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30 December 2010 @ 01:12 am

The question you asked me a while ago about whether I am in the habit of assuming that everyone is as miserable as I am returns to me these days, asking if it might be invited in if it promises to behave itself.

I've now had two--three?--different friends over to the house where I was cat-sitting this holiday, and they all agree with me that 1) S., one member of the couple who own the house, is an impressively talented decorator, and 2) that she has achieved It--she has Arrived at fabulous, and may now rest on her beautifully arranged laurels.

This is because of the kitchen drawers.  The kitchen cabinetry is made of white-painted solid wood, with glass fronts, and that is impressive enough if you're into that sort of thing (I personally am annoyed by the lack of water pressure at the kitchen faucet), but the kitchen's point of ne plus ultra is the drawer runners.  The drawers themselves are just as solid as their facades, not the usual warped particle board with shitty vinyl covering in a wood pattern, and the drawers pull out of their slots without any bumping, catching, or sliding--or noise.  They're totally silent and totally smooth.  The three friends and I agree that this, this, is the true sign of wealth.  Fuck Christian Louboutin.

Honestly, the house is lovely.  It's a tiny, single-story Tudor cottage, with a Spanish-style courtyard surrounding the back, on C______ Avenue.  I'd love to have a house like it some day.  I envy S.--tall, pale, beautiful, elegant, witty, red-headed S.--her home and her money, her beauty and her ability and means to surround herself with beautiful things.

S. wants to have coffee with me tomorrow to talk about her husband's alcoholism and the possibility that they might divorce.

I wasn't particularly surprised by the news (though I was by the invitation): cat no. 2 chewed one corner of, among other things, a prescription for Antabuse in C.'s name, and last time I housesat the bedside table in the room where I slept, S.'s room, was littered with books bearing titles like Ending a Co-Dependent Relationship and When Enough Is Enough and Nice Girls Finish Fat.

(The bedroom in the finished basement, where C. sleeps most of the time, is devoid of such paraphernalia, and larger, but I don't like sleeping down there anyway: C. tells S. that he leaves their bed in the night because S. tosses and turns, but in deleting my own cookies from the basement computer*, I have seen the list of his.  My guess is that C. is an asshole whose veneer of suave chivalry has cracked from long use in close quarters; he seems to favor exclusively porn featuring white men hurting or humiliating women of minority races.  At least with regular porn you can pretend the women are enjoying themselves--as long as you don't look at their faces--but his choices all seem to point to a man who longs to abuse those classes he feels are beneath him.  "Martha the maid has to take a facial for a paycheck," "Submissive black sluts in surprise anal fuckings," that kind of thing.)

S. is probably nearly 50, or just over, though expensive skin cream and regular hair appointments make her look 37, and her attitude of not giving a shit about age makes you wonder why youth is supposed to be important anyway.  C. is a retired U.S. general who now works for Lockheed Martin and travels extensively.  She met him in her home state of Kentucky, I think--or maybe they both lived there once--and the two of them moved away from their respective families (C.'s ex-wife and his two adult children, S.'s mother and sisters) to the pretty cottage.

I think that must be why she wants to have coffee with me.  I think maybe she doesn't have anybody else--at least, not out here--except the half-crazed 29-year-old, broke and fat and tragically uncool and living with her parents in a trailer out west of BFE, who comes into town to housesit her cats for her.

You are the only person I've ever met who is, apparently, not as miserable as I am (hence my habit of assuming everyone is, which I view as being akin to assuming that everyone I know has a pulse), so perhaps it's time to ask you your secret.  How do you remain happy, even with your troubles?  You must have troubles, surely; everyone I've ever known has them, and some of the people I most admire have some of the troubles I think of as most basic.  What is it that makes you think, "Life is good enough that I think I'll keep doing this living thing a little longer"? or "Yeah . . . this is good"?


* I was using their computer with their express permission and knowledge, by the way.  I'm "Let's see what kind of makeup this lady wears" creepy, not "Let's see what kind of porn this dude likes" creepy.