For a woman, I am embarrassingly un-domestic. I don’t cook. I don’t sew. I don’t grow things. I don’t host parties. I wouldn’t be able to tell you which utensil to put on which side of the plate. I was simply born sans the domestic gene. And I am surrounded by people who serve as constant reminders of my own shortcomings.
I have a friend who hand-weaves her own scarves and blankets on a loom. She probably even built the loom from homegrown bamboo or something (she has hundreds of species of plants in her yard, all meticulously cataloged). I have no doubt that the only reason she doesn’t also produce her own wool is some pesky city ordinance that prohibits Alpaca herds in the neighborhood. I could no sooner hand-loom a shawl than win the Tour de France. If I can manage to sew a button on straight and not skewer myself in the process, it’s a major coup.
Said friend, who I’ll call Joan (because that’s her name) cooks and bakes the most amazing things from scratch. I gave her a grocery sack full of plums and overnight she magically transformed it into perfectly packaged jars of jam. (I didn’t ask her, but she probably collected sand from beaches around the world, melted it and blew the glass for the jars in her basement). I’d probably have to study the plums for a week just to figure out how to get them open. (Don’t laugh. You should have seen my first experience with an avocado).
Don’t ask me to cook, bake, or jar. Anything. If it involves more than one pan or two ingredients, I’m calling out for pizza.
I know people who take great pains finding the perfect wrapping paper and ribbons for gifts. They make their own paper. They make their own bows. They mold and bake ceramic adornments to go on top of the boxes. The packages look like works of art – the only fitting receptacles for hand-loomed scarves and homemade preserves in hand-blown jars. I can’t even cut the right amount of paper or get the tape to stop sticking to itself. The ribbon falls off when I try to tie it. And no, I don’t make hand-cut lacey snowflakes to use as nametags. I’m lucky if I remember to find my purple sharpie and write the recipient’s name some place on the wrapping before I forget whom the gift is for.
I was also born without the ability to accessorize. People with accessorization skills amaze me. They have a purse to match every outfit. Their earrings match their necklace, which complements their bracelet and rings. And their shoes always match their belt.
Judging by the way I dress, you would peg me as color blind. On a good day, my socks match. I mix patterns, wear lipstick that clashes with my shirt and wear white after Labor Day. Belts are purely utilitarian; they hold up my pants. Shoes? Forget it. Years of living in barn boots and sneakers have destroyed my ability to walk in anything remotely resembling fashionable footwear. Put me in a shoe with a heel and I walk like Bride of Frankenstein after a few too many shots of tequila. My medical records are full of scribbled entries like “fell off shoes again.”
I have friends who have amazing gardens. They grow their own vegetables, spices, fruit, lumber. I am the plant kingdom’s version of the Grim Reaper. If I so much as cast a glance at a flowerbed, it withers and dies. I have one houseplant that has ever lived; it must be some sort of genetic freak.
It’s too late in life for me to change, and I doubt I could do it if I tried. Instead I’ll embrace my position as the Lady with Unmatched Socks Who Lives in a Garage Surrounded by Dead Plants. And when I’m gone, you’ll have no problem finding where I’m buried. It’ll be the only plot in the cemetery where the grass won’t grow.