Disenfranchised in My Own Living Room
©2016 by Ilona Elliott
I don’t sit in the living room much anymore. The reality of this was made clear to me today when I walked over to the couch and grabbed the remote to turn off the TV, and caught the lovely late afternoon light playing on the cobwebs that had formed on my living room end table. The one on “my” end of the couch. The end where the dog lies sleeping, stretched out over two of the three cushions, leaving one cushion, the one on my old man’s end of the couch, which is perpetually reserved for the old man, empty at the moment. I am not interested.
Due to the fact that our house is STILL a construction zone, (two years and counting), the only piece of furniture in the room to sit on is this same aforementioned couch. It’s a beat up old relic. The leather is cracking on the arms, the seat cushions are caving, and it is almost always generously peppered with dog hair and other detritus that our little Pig Pen brings in with him and then dispels in various rooms and corners of our happy little homestead, pretty much year round, as he sees fit. I think he’s seen me vacuuming and sweeping this crap up so much that he’s decided that it is what I like to do with myself, so he obliges my inexplicable desire by leaving plenty of “stuff” around. Every time he wags his fluffy Muppet-like tail, some thing falls out that will eventually need to be picked up. I’ve even been known to take the vacuum to his coat directly and save him the effort of having to shake or wag or move through space to deposit his treasure trove of dead grass clippings, weed seeds, dried up dead baby slugs, live bugs, spiders, and all manner of creepy crap that I have indeed removed from his dust mop of a coat, which has an eerily efficient aura of attraction to it for all things gross that you wouldn’t want the cat (or dog) dragging inside. He’s kind of like a black hole in space…until he shakes.
The old man doesn’t seem to be bothered by any of this. He happily sits right down in the Pig Pen cloud of dog hair and dust and stares at the TV from his one couch cushion, eating ice cream directly out of the carton, while the dog sleeps contentedly on his two cushions, which leaves Mom with, you guessed it, zero cushions to sit on. Which is okay. Because while the dog might not mind endless repeats of cheesy Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, Nascar races and other mindless forms of testosterone television, I do. I have no desire to sit there and endure that.
Not to mention that I can’t bring myself to sit down without vacuuming first and then I get the snake eye from both of them for disturbing the peace. So I don’t.
Which is why I have a clean little corner with a futon, pillow, quilt and reading lamp set up in the unfinished master bedroom wing. That’s where I go now to read or to stare out the window, dreaming of the day when our addition is done and I can close the door and do yoga or sit at the computer in peace, without the distraction of cheesy movie sound tracks or clouds of dog hair and dust bunnies in the air. I’m sure eventually I’ll have to let the old man in there, at least to sleep, and Cosmo will more than likely have his little cushion and rug next to the bed to snooze on if he desires. But I swear, if they ever come out with an industrial sized dog hair eating roomba device that can handle a Pig Pen caliber mess, I’m gonna get me one. I’ve got the idea of tethering it directly to the back of the dog so IT can follow him around the house cleaning up instead of me. Problem solved. Where is Joy Mangano when you need her?
Now excuse me. I’ve got some vacuuming and dusting to do.