Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Dance of Everyday Life

I don't want to start a nutty rhapsody about the Zen-like beauty of home-making and housework. Some days it's scrubbing diapers and cleaning up spit-up, and there's just no poetry in that -and no sense pretending otherwise. But there are days and tasks that are opportunities to see it as something else, even if just for a moment.

I've probably mentioned this; I say it frequently in real life. I have the world's stupidest kitchen. It was designed by a man, back when men didn't use kitchens. They were just magic rooms that food came out of, and certainly didn't merit the serious planning attention that a man's study, for example, might deserve. Even a man's garage probably got more attention that the kitchen.

But it's MY stupid kitchen. Tonight I was making dinner -just for me, so nothing special. But I had Vivaldi playing on the iPod; the kitchen windows are finally open so there was a breeze. I could smell the onion cooking. And I was doing this thing that cooks who know their kitchens can do... stirring one pot, reaching behind me without looking to open the drawer and reaching for the cheese grater, kicking the cupboard door closed with my foot so I can open the oven door... that thing. It was a strange, but oddly fun, dance.

Yes, it's entirely ridiculous that you have to close the cupboard before you open the oven, but you get used to it. Yes, if I had a jillion dollars I'd remodel the kitchen. I don't and I won't -at least not any time soon. But I've cooked in other kitchens. I cooked in Swarthmore. I wasn't there long enough to really get into a rhythm. I cooked in Becky's kitchen when she so generously offered me shelter when I needed it. Her kitchen IS remodeled, and it's stunning. But it's not mine.

This is MY stupid kitchen. We've been together a long time now, and we understand each other. It may be that I decide that I don't want the house, or that it's just too much room for me, or that I can't maintain it. But you know what? That's going to be MY decision. This kitchen and I are attached. We're both a mess. But we know each other's quirks. I can dance in this kitchen. I'll leave it when and if I'm ready, and not one second before.


Renee said...

You tell him, Andrea!

Andrea Rusin said...

Well hell, I thought I as being subtle ;)

Anonymous said...

I thought of you when I heard Tom Petty singing "I won't back down" last night. You're not a mess--you're dancing in your own kitchen, and that's beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Andrea. You really are a wonderful writer.