Vice

Saturday morning, early. The slap of the Times hitting the walkway, a particularly bright star (probably a planet but I’m not going to fritter time figuring out which one it might be) charting a path from lower corner of arched sunporch window to upper. The family asleep and I am furtively, happily indulging in …

Vice.

Vice. Such a lovely Victorian word, and who would think a middle-aged mom could even have one?

Once, I applied myself with an almost religious fervor to sitting on the back stoop of tinkertoy-like, uninsulated Austin rentals, cigarette in one hand, Big Gulp of Diet Coke on the ground beside my foot, and music, preferably melancholy, pulsing from the blown speakers I was too broke to have repaired.

I’m too overextended to give anything that same sort of focus these days, but I do like my coffee (and judging from the red-letter-day’s worth of comments last time I talked about coffee, so does my small, much loved readership). That in and of itself probably can’t constitute much of a vice… or if it is one, it’s along the lines of the valedictorian of the senior class telling the school stoner oh, gee, I’m sure jonsing for a peanut butter sandwich! But mine has an additional facet. I have become addicted to… House Porn.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. All the flaws are photoshopped out. In fact, all the reality is airbrushed out. The photos of paint jobs and furniture arrangement are as glossy as a Bunny’s lipgloss. Every house is beautiful and if you were to visit these actual houses you could walk through the rooms and have no clue you’re walking through the same room depicted. They look that different.

Every time I take the Girleens to the library for their weekly dose of Maisie, Clarice Bean and the struggle to get mom to check out Hannah Montana dvds, I swing by the 700s shelf of the adult section and grab myself a few coffee table books. Sometimes I even grab ones I already checked out before. The content matters that little.

We are all about the fantasy around here.

Addiction, I have found, may in part be about yearning. And not to make light of real, serious addiction (this is my blog and I can be as shallow as I want!), when you parse it out, yearning can be such a hopeful, optimistic act.

I bring my stack of glossy coffee table House Porn home. I yearn; I feel a tantalizing itch. If only I ran out to Benjamin Moore right now, I too could have a bedroom painted a mouthwateringly serene shade called, unappetizingly, Smoked Trout. If only…

The main thing about these books, about this airbrushed vision of domestic life is that usually there are no people in it. No kids with noses that continuously beg Mom, pay attention! Wipe me! And wipe me now before I use my sleeve!. No mom wearing yoga paints and stained t-shirts. No bills, no dirty dishes… oh, you get the picture.

I know it’s not real, so why do I still lust to attain it? I suppose that is what makes it a vice, rather than something I just like to read.

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