Here’s what it’s like to be a grown woman living back with her parents:
Mombo asks me if it I’ve taken any of the dust rags from the bag hanging on the doorknob in the computer room. They are used paper cleaning cloths she rescued from the trash at her (former) housekeeping job at Community Memorial Hospital in Menominee Falls. She hoards stuff like that—also empty cardboard boxes. I MUST NOT throw things away just because they look like trash.
“No,” I reply truthfully. “In fact I wouldn’t touch them because I’m really phobic about dust and they’re dusty.”
She looks at me like I’ve just announced conversion to Islam. “They’re still good. I get them from work. And what’s this now? You have a problem with dust? Seems like you have a problem with everything.”
Show no fear. Keep it light. Do not take the bait. “Oh, ever since I saw pictures of dust mites, I get creepy just thinking about what’s in dust.” I make a dust-mitey face with my fingers as claws, trying to be winsome. “It’s a phobia. I just hate them.”
“And I (dramatic pause) hate people with phobias.” she says, and the conversation is over.
And it’s true. She does. Not even personal—She comes from a place where you don’t share your inner demons. They should be kept secret lest the rest of the wolves smell your fear and take you down because you are the weakest member of the pack. I understand that.
My kind, generous, wonderful parents worked hard all their lives. They saved their money. They have a house and are still married. They are ants. Their oldest daughter, however, is a grasshopper. She married a good-for-nothing son-of-a-bitch. She spent money on fancy stuff like take-out food and real leather purses. She is one a them Liberals. They took me in anyways and hardly ever said “We told you so”, and I’m very, very, really terrifically grateful.