good but the atmosphere was, ahem, a little uptight. Every time she needed to talk to the chef (which, of course, waitresses have to do) she was required to say, "Excuse me, Chef, may I speak?" The funniest part of this whole scenario was that she's married to a chef. I'm sure he was thinking "Hey, not a bad idea! Not bad at all!"

And in fact I was thinking the same thing! I'm in the kitchen, trying to make something half-decent out of the three ingredients in my fridge, and I would really like it if my family, when they need to ask me something, would come in, clear their collective throat, and say, "Excuse me, Mumma, can I speak?" And I, as the benevolent chef that I am, would say, "Of course you may speak." While strirring a balsamic reduction, of course. Or maybe just macaroni.

You see, it's difficult being talked at all the time. SpongeBob has done something terrific on the teevee! The baby just figured out how to spit! Something fascinating is going on at work! Did you see my latest art project? my latest spirograph? my latest poo? Look, look, I'm hanging upside down! I had the weirdest dream! I'm depressed and mopey, can you help? Ouchy! Ouchy! I need a band-aid!

It gets tiresome after a while, smiling and sympathizing. "Oh, how fascinating! did you REALLY? Oh well! That must be terrible! Coo! Who wants a bottle? My goodness it's almost bedtime!" There are actually only so many words in my vocabulary which mean, essentially, "It's all just fine."

And so I'd rather only have conversations at specific times, when I am ready for them. I will write scripts for these conversations. I will be a benign and caring despot, delivering benificence throughout the house--and only when I am able to do so. And for the rest of the time, I will hide out in the kitchen, silently, pretending that what I am doing is far too important for interruptions.


At 7:31 PM, Blogger sweetney said...

you know, claire, you're an excellent writer.

i don't say that often. or...uhh...ever.

and by the way, we need to regroup about you comin' over.


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