Thursday, March 19, 2009
To date, I have subjected three generations of Wright men to the horror of my naked body. My husband, the middle Wright, seems unharmed by the experience, but it’s unlikely that the eldest and youngest of the clan escaped permanent scarring. Neighbors, parcel deliverymen and some unsuspecting Jehovah’s Witnesses have also been victimized, but I don’t share a dinner table with any of them, so I can’t comment on their respective rehabilitations.
Three years ago, we adopted a Lab puppy. My husband had expressed a desire for “a good hunting dog,” and I’d found the perfect candidate. His name was Rufus, and he resided with a Slovakian foster family. There were problems, of course. First, Rufus was a rescue, and we didn’t know much about his history, except that he had been taken from a drug addict. Second, Rufus spoke Slovak fluently, but pretended not to understand English commands at all. Finally, Rufus’s mind operated on an intellectual level so high that we mere humans remained blind to his devious plots until it was too late.
Of course, it is entirely possible that Rufus simply had one too many hits off the crack pipe in his first home. He was anxious and high-strung, and when the prescribed “doggy downers” didn’t work, we resorted to gulping them down ourselves and hiding behind locked doors from his destruction. No good. Rufus laughed evilly at our feeble human brains and picked the locks. He could open any door in the house, at any time.
As I undressed for bed one night, The Dude approached my closed bedroom door and lifted his hand to knock. Before he completed the motion, Rufus appeared and offered (in dog Slovak, of course), “Hey, you want that door to open? Let me help you out!” Before The Dude could translate, Rufus opened the door and pushed it open. The relative quiet of the house was pierced by my startled scream, and The Dude shrieking, “My eyes! My eyes! Oh, please, make it stop!” as he ran into his room, slammed the door, and collapsed, sobbing, into the fetal position.
Being seen naked is a traumatic experience for nearly any woman over 30, but for a teenage boy, seeing his mother naked requires years of therapy. Spending the monetary equivalent of a college education on psychotherapy might help him survive, but it will never, ever erase the horrific image from his brain.
My least favorite feature in our house is our front door, which is actually just a huge pane of glass with a little metal frame around it. Any visitor is treated to an unobstructed view into not only my bedroom, but the downstairs bathroom, as well. For this reason alone, I am attempting to train everyone to keep both doors closed, lest anyone be treated to a peep show they didn’t count on. I, of course, always close both doors. I’m not some sort of exhibitionist!
It’s the high-speed streaking between the closed doors that I need to work on.
A few months ago, I stepped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around myself, and retreated to the bedroom to get dressed. As I dried off, I remembered that I’d set my clean clothes on the bathroom counter. To this day, I can’t think of one good reason that my clothes and my naked body ended up in different rooms. Furthermore, I can’t rationalize why I didn’t take that towel with me when I darted from my bedroom to the bathroom (though, to be honest, it happens pretty frequently). Mid-streak, I realized that my father-in-law was standing at the front door, finger poised to ring the doorbell.
I tried to pretend that maybe he didn’t actually see me, but The Dude confirmed it after a visit with his grandparents. “Grandpa mentioned that it was pretty embarrassing when he saw you running to the bathroom without a towel,” he reported. “I told him I know how he feels.”
Perfect… they’ve formed a support group.