Monday, February 19, 2007

Ever had a roommate?

I wrote this as an exercise on a message board, and it's all too, too true:

Dear Former Roommate:

You know, it's been almost 22 years, and I'm still a little angry with you. Maybe a lot angry. Maybe I should get over it, but the way you treated me and my belongings was horrendous, and I hope you have managed to grow up and learn some responsibility since then.

That jewelry you took with you when did the fly-by-night move? That was mine. You know - the earrings and necklaces that were in my jewlery box on my dresser in my bedroom. I know, I know. They weren't labelled as mine, but I had thought perhaps the location might give a clue to ownership.

Remember the rent? That monthly charge for living in the apartment that you never paid? The one-third that I kept covering, along with my own one-third, because you hadn't been "able" to find a job yet? Can I get that back yet? You did, after all, set up that complex repayment plan so I'd be sure to know you fully intended to make good on taking advantage of my stupidity generosity in paying your share. Just to show you what a stand-up woman I am, I'll forgive the grocery debt. I didn't really want to eat the food I bought anyway. It was just for looks.

The new outfit, though. That really hurt. I had my first credit card - a Dayton's store charge - and I had bought a perfect pair of jeans and a gorgeous purple sweater. When I brought them home from the store, you wanted to know if you could borrow the outfit. Never mind that you were one jeans size bigger than I was, and that you wore a D-cup bra as opposed to my A-cup and therefore would have stretched out my new sweater. Never mind that I hadn't even worn my new clothes yet. You wanted to borrow the outfit, and I said no.

I should have guessed when I left for the evening that you would have just gone ahead and taken the clothes anyway. I should have known, so I suppose it was my fault that you stole my jeans and my sweater. It certainly wasn't my fault, however, that you decided you didn't like your date after all and thought that crying "rape" would be a good way to get attention. That you admitted to me that that's what you had done was unbelievably insensitive and offensive, considering you knew that I'd been an actual victim of such a crime just a few years earlier.

When you told me the police had taken the clothes as evidence, I know I exploded. And you deserved it. "I didn't think you'd mind," you said about "borrowing" my clothes. Didn't think I'd mind? Didn't think I'd mind? I specifically told you not to take my clothes. How could think I wouldn't mind.

Your night flight wasn't long after that. I suppose you "didn't think I'd mind" about your taking my jewelry either.

You don't know this, but I went to the police station to recover my new clothes. Because I was not the one who signed the paperwork as the owner, the police would not release my property to me. I couldn't prove that it WAS my property. Your false rape case went nowhere, you disappeared, and I never, ever got those clothes back. They were my first purchase on my first charge card, and when the bill came later, I was bitter over writing out the check for a sweater and jeans I could never wear.

But it's not thanks for nothing, old roommate. I learned more life lessons from a few months sharing an apartment with you than I could ever have thought possible. That venerable old teacher Experience surely did sock it to me, didn't She?


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Who am I?

For years, I was a WOHM.

For years, I was a SAHM.

Now I have a job again, and I've gone to M-F noon to 3, with the occasional Saturday thrown in. That makes at least 15 hours a week, putting me solidly in the part-time arena.

So does that make me a PTWOHM? But if I'm a PTWOHM, and I also spend many hours each week at home or school doing SAHM stuff, does that make me a PTSAHM?

I seem to recall that one of the "rules" is that you can't work AND be a SAHM, so while there might be a designation for PTWOHM, indicating that she does not work full-time, there can be no designation for PTSAHM.

Now, if I calculate the number of hours spent at home, school, and children's activities, and they overwhelm the number of hours I am at work, am I a SAHM or a WOHM. Whoops, no, there again is the rule that any amount of work negates the SAHM label.

Does it change if I can bring my children to work with me? I work during the hours that Space Age daughter is normally in school, but it's after Space Age son's school hours, so he comes with me.

Does that make me a SAHM? No, because we're not at home. Does it make me a SAWM (stay-at-work mom?)? Does it make Space Age Son a WOHS (work-out-of-home son?)?

Maybe I am a PTSAHWOHM?


(As a note, I really don't want or expect answers to my questions - this was just a bit of fluff meant to poke fun at the labels we often insist on giving ourselves and how, unlike men, our identities seem to be wrapped up in parenting vs. working, as though somehow the two were mutually exclusive.)