Solitude, Invading Molecules, and The Scarlet Pimpernel

9 Nov

There is someone in the house. I don’t have to see or hear them. I know by the way my skin prickles and my brain reels. There is someone in the house besides me. I feel his molecules, because I know it’s a man, invading my space making it impossible for me to work. I feel seen, observed. I feel this way every time my husband takes vacation days.

The problem isn’t that he’s in my hair, though it feels like he’s in my hair. The problem is that he’s here at all. He’s actually leaving me alone. Most of the time you wouldn’t even know he’s here. Except that he’s here. When I leave my office to warm my tea or let the dog out or have a snack, there he is. And he’s doing nothing while I’m trying to do something. I go to my office and he doesn’t follow me but I still can’t work. It’s like the molecules he breathes seek me out and watch my every move.

You’d think that feeling observed like this would make me more productive, but it doesn’t. My husband likes my writing, he supports my writing, but I can’t do it in front of him or his molecules. So I check Facebook, then email, then read other bloggers’ posts. I comment and check Facebook again. I go back to email to see if the blogger has responded to my witty comment and the cycle begins again.

This morning, while I was cleaning the kitchen, he woke and came downstairs. I had spent the morning listening to my daughter wail about how she’d ruined her model of the atomic structure of the iron atom. She wailed about it for fifteen minutes then mysteriously stopped wailing. “I didn’t ruin it after all,” she said gaily. I sighed. She went to school.

I had about a half hour in silence. I like silence. Even the dog knows I like silence and only barks when absolutely necessary. Normally, I have hours and hours of silence. But not this week.

I’ve been tolerant of having another human in my silent house. And, really, my husband has been considerate, only engaging me when I’m within a ten-foot radius. He even listens to his music with noise-canceling headphones.

This morning, though, he interrupted my kitchen cleaning ritual with dialogue from 1934’s The Scarlet Pimpernel.

I like the movie; we like the movie. We quote the dialogue to each other, particularly the idiotic poem Leslie Howard pens as the foppish Sir Percy Blakeney, who is actually the infamous Pimpernel, fearless rescuer of French nobility following the Revolution. The poem begins like this:

They seek him here,

They seek him there.

Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.

It goes on, ending with “That damned elusive Pimpernel.”

Today, I rose at 7 a. m. with The Empress of the Fine Chinese Whine. My vacationing husband rose at 10 a.m. and came down for his morning coffee. He was cheerful. He was quoting the Scarlet Pimpernel poem, he thought.

“They seek him high,” he said. “They seek him low. Those Frenchies know not. . .”

“Stop yourself!” I said. “You’re doing it wrong! I think I’ve been pretty good about you being here all week, putting up with your molecules all up in my face, but you have no idea how the poem goes!”

To his credit, he stopped. To my credit, I poured a cup of tea, went to my office, closed the door, and wrote about how my husband’s molecules, supportive and understanding as they are, drive me crazy when they aren’t supposed to be here in my solitude.

Next week, he’ll be back at work and so will I. Alone. In silence. Now, though, my teacup is empty and I’m hoping the Scarlet Pimpernel isn’t waiting for me in the kitchen.

12 Responses to “Solitude, Invading Molecules, and The Scarlet Pimpernel”

  1. scribblechic November 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I wanted to clap for the shared, simple truth of – our home, my space. I will bump into my husband without seeing him, trip over myself for stepping around his company – ungraciously collecting pieces of solitude in corners of our home. Perfect!

    • jmlindy422 November 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      I almost fell over trying to grab a paper towel around him while he poured his coffee IN MY KITCHEN! Thanks for the comment.

  2. Kathy Eynon, RN,CCM, CTACC November 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I know what you mean!!! My husband was home for a day last week during hurricane Sandy and I did zero work; zip, zilch! Your description of cheching Facebook, email, blogs, repeat made me think you were watching me that day!
    And as to the Scarlet Pimpernel…… My family, including my grown daughter, hoot and laugh through the Danny Kaye musical version, The Court Jester. If you haven’t seen it, put it on the list!

    • jmlindy422 November 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      “The vessel with the pestle is the brew that is true” or something like that! My niece and nephews have the whole movie memorized. My nephew even use it for a project while earning his master of animation degree.

  3. Madame Weebles November 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    I think you speak for pretty much every wife on earth! Although I have to say, Mr. Weebles doesn’t generally get on my nerves. Which is still baffling to me because EVERYONE gets on my nerves. But we can go 24, 42, or 72 hours together and still not kill each other. For some reason his molecules don’t affect me.

    And I love that version of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I have a thing for Leslie Howard.

    • jmlindy422 November 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      I can handle my husband for 24 or even 42 hours, but I’ve been in his presence for more than a week now! And, my kids were off school for an entire day in the middle of it! What’s not to like about Leslie Howard? One of those under appreciated wonders.

  4. The Waiting November 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I get so discombobulated when my husband is at home too, although these days I will take any chance for him to hang out here because then there’s an extra set of hands with C. But before she was born, even his breathing from another room would be cause for me to shush him while I was working.

    • jmlindy422 November 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      Why do husbands insist on breathing? What’s up with that? Yes, having an extra pair of hands makes having husband at home bearable.

  5. Mary Rayis November 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I had to smile as I read this after an exhausting Sunday. Unlike most people, I actually look forward to Mondays. On Monday, the house reverts to its rightful owner – me!

    • jmlindy422 November 12, 2012 at 9:16 am #

      Monday morning at 9:00 am is my very favorite time.

  6. DoingDewey November 15, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    One of the things that makes it hardest for me to work is when someone else is doing nothing when I’m trying to do something – how dare they not be busy! And I love the hilarious way you described that feeling 🙂

    • jmlindy422 November 15, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      Thanks. Those people doing nothing are a real pain in the ass. You get used to it, though, when you have kids.

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