Greetings from bizarre juxtaposition central! On the one hand, I am enjoying a rare child-free weekend with another adult. If I don’t want to get up, I don’t have to! If we want to have ice cream for dinner, we can! If we want to… um, well, HEY look over there, something SHINY! Anyway! That whole side of things is lovely and carefree and relaxed.
On the other hand, there is The List. And The List demands that certain things be completed before this visit is over, and try as I might to fill the list with items like SMOOCHING and SLEEPING LATE, it remains chock-full of actual to-dos that mean we have to, well, DO THINGS.
So last night, for example, we were eating chinese food and watching a movie like we didn’t have a care in the world. But today, after church, it was time to Be Productive.
(I’m sure it comes as a huge shock that I much prefer the “nary a care” stance.)
Otto whipped out the list and started reviewing items. (I swear I only giggled a little while I typed that.) We decided to start with… the Dreaded Photo.
Did I mention that Otto is a photographer? He is! Like, for money and stuff! I mean, mostly he’s a professor now, but I hear he’s really good with cameras. And so despite my loathing of every photo ever taken of me, I agreed to let him take my picture.
Because in the space of about two months I’ve had to produce a photo of myself about four times, and I was getting very tired of always having to send along the same picture along with OH MY GOD THIS IS THE WORST PHOTO EVER I HATE IT SO MUCH BUT IT’S ALL I HAVE AND I WISH I COULD SHUT UP BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE I HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT AND PLEASE DON’T STOP LIKING ME JUST BECAUSE I LOOK LIKE THE OFFSPRING OF LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE AND MR. ED IN THIS PICTURE OKAY THANKS!
And we’d just been to church, so I was relatively well groomed and all. We stepped out onto the back porch and Otto told me where to stand and which way to look and when I should smile.
Except that sometimes he’d say “Smile!” and I couldn’t really think of a compelling reason to smile, so I’d say “Tell me a joke,” and then he’d snap my picture while I was talking and then I strangled him with his camera strap. No, actually I would ask him for a joke and then he’d go through the same litany of bad one-liners until I cracked.
“A horse walks into a bar… and the bartender says, ‘Why the long face?'”
“A man walks into a bar… and says ouch.”
“A dyslexic walks into a bra….”
By the time we came back inside, he’d snapped roughly 300 photos of me looking stoned, angry, nauseous, or mentally challenged. “Wow,” I said, while we looked over the pictures. “People pay you for this? Really?” And then he strangled me with his camera strap.
Finally we’d narrowed it down to a couple of photos and I told him to pick one, and he did, and now I have a photo that I still hate, but hate less than any other photo I have, which a professional photographer assures me is a decent photo. So. There’s that.
And one item got crossed off the list.
[Okay, before y’all scream at me: I put a teeny version of it over here and you can see it bigger here but if you say anything other than “nice highlights” I will cry. (My favorite reactions include “Um, where did my upper lip go?” and “Well, it’s nice foliage.”)]
We had some lunch and decided to go to the LL Bean outlet, because I still needed a few camping items for The Walk and for some strange reason, there are no Bean outlets in Georgia. Go figure. (Yes, going to the outlet was on the list.)
I found what I needed and Otto found a few things he needed and then we went up to pay. The very effusive cashier asked for Otto’s zip code and he gave it; I watched as a shadow of confusion flickered across Effusive Cashier’s face.
“He came ALL THE WAY FROM GEORGIA just to come to the outlet!” I told her, making my eyes as wide as possible.
“Yeah, I was gonna say, I couldn’t think of any other reason to come HERE,” she laughed.
I waited for Otto to say something like “I’m visiting” or “she’s the reason” or even “I’m from around here” (which he is), but did Otto say any of these things? No. Here is what Otto said:
“There’s a great reason, but,” and here, he leaned in and lowered his voice just a little, “I can’t really say what it is in public.”
The cashier tittered nervously while I crumpled to the ground and died of embarrassment. Twice. Another item was crossed off of The List while I beat Otto about the head and shrieked “You cannot SAY STUFF LIKE THAT!”
So I guess I won’t be going back to the Bean outlet… ummm… ever again.
Back home, the rattle in my car’s dashboard had begun to make Otto’s left eye twitch, so I came inside and looked for a screwdriver for him and then he went out and fixed it. And then came back in to tell me that my screwdriver was a piece of crap. And then he said some other stuff but all I heard was “WA WA WA” so I kissed him and pointed out that I had some work to take care of, so Otto scanned The List and headed off to Home Depot for supplies.
He returned with a bunch of things, among them a new tool set—including a lovely, working screwdriver.
I tell you what, a man like Otto buys you tools, you know it’s serious. I think I got a little weepy.
Anyway, now I am doing some work in here and my car is fixed and my mailbox is being fixed and oh, heck, I have no idea what all he’s doing out there. It makes him happy to fix things and cross them off the list and it amazes me to watch him putter around and seemingly enjoy taking care of all the things which I am too lazy or unskilled or just plain overwhelmed to bother with. It amazes me how nourishing it is to do nothing at all and how much more productive working feels when I’m not doing it alone.
And you know, I added a few things to The List, and earlier when Otto was checking things off he told me, “Well, I’m going to cross off this and this and this… but THIS one, I dunno, I think we might want to do that again… I’ll just leave it on there.” So I guess I feel like we’ve reached something of an understanding about that there list.
Even though I am still a little bit sad about never being able to go back to LL Bean.