I like teaching anthropology, I really do. But after a while it starts to mess with your head. Take yesterday for example. I was sitting on the lawn in front of TWD’s house in the beach chair he got me for my birthday. It wasn’t beach chair weather per se, but it was the closest we’ve gotten since he gave me the chair last summer so I decided to take full advantage of the situation with—wait for it—an anthropology textbook and a slice of leftover pizza.
(Is my life exciting or what?)
I was reading all about the demise of agricultural states and the effects of the Industrial Revolution and thinking it’s probably just as well that TWD already has kids because I certainly don’t see the point in bringing any more children into this f*cked up world…
Actually it wasn’t quite that simple. In truth, my thought process was a bit more convoluted:
Look, the sun is finally shining!
Capitalism is the root of all evil.
Hmmm… I’ve never had bacon on pizza before. This is kind of nice.
We should all become socialists. Socialists are hot. Look at Tom Branson.
I wonder whatever happened to that communist I dated in Oxford? Communists are hot too. Some of them at least.
I said I was going to make dinner, didn’t I?
If I was a hunter-gatherer, I wouldn’t have to drive to the grocery first.
Then again, if I was a hunter-gatherer, I wouldn’t be able to sit in a beach chair reading an anthropology textbook and eating bacon pizza.
By the time TWD came home from work, I was… well, in a bit of a mood.
(It being “that time of the month” and tax season probably didn’t help.)
He started telling me a story about one of his co-workers but I wasn’t really listening. I was still thinking about the Industrial Revolution and gender and the division of labor and the legacy of patriarchy in the modern world.
“I don’t like sitting here,” I announced.
“I don’t like sitting here.”
“Because you always sit at the head of the table and I always sit at your side. It makes me feel subservient. It makes me feel like one of your kids.”
“Nena, that doesn’t make you subservient.”
“Yes it does! These seating arrangements are just another example of patriarchy!”
“But my parents sit at the side of the table when they come to visit.”
“Not your dad. He sits at across from you at the other end of the table.”
I had him there. When he excused himself to take a phone call, I decided to rearrange the seating arrangements so that neither of us was sitting at the head of the table.
“Just humor me,” I instructed when he returned. “I want to see if it makes a difference.”
And it did. For about three seconds, which is when TWD asked me what was really wrong and I found myself having a complete meltdown at the dinner table.
We had a pretty big blow up back at Casa Richter last week. I resolved to move out as soon as possible and was feeling pretty good about the state of my finances until Tuesday, which is when I went to file my taxes and realized that moving out isn’t actually going to happen any time soon thanks to how much I owe the IRS.
Suddenly, my usual position at the dinner table came to represent every insecurity I have about my status: TWD is older than me, he makes more money than me, he owns his own house, he owns his own car and he has health insurance. Meanwhile I’m stuck trying to run a dance company out of my bedroom, waiting to hear back from my agent and surfing the web for LivingSocial deals to go to the dentist.
Fortunately, TWD is getting used to it by now and he possesses an uncanny knack for keeping his cool even when I’m forcing him to play musical chairs in his own dining room and hurling insults at the Roman Catholic Church. After a long talk, we settled down to watch Modern Family and he took me out for ice cream. (Coldstone Creamery is, admittedly, one bi-product of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution for which I will always be thankful.)
I decided I probably won’t have to become an atheist after all, nor am I going to join a commune. Now I’ve just got to get through tomorrow night’s lecture and SUMMA evaluation without sounding like a raging Marxist.
(I still don’t have a proper suit by the way, despite a second trip to Burlington Coat Factory.)