Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You know the axiom, "Don't judge a book by its cover"? (Which is severely overused, particularly by teens with blue hair and pierced septums who always insist that you--the person with semi-natural follicles and un-holey nostrils--are judging them by their appearances. And that, by the way, is pretty much the purpose of such physical alterartions--to get attention through glaring idiosyncrasies. Note to the dyed and pierced: We see you. Heaven forbid we should accurately read your meta messages and consider you as a slightly different species of exotic and mildly deranged bird.) [Please note: I do not have biologically-related teenagers in my home--yet. My tone may change dramatically in a few years. But it probably won't.]

May I submit a more accurate, more personally-applicable, aphorism? More accurate because, frankly, EVERYONE judges books by their covers. (That's why publishing houses allocate so many resources to cover design. As a veteran used-book-finding-under-time-limits-type person, I know that sometimes the only thing you have to go by is the cover--and maybe a few laudatory blurbs on an inside page.) And more-personally applicable because, well . . . just keep reading, if you dare.

Here it is: Never judge a house by its exterior.

But why is such advice necessary, you may ask. That, my friends, is a explanation best given in pictorial form.

This is my house. Lovely, no? I especially enjoy the roses over the gable. Pity they only bloom once a year. In March. When the chaste trees--those dead-stick-like things in the foreground--look more like tumbleweeds on steroids than the purple-bloomed charmers they are later in the year. Anyway, most people, driving by mi casa would think, "Well there's a perfectly adorable cottage-style revival with intriguing landscaping." (These are very kind-hearted passers-by. I believe the neighbors who put up with us refer to our house as "the jungle in the middle of the block." ) "Oh," the unknowing observer would say, "I'm sure the interior is as gracious and inviting as that welcoming blue door."

Ha Ha, kind people--because inside, this ostensibly well-appointed home is in fact an interior-decorator's hall of horrors:

Eek! It's been eviscerated!
Why? Why was this brutal mauling necessary?
And what, what is that horrible galvanized monstrosity lurking
behind the feeble protection of a single stud?

Gasp! The mantel has leprosy and has been quarantined!
(And, yet, the piano practice must go on in this torture chamber. I like to think of it as a demonstration to the children of just how far we're willing to go to get the desired results. Just a kindly tip, kiddos--Heed it or else.) [I'd also like to point out the stenciling above the windows, done in a fit of ennui-inspired redo-ing, and a morality tale for almost a decade now.
Let this be a warning: Friends don't let friends decorate bored.]

Shriek! The quarantine failed--the pox has spread to the entry!
Blue tape! Blue Tape, STAT!

Chaos and confusion everywhere!
Rugs on sofas! Sewing machines invading dining tables!
Furniture placed with neither rhyme nor reason! Books both helter and skelter!
Oh, the humanity!

Only a miracle can save us now.