Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Aunt Saran Wrap Commitment

Last night I was using Saran Wrap to cover left overs from dinner (a fantastic pasta, smoked salmon and vegetable dish, by the way). The result was, as usual, a taught, clear and well organized film of Saran Wrap beginning at one end of the rectangular dish that slowly digressed into a series of lumps and wads of that shit at the other end of the dish.

This particular Saran Wrap experience ended in cussing, consternation and contemplation of my Great Aunt Mary Maxine. I pretty much could just call her "Aunt Saran Wrap". Not only because she used to make fun of me when I was a girl because I couldn't properly handle Saran Wrap, but also because she is so like Saran Wrap. She starts out, upon first sighting, as a taught, clear and well organized woman. Her clothing always matches. She still maintains, at age ninety-two, whatever her hairdresser tells her is the most modern hair cut and color. She wears giant, black and bug-like Jackie O. sunglasses that are, thank goodness for her, back in style. She walks as if being carried to the party upon a well carpeted litter on shoulders of her minions was 'just too much'.

But, just like Saran Wrap, she quickly digresses into a series of lumps and wads once you get within ten feet of her. She snarls the word stupid at those who cannot beat her at a game of cards, curls her lip and tells people to their face that they are fat and their hair looks like a bird's nest, and is angered to the point of spittle shooting from her lips if her host or hostess doesn't notice she's in need of a refill of scotch.

Last night, looking at the lumps and wads of Saran Wrap at the 'bad' end of my dish, I thought,

"If I believed in a God I would curse Him for the creation of Aunt Mary Maxine and Saran Wrap. I would rip this Saran Wrap from this dish, wad it up, walk with purpose and strength across this kitchen floor in a way that would insure every living being in the house knew something was going on in the kitchen, slam my foot down on the lever that lifts the trash can lid, and slam the wad of Saran Wrap into the trash. I would then walk with continued purpose and sound back to the counter, yank the dish from it, walk with purpose and sound to the kitchen door, slam it open, stomp onto the back porch, release a primal scream, and heave the dish into the woods behind the house."

This, of course, led to me standing quietly at the kitchen counter and staring down at the lumps of Saran Wrap on my dish. I sighed. I closed my eyes. I thought about a commitment I made to myself long ago. It goes something like this:

"Mongo, here's the deal - any time you are putting Saran Wrap on a dish and it causes you to think of Aunt Mary Maxine, understand you are having a very bad day. Just get with that. Understand that it's not about the Saran Wrap. It's not about Aunt Mary Maxine. Yes, she is a cranky, crusty, cruel crone that you were probably afraid of her from the time you were an infant and she leaned in close to get a good look at you and soured your entire crib with the smell of rotten scotch. Stop thinking about Saran Wrap and Aunt Mary Maxine immediately. Move. Go. Point your brain cells in another direction - the real direction of what's bothering you."

As much as I would like to tell that commitment to go fuck itself, I cannot deny it is right on track. It has never failed me did not fail me yesterday. The moment I remembered it and my brain cells were pointed in another direction - the real direction of what was bothering me - I acknowledged that I was indeed having a very bad day.

I suspect I am having another one today, but it's a bit early to tell. I suppose the best way to find out is by opening up the refrigerator and looking at the lumps and wads of Saran Wrap on that dish to see if it causes me to feel insufficient and think of Aunt Mary Maxine.


  1. Ah, I relate. I have been, as of late, just willing myself to not getting bent out of shape. It's working and it seems to be exponential, the more I do it the easier it gets. But, for the life of me, I can't understand why some days, I just can't do it. Le sigh.

    I can just picture Aunt Mary Maxine the way you describe her. I remember clearly my father's mother taking me shopping for a birthday outfit at eleven or twelve. She was never a warm woman and as I tried on the starchy cotton blouses, lifting my arms to pull them off, she wrinkled her nose, scrunched up her face and said,"someone needs to start wearing deodorant". Even then I realized, she has shame where I have none. It made me self conscious about being around her but not about my stinky pits thank god. Ah, another generation right.

  2. Wow. Aunt Mary Maxine gave me a pain in the chest! I, too, can see and hear her so well. And I realize I've known too many women like her.

    It's great that you recognize her (and Saran Wrap) as a cover for other frustrations. Hope today runs more kindly than yesterday.

  3. Yesterday Aunt Saran Wrap sucked ass. Oh, I mean - Yesterday sucked ass.
    Today, that old bitch AND Saran Wrap were in the rearview mirror. Thank goodness.

  4. choosing NOT to let someone or something have a hold over you is a powerful, powerful thing.

  5. My Aunt was Betty, and she sucked the fucking life out of me and made me feel worthless and still haunts me from her fucking grave every single time I buy clothes, I am fucking fourteen again.

    "Now, this is for when you lose weight so you can find yourself a boyfriend, okay? Now, Bethy was always up on the latest trends, okay, and she always was very popular. Now, your mom tells me you're playing softball, and that's great, Bethy played softball too, but she was also Captain of the Dance Team and the Pom Squad and the Dick Suckers, because it's about balance, okay sweetie? Kind of like your diet? You have to do girl stuff too, like I told your mom, in high school? The best times you'll have are at school dances, and if you want to fit into a beautiful dress..."a;dfjkal;dkfja;sdlkfj;asdlfjk;askldfj;aksdjf;laskjf;alksdjf;alsdjkf

    "Well, I'm in theater too." And I taught horseback riding lessons to handicapped kids every weekend, and I was extremely embarrassed by it because I never went out since I had to be at the barn so early.

    "Now, honey. You can't really expect you're going to be any good at that, can you?"


    So I get it.