Sunday, May 10, 2009


Conversing face to face, my talent for debate is at best sub-par. My mind doesn’t function like the well-oiled ratcheting and clicking of gears portrayed in scientific journals and cartoons. My brain works more like ketchup. Sometimes nothing will come out at all, and then there will be a big spurt and a mess. I often end arguments in retreat, tossing over my shoulder, “YEA... WELL..., YOUR MOTHER WEARS ARMY BOOTS.”
Emmy has heard so much about her mother’s footwear over the years, we seldom get into a debate anymore. We do however email each other a lot. I like communicating via email because of my ketchup-like mind and my proclivity for putting my foot in my mouth. With email, you can choose your words carefully and then click “send.”
We both have separate “offices” in our house. I use the word ‘office’ loosely; they are two small spaces where we stay away from each other. My office is a large closet on the second floor, her office is a portion of the basement we call the “dungeon.” She has a desktop computer down there and I have a laptop upstairs.
Before I retired, I worked long days; Emmy had the house to herself and our conversations were limited to a short time in the evening. My presence now, at home all day every day, is something she often laments. With a sigh, she will suggest I leave, “You should visit that Clyde guy you used to work with.”
I never worked with anyone named ‘Clyde’; it’s a shot in the dark, she’s hoping she’ll come up with the name of someone I used to know and I’ll miss that person enough to leave the house.
I don’t know why she wants to get rid of me. Most days we only see each other in passing before we actually dine together in the evening. We can’t help but be involved with each other’s businesses so we email information and personal communications to one another two floors apart. My official title in her business as Chief Lackey means I take care of a portion of her paperwork. I also do heavy lifting and logistics for traveling and camping.
As I write this, we are ‘on the road’ in our nine-and-a-half foot truck camper, selling Emmy’s jewelry. We are traveling to Arts and Craft shows in the Carolinas and Virginia.
Six weeks in a camper is a long time for two people to spend together. Our floor space is two feet by seven and a half feet. Like a public meeting, it works well when we adhere to the one-person-standing at a time rule. There just isn’t room for both of us to be making breakfast or getting dressed at the same time.
Convicts have more room. If we traveled with a live chicken, the authorities would arrest us for the inhumane treatment of animals.
Close proximity doesn’t help us communicate any better either. We complete applications and registrations, and receive approvals and ‘booth assignments’ online. Our office space is a shared 23-inch by 32-inch dinette table, beads on one side, computer on the other.
We switch sides on occasion, she uses my computer, but I don’t touch the beads. I already know far more about seed beads and jewelry than any man should know. I can barely see the tiny things.
Sometimes while traveling, we check each other’s email. Emmy was checking both of ours’ and said she had just received the latest information on spaces at an upcoming Arts and Crafts show. I was reading a novel and absently told her to send it to me. I realized I was telling her to email the communication from my computer to my computer. Something’s wrong with that.
We might have to start talking to each other.

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