May 17, 2003
I'm not sure how I feel about my most recent discovery - apparently, the sound of my alarm clock is so foreign to the cats that, from a deep and untroubled sleep, they leapt straight up into the air, puffed their tails out and hid under the bed in the other room when it went off.
I know I've been letting things slide a bit during this prolonged period of unemployment but I've had the cats since October and this was the first time they've heard the clock go off.
Hmmm. . . . This speaks of a love for indolence that I have been warned about in increasingly shrill and judgmental terms since early childhood.
I've attributed my laziness to many things in the past in an attempt to hide the shameful truth from my family and friends, few of whom (as it happens) were ever deceived. I remember my mother stomping into my room one Saturday afternoon around 2 p.m. while I was a teenager. She threw open the door, wrenched open the curtains and pulled the covers off me. In her hand, she held a book from which she proceeded to quote. "Leos are self-absorbed, lazy, luxury-loving layabouts -- well, I could go on but this has you pegged after the first sentence. King of the Jungle, my eye! More like "Queen of the Duvet". Get out of bed!" I thought this was somewhat harsh, as I have it on good authority that Leos are also vain and tend to dominate any social scene into which they are thrust. (For better or worse, it must be admitted. Natalie and I are both Leos. Need I say more?)
But a masterful personality is not all I have in common with the lion. We expend roughly the same amount of energy and in astonishingly similar fashions. Perhaps this explains my fondness for these cats. Sleeping as they do for 16 hours a day, I look like a dynamo in comparison. When your only competition is an animal too lazy to actually get up and look out the window, any foray to the kitchen for another coffee is bound to seem like frenzied activity.
As I lounged into adulthood, my lethargy only seemed to increase. I'm quite certain that my first boyfriend to this day believes himself to be the most mesmerizing and unforgettable man on earth, a misapprehension prompted by the sumptuous lassitude I wallowed in during my late teens. He wasn't a particularly riveting companion -- I just simply couldn't be bothered to leave.
When I married, it didn't take very long for my husband to catch on - remember, I only knew him for a month when I married him. Although I always got my (exemplary) work done (I had just started law school when I got married) and kept the house as neat as a pin, these exertions were punctuated with hours of languor so decadent that he must have believed himself to be at Versailles.
He soon woke up to the fact that any activity on my part sprang from either my anal-retentive nature or my need to show off. Once he had this figured out, he played me like a fiddle. By appealing to either my vanity or my inner control freak, he enjoyed many years of getting exactly what he wanted. He made no secret of it, either - I mean, this isn't just a revelation that's suddenly come to me. He'd be quite upfront about phrasing his requests with reference to either or both of my main character flaws in the baldest possible terms but I never took offence. Seemed like too much effort, if memory serves.
He pampered me regularly with loads of Victoria's Secret lingerie, brought me flowers and basked in what he pretended was my magnificence.
"I don't even have to be sincere," he said in wonderment, shortly after our wedding. "You will swallow anything if someone tells you're wonderful. You're completely shameless."
Yes, sadly with me, flattery will get you everywhere. While this is perhaps a plus in marriage, other people are catching on. Even Natalie - have you noticed the "much to our delight" intros to my columns? She knows that if she strokes my ego, she'll get loads more out of me. And she knows that I know. And I know that she knows that I know. Talk about Pavlovian.
I've always been very disciplined about work - I work hard and do a good job - when I've got one. This little holiday, apart from being yet another exercise in poverty and humiliation, has led me to the conclusion that I'd quite like to be a writer if this lawyer thing doesn't work out.
Let's see: there's nothing to get up for, no irate clients or abusive judges, no Machiavellian colleagues or office politics. I could just sit around, so the theory goes, pen this drivel and people would pay me for it
My mom is behind the idea, perhaps understanding the limitations of her only child. She told me that I can occasionally make her laugh and that being "a smart aleck" was perhaps the perfect career choice for me. Years ago, she also told me that nobody would pay me to have a big mouth, a comment I put the lie to when I was called to the Bar. In recent months, however, I've started to fear that she was right after all.
But I digress. This all started with the alarm clock.
Why, on a perfect Sunday, did I get up at 5:30 a.m.? Well, my beloved will be arriving from out of town around 8:00 a.m. and I need to wash the floors.
I just didn't get around to it yesterday.
Till next time,