Saturday, April 16, 2005

Housewifery

The weekend always brings housework. Laundry, bill paying, and, now that spring is here, gardening and yardwork. Today, I did the ultimate housewife task and cleaned the oven. Just to prove that I am really a geek, I used the self-cleaning option and was just amazed by how it turned out. Seriously, it was totally cool. I've also happened upon a couple of posts today about housewives, desperate and otherwise (via SBFH and Half-Changed World, I believe; great one at Pish Tosh). What the hell is a "real" housewife these days anyway? I think the single guy across the street (who reminds me of Rob from Survivor) is a better housewife than I am (if you use some kind of 1950s definition). Can't we all just admit that men and women run around and do these crazy house maintenance chores? Are there really households out there where the woman is slaving away and the man doesn't lift a finger? Please tell me there aren't.

There's no good way to segue into this, but today's poem is "The Young Housewife" by William Carlos Williams, which I am not sure how to interpret. The fallen leaf comparison really gets me, something about the idea that becoming a housewife causes death. And isn't the speaker crushing her? His going to work means she must stay home? But maybe the poem isn't meant to be that depressing and maybe I spent too much time with my head in the oven (which means I need to bring out the Anne Sexton).

At ten AM the young housewife
moves about in negligee behind
the wooden walls of her husband’s house.
I pass solitary in my car.

Then again she comes to the curb
to call the ice-man, fish-man, and stands
shy, uncorseted, tucking in
stray ends of hair, and I compare her
to a fallen leaf.

The noiseless wheels of my car
rush with a crackling sound over
dried leaves as I bow and pass smiling.