Jul 7, 2006

The dramatic gesture

Timing is everything if you're going for the dramatic gesture. Yesterday, for instance, I had a squabble with my son which culminated in him saying something about how he hates me and slamming the door. (He was on his way out.)

While still steaming about that--unrelated--issue, I headed into the kitchen and my eye alit upon a dish in the sink. Now I've had a running problem with dishes a) left in the sink and not put in the dishwasher; and b) left in his room. A check of the dishwasher confirmed that the dishes, glasses and silverware I've been asking him to bring to the kitchen AND put in the dishwasher were still in his room.*

That's when I was seized with the inspiration for the dramatic gesture: I'd throw out all the dishes, glasses and silverware save the coffeepot and a mug. My mind swirled with the possibilities. Perhaps I'd just let the dirty dishes sit on the kitchen counters until every last clean item was used. Then, I'd haul out the jumbo trash bags and throw them all away with the announcement that the kitchen was closed. Henceforth there would be no eating or drinking at Casa Tinkerty Tonk!

In my mind's eye, I pictured the place covered in dirty dishes. I imagined my son asking me about them--this is where the vision enters the realm of pure fantasy, as if he'd even notice--and me airily replying that I was no longer going to be doing the dishes. Then, when the last bit of cutlery was caked with the last bit of food, I would sweep everything into a garbage bag and announce that the kitchen was closed.

Or maybe I'd just dispose of the lot immediately. But maybe I'd break something and really the point of the dramatic gesture is to allow the injured party to show the injuror The Error of His Ways.

And he wasn't home right now.

When he did come home, about two hours later, the moment had passed. Oh, I let the errant dish sit in the sink for a while. But by bedtime, it was in the dishwasher.

Timing really is everything.


*You may be asking yourself why I don't just go into his room and get the dishes. I've done it in the past, but I shrink from doing so in order to preserve my sanity. I try to stay out of his room; it's a very scary place.

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