My mom announced that I should consider getting my backdoor inspected because I have had some mystery abdominal pains. (I suspect they are stress-related, frankly.) The thing is, I have been through Backdoor Inspection Time with her several times, and it is the exact opposite of fun. The first time, there were (shall we say) decorative results when she decided she could “just lie down and rest for a couple of hours”. This was a charmingly naive assumption. Messiness ensued. The washer filed for divorce. The dryer scoffed. The carpet is sulking. The bathrooms felt very much loved and appreciated. All of them.
It looked like a gang of monkeys had broken into her condo and flung what monkeys love to fling. Only…everywhere.
I have taken note. When I am old enough for Backdoor Inspections, I will not tell myself that having a nap is a good idea. Instead, I will say “No, Self. Expect Super Sneak Pooties!”
My mom is a very anal-retentive (no pun intended, especially as she was not retaining anything anally the whole night) neat freak. She almost wept. We had just gone through elder incontinence woes with my grandmother, who was offended by the concept of adult diapers (she remained a very dignified and proper Southern lady until the end) and resisted them as long as she was able to, and she was legally blind and thus incapable of seeing the results of her resistance (you can guess), and neither of us were excited at the prospect of boiling the entire house. Luckily, about 40% of the house was not affected by her lack of preparation for Super Sneak Pooties, and mom and I don’t live together, so I saw only partial evidence of the physical and psychological trauma she had to deal with.
When I took her into the Backdoor Doctor for her Inspection, I had to sit in the waiting area for a long time, and it was there that I learned all about scrapbooking. I knew that such a thing existed, but not that there were entire magazines devoted to the hobby. There are, and, as in all doctors’ offices, they are all very old issues. Examining them, I found myself wishing I had so much free time and disposable income. Good grief. Women (mostly, anyway) waxing rhapsodic over stickers. I don’t think I was ever that excited about stickers even when they were a trend in middle school (remember the scented ones?) but it was interesting to see some of the graphic design choices (not that I agreed with all of them). So, yeah, I was soon up to speed on the scrapbooking phenomenon. Personally, I’m aware that my photographs are of limited interest to everyone else.
I have a skillion pictures of my trip to London, many of which were good enough to include in my SCAD grad student application portfolio as “extras” (given that I am not in a photography course and use digital and cheap-o 35mm cameras without knowing crap about f-stops (other than that they exist) and filters (other than that having a blue one would have improved pictures of the grey London sky). Only people who love London want to see them, and this is often a cunning plan to discuss their own past or future trips to the same place. Which, fortunately, I groove on. Ditto my snaps of pre-Katrina New Orleans.
I have a quintillion jillion photos of various bands, like The Hiss, Palo Alto, The Living Things, The Libertines, Ash, The Dandy Warhols, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Pattern, The Tender Idols, Duran Duran, John Taylor, The Soundtack of Our Lives, The Cato Salsa Experience, Stereo Total, Momus, blah blah blah, and only people who care about these groups or artists want to see them. I tend to remember the ones that turned out poorly, such as Nick Cave, most of The Buzzcocks, Jay “Gene, or Jezebel?” Aston, Grandaddy, Supergrass, Oasis, Blur, The Kills, and so on. (I suspect that a lot of that had to do with excitement at the time, or really strict venue policies against photographs.)
Then there are the pix of parties past where I spend a lot of time wondering Who’s That Guy? because I never write people’s names on the back of my photos. I’m lazy and busy and it’s low on my list of Things To Do, alas. If only I had the free time that scrapbookers have! It would be nice to have all that free time for hobbies. I’m lucky if I can indulge in my fave hobby, which is sleeping at least 8 hours a night and waking up naturally without using an alarm clock. That’s joy.
And that brings us full circle to the Poop Fiasco, as my mom likes to schedule doctor’s appointments at the buttcrack of dawn (no pun intended) so a much longer amount of your day can be ruined by having to start it off by having hoses and stuff stuck up your bum. (No worries, all was well and Mom, as was expected, was perfectly healthy and had squeaky clean pipes.)
One of the funny things about my family is that, no matter what the conversation, it all devolves into a discussion about farting. I have no idea why. My friends will vouch that I, personally, have no interest in the subject. I don’t even pass gas myself all that often (as far as I know, anyway). Hello, diet! It’s avoidable, and there’s always Beano if it isn’t. I HATE the kinds of movies that think farts are hilarious. And yet, get two or more of my family together, and a discussion about farting happens. It is inevitable.
I was thinking about this earlier, and I have concluded that it’s probably BECAUSE we don’t get all the adolescent giggliness about bodily functions out of our systems by watching stupid entertainment choices. I’d still rather endure some juvenalia amongst my family members than pay $8 or more to watch total strangers crack toot jokes on the big screen.
The only other consistent topic is “who can remember a childhood event most inaccurately.” This competition is especially fun when people who married into the family or people who were not born yet when the event occurred or people who were simply not present at a certain event for other reasons chime in with their opinions on the subject. Especially if they are insistent that they were firsthand witnesses to the disputed event. That’s good family fun. I tend to run out of patience with this game long before everyone else has exhausted themselves. I worry that I will end up being a grumpy curmudgeonly old lady. (Wait, “end up”? I’m already there.)
Occasionally the recollections of events are so diametrically opposed it can be hilarious, but this happens less often than does someone getting so frustrated by the poor reporting skills and contradictions that they get teary. I guess it feels like their worldview is being corrupted, or their sense of reality is more suspect than it normally is.
Perhaps another appeal of scrapbooking is defining your family’s memories for them. “It happened this way, and I have photographic proof!” Because cameras never, ever lie.
One final quibble about scrapbooking: if you are going to spend $50 and several hours designing a lovely scrapbook page, please SPELL CORRECTLY. It’s the equivalent of, well, a fart in church if you mess that up.
And, with the invocation of farts into the narrative, it’s time to finish this entry. Trust me, I know firsthand that the quality of conversation is doomed to deteriorate from here on out.