Me And The Door (after Lydia Davis)

My daughter and I have very different relationships to doors.  Specifically,

we think about and use the front door in different ways.  The door is old,

as old as the house, which is older than me.  The doors wood is sound but

the metal of the handle is not.  It is loose in its operation and in its fitting. 

In the winter, my daughter will come in the house “just for a second” and

leave this door open for the cold.  In the summer she will do the same for

the hot.   Mostly, when operating this door, she will close it enough to

create some friction between the door and the door jamb, but not enough

so it is in fact “latched.”  In this state and in the absence of wind or the dog

the door will remain like this indefinitely.  But if the former or the latter

should arrive the door will open and stay like that until it is returned to its

proper position by someone that is usually yelling.  If they are yelling “Jesus

Christ!” it will be me.  If they are yelling “Don’t Yell At Me!” it will be my

daughter.  Sometimes my daughter will apply the correct amount of force to

the door so that it will both close and latch properly, but this is rare.  More

commonly, she will apply three to five times the necessary momentum

required to close the door, resulting in a sound that reverberates through

the house and the neighborhood, as if to announce “I Am Home” or “I Am

Leaving.”  Sometimes this sound will comfort me because I know I won’t

have to get up to close the door when it blows open or the dog pushes on it. 

Sometimes the noise makes me cringe for the six glass panels arranged in

two rows of three (or three columns of two) which are located in the upper

third of the door.  The glass has so far survived the force of my daughter so

then I worry about the hinges.  But the hinges remain solid and rooted to the

door jamb.  I replaced the lower right pane of glass (as seen from the inside

of the house) when I got back from Indianapolis.  I did this after my daughter

had returned from a walk to “cool off” and thought she had been locked out

of the house, so she broke the glass.  It goes without saying that the walk didn’t

work.  I was on an airplane when this happened so I didn’t hear the sound of

the glass breaking, and I am glad of that.  I have tightened the screws of the

handle and latch until they now merely rotate in place.  I’ve filed and moved

the strike in the jamb twice.  Last Sunday I went to the hardware store to get a

key made but instead I bought a new lockset and handle for the door.  It was

expensive.  Installing it in the door took the rest of the day because it is not

the same size or design as the original because that size and designed is so

obsolete the hardware store man had to suppress a smirk when I showed him

a picture of it on my phone and asked for a replacement.  This morning my

daughter left the door part-way closed twice.  So I’ve had to close and latch

it each time when the wind pushed it open.  She just went out again and I know

it isn’t latched but I haven’t done anything about that yet.  Now the dog is barking

to come in, first at the front door, now at the back, as if he thinks he can’t be

heard or as if each door is the entrance to a slightly different house.   

No Matter What A Tool Is Meant For, It Can Always Be Used As A Hammer.

The radio is on. The television is on. The blender is on. The grass clipper is on. The tape

recorder is on. The guitar is on. The light is on. The camera is on. The saw is on. The

coffee is on. The sink is on. The pool is on. The heat is on. The typewriter is on. The

knife is on. The toothbrush is on. The scale is on. The vacuum is on. The hair dryer

is on. The clock is on. The sign is on. The phone is on. The air is on. The water is on.

The iron is on. The refrigerator is on. The fountain is on. The intercom is on. The

speaker is on. The crock-pot is on. The sander is on. The piano is on. The movie is on.

The song is on. The hot water heater is on. The kettle is on. The blanket is on. The

razor is on. The timer is on. The toaster is on. The fence is on. The lighter is on. The

cash register is on. The pencil sharpener is on. The dryer is on. The washer is on. T

he meter is on. The alarm is on. The skillet is on. The hose is on. The exercycle is on.

The food processor is on. The can opener is on. The humidifier is on. The dehumidifier

is on. The pressure is on.

Let's Pretend

Let's pretend money has nothing to do with politics. Let's pretend our votes count

as much as the millions spent by the rich on politicians. Let's pretend all rich people

work really hard, thousands of times harder than anyone else. Let's pretend violent

entertainment is really good for us, harmless really. Let's pretend that our sexuality

isn't packaged and sold to us. Let's pretend business and politics are two entirely

different things. Let's pretend anything that sells is OK. Let's pretend there's nothing

scary about children pretending to murder each other. Let's pretend justice is blind.

Let's pretend everyone profits. Let's pretend that somebody must be taking care of

people when they are hungry, homeless, and ill. Let's pretend that tax shelters are

for us too. Let's pretend advertising is news and information. Let's pretend it's really

fine for a few people to make millions of dollars from the labor of people who can't

afford to miss a day of work. Let's pretend nothing will change. Let's all pretend we're

being told the truth by people who have profits to be gained by telling us lies. Let's

pretend the police only harass, arrest, and shoot people who deserve to be harassed,

arrested, and shot. Let's pretend the poor are used to starving. Let's pretend America

was discovered by Europeans. Let’s pretend corporate business exploits foreign labor

so we can save money. Let's pretend that it's just a coincidental relationship between

the advertisements we see and the things we want. Let's all pretend that our jobs,

homes, health, education, self-image, ideology, history, and addictions have only a

secondary relationship to profit. Let's all pretend life is just a game.