Sunday, May 30, 2010

There's no other word for it

It's been a busy week. I write my firm's newsletter and by the time I finished that this week I could barely bring myself to sign my credit card receipt when I bought a small bundle of distracting magazines at Borders yesterday. I've recovered and have even been thinking.

One of my favourite things-to-think-about are the eBay purchases I'm expecting this week. Mostly they're wool dresses (one cherry, one navy & black, one brown pinstripe pinafore, all bargains) but I also bought a copy of Bill Bryson's new book about the history of all the things we have in our home - forks, pepper, wash baskets. I love those kinds of inconsequential details. Thinking about home got me thinking about the Brontes who shared such love and did so many amazing things in their humble homes. It got me thinking - why haven't I read the Tenant of Wildfell Hall? I surprised to learn I didn't already own it so it's due here this week too.

I kept thinking about home, the love you can have in homes and the form that love takes. Then I thought about the specific things that are in my home that I love: flowers in vases, a fresh cup of hot coffee, having a shower, fresh sheets, my favourite pasta in my favourite bowl.

And that leads me to why I hate Valentine's day. I refuse to celebrate it and long ago banned my spouse from even buying a small dandelion on February 14. I hate seeing love presented as a sickly infected package, one that anyone can have provided they pay inflated prices for inbred roses and a fatty over cooked meal. One that requires effort only one day a year.

Real love, the proper kind, takes effort and thought and sincerity. It doesn't come in the shape of some noisome teddy with a battery operated heart throbbing on his cheap nylon chest.

To my mind real love is the quotidian details. It's sharing the housework, watching the news and sharing outrage or relief about the same story, making the bed you share together, sharing the care of your noxious and ungrateful cats, knocking on the door and saying good bye when you're leaving for work and your partner is still in the shower.

It's remembering to buy their favourite fruit for the week when you buy the groceries.
It's making their dinner, not just for tonight but enough to ensure two generous helpings for lunch this week:

It's buying the morning papers which your spouse has to read in order to start their day and coming back with a bunch of multicoloured rosebuds:

All these things happened for me this weekend, all without fanfare and without prompting. They mean more than a than a million of those forlorn teddies and their finite battery-operated hearts could ever mean.

I think love like that stays in a house even after the acts have been played out. They had that love in the Bronte house and I've seen that kind of love in lots of houses. You can feel it when you walk in.

The only other thing I want to add here is that my cat Ellie is turning out be a far greater pervert than I suspected. This week I caught her on three separate occasions, hiding in the bushes. Exhibit a:
Exhibit b:

She was watching the printers who work across the lane arrive for work. It one of the things she loves about living here.

What kind of love do you have at your house?


  1. I realise this is going to make me sound like a crazy cat lady, and I am well on my way, but I have two fur treasures who insist on being in the same room with me, who will get up and follow me to make sure they know where I am, who meet me at the door every evening and who sleep on the clothes I wore the day before when I am not at home. They also know when I am sad and acknowledge this with a head-butt.

    It's something like love. I do have the opposable thumbs and the recipe for cat food so it might be something like cupboard love but I don't mind.

  2. It is exactly what love is! I've never subscribed to the notion that animals can't feel love. I think it is a myth spread by the meat industry so we don't feel bad about eating animals. I've seen love on the faces and in the actions of countless domestic cats and dogs. The things you describe sound like love! No doubt the cat food thing is a positive attribute in their eyes, but it's just one of the many things they love about you.

  3. Aw, thanks. It's true that my cats love me because they really don't love anyone else. My friends have said to me: "Well, yes, Fangs is horrible, but he loves you and you love him, so we put up with him." The scary thing is, you can substitute the name of almost anyone I have ever dated for "Fangs", and the statement still holds. Huh. Is that TMI for the internet?