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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Looming of the Lambs?

It’s amazing how a little disruption can alter your everyday perceptions.

We’re doing a bit of painting around Chez Charlie this week. Three rooms are going under the brush and roller, so three rooms of domesticated clutter have been moved into three other rooms, which were already full of domesticated clutter. So now they’re packed to the wainscoting with domesticated clutter, and three rooms stand empty save for trampled tarps and painting paraphernalia. It’s unsettling.

Also, I lied a little white lie. We’re actually having the painting done, by a pro. In our defense, we’d normally tackle a job like this ourselves, but it’s just not feasible right now. My wife is wicked busy with school and work and the burdens of a neurotic scatterbrained husband. And I… well, I just don’t want to paint the stupid rooms. I’ve got other things to do, like writing and complaining and being unsettled by newly-cluttered rooms. Clearly, my dance card is full here.

“Up is down, right is left, your dishes are in the living room, your desk is in the kitchen, and your favorite bookcase is stuffed into the guest bathroom toilet. Utter chaos.”

At any rate, the painters went to work today. We cleared one room of furniture, thinking they’d start there and work their linear little selves through the house systematically. But no. Painters are, at heart, artistes, and these particular artistes deemed it necessary to pile all of our belongings in the remaining paint-thirsty rooms into our office and bedroom, respectively. And that’s not just unsettling. It’s downright freaky.

Just for instance, imagine this scenario. Let’s say you spend three years or so walking into your bedroom, with no large shadowy figures looming over you. This is a bedroom without overhead lights, mind you. You can walk all the way around the bed to get at the nightstand lamp — and you often do, when there are no large shadowy figures looming over you. Which there never have been. For three years. Not even once.

You with me on this one? No looming. Zippo.

Now let’s say an unruly pack of creative artistes whirls through your house, mingling the various contents of your rooms all higgledy-piggledy into different places. Up is down, right is left, your dishes are in the living room, your desk is in the kitchen, and your favorite bookcase is stuffed into the guest bathroom toilet. Utter chaos.

But let’s also say that you know these artistes, these Dutch Boy desperados, aren’t painting your bedroom. Whatever shock and dismay you feel at seeing the rest of your home twistered up like a toppled-over Tennessee trailer, you know your bedroom is safe. It is your sanctuary, your haven. An orderly Eden in a sea of disarray.

Those were my thoughts as I made my way, dizzy and bewildered, up the stairs. Maybe it was the unfamiliar clutter and odd juxtapositions that got to me. Wine glasses next to shoeboxes? Bed pillows sitting on dining room chairs? Dogs and cats living in harmony? Peace in the Middle East? Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell bumping uglies?

(See? You’d be dizzy too. I told you.)

Maybe it was the barren and empty rooms, instead. Or just the paint fumes charging through the house. At any rate, I stumbled upstairs for a nice quiet lie down in my safe cozy bed. I stepped into the bedroom, took one step, and there it was — the looming.

I wigged out mid-step, like Cosmo Kramer play-testing a defibrillator. I did my best to stifle a girly shriek, and slid back out of the room, away from the looming, to catch my breath.

The bastards had rolled up a rug and deposited it three feet inside my bedroom doorway. If the thing had fallen on me by chance, I’d still be lying there right now, with an exploded heart and bravely soiled underpants. Instead I gathered myself, ignoring the dog’s snickering, and strolled confidently into my bedroom.

And immediately banged my shin on an end table. Which they’d moved, so they could fit the futon on the other side. Que desperados!

I spent the next hour clearing a path through a jumble of my own stuff, and finally had my lie down. It was just what I needed, very relaxing — until I opened my eyes to two peepers full of looming.

Goddamn rug. Was there nowhere else they could put that?

The missus and I spent the rest of the evening tidying up as best we could. We’ll have another few days of living with the mess, and then we can put it back for good. Assuming we don’t get sick of looking at it and chuck it in the trash, that is. I don’t care how nice your

‘stuff’ is; when you pile it all together in one corner of a room, it becomes ‘junk’. Half our house looks like Buffalo Bill’s basement from the Silence of the Lambs. I’m afraid to venture into our cellar for fear there’s someone there to rub the lotion on my skin or give me the hose.

At least then I’d know where to find the lotion and the hose. Lord knows I can’t find anything else in this heap of jumbled-up jetsam.

Meanwhile, I never did move that stupid rug out of our bedroom. And it’s bedtime. Sure, I know the thing is there now. But it’s going to be a hell of a rude awakening in the morning, with that carpet doing its looming thing again. If we start trashing our stuff, that rug is the first thing on the curb.

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