If you’re ever strolling past my house at night, I hope you’ll stop and admire the view through my living room’s picture window. You’ll spy fresh flowers and flickering candles. You’ll see throw pillows and artfully arranged bookshelves. You’ll notice a rainbow of gleaming produce in the fruit bowl.
And I hope you’ll delight in the sight. I hope you’ll think to yourself, “What a charming, welcoming, and tastefully appointed domicile.”
And above all, I hope you’ll do us both the favor of never — I mean not ever — coming inside.
When it comes to domestic polish, you see, I put up a good front. Flick at its fragile veneer, though — peek behind a shower curtain or peer under a sofa cushion — and you let loose a veritable geyser of chaos. It’s a chaos I confront daily and manage to ignore just as often. But the holidays bring the promise of visitors whose very merry presence forces me to face the profound mess that is my home. And on a deeper level, I suppose, my life.
They’re coming, these people: friends, neighbors, family members. I know they’re coming. And when they arrive, they’ll do the unthinkable: They’ll help themselves to the half-and-half in (gulp) the refrigerator and then visibly recoil from the chocolate fingerprints on the door handle, the milky rings on the shelves, and the sticky jars of condiments that no one ever ate and — let’s all pray — no one ever will.