Monday, October 22, 2007

but nobody ever said it was a nice tenant

There is a blackboard propped up against the wall on the front porch of Iris' building. It has been there since mom removed it from Iris' bedroom as punishment for something or other, and it now serves as a message board.

Sometimes mom writes urgent notices to the landlord, like:

"Gary--screw loose on cabinet door above sink." [Honey, I know another loose screw that's way more problematic.]

But mostly she leaves messages for Iris. I stopped over there last weekend and saw this:

"Sock." [Sock found, out of place, must be taken care of immediately.]
"Clean up table. I told you about this already."
"I threw cilantro out the window in back, carrots out my bedroom window." [Now you must find these in the grass and put them in the compost bin? And also, in general, WTF?]
"Listen better."

Keep in mind that there are two other apartments in the building, and also that the blackboard faces out onto the street. So pretty much anyone can find out easily what a lousy job Iris is doing being a nine-year-old girl.

The messages are posted and then wiped away (by Iris). And if for some reason the board is not cleaned in a timely fashion, then Iris has to write "I will clean the blackboard" 20 times, on the blackboard, and then wipe that away, after her mom has seen it.

There is one thing, though, that never gets wiped away. It is a pronouncement, in pink, at the very top of the blackboard:

"Love lives here."

6 comments:

tiny tin bird said...

who wrote that? did you write that? maybe iris? it's such a sweet thing that stands in such stark contrast to the normative board writings.

Deb Abramson said...

No, the mom wrote that. That's the big irony--that she could write that but be a total bitch and not trip over her own hypocrisy. (Hence the title--like, love lives here but isn't especially nice.)

Er, I guess I didn't make that clear?

Ginny said...

No, it was clear. People like the mom are always completely full of shit about themselves. My heart breaks for that kid. It must be very difficult to see that all the time.

tiny tin bird said...

It was clear. I just didn't want to believe it... you know, villains being pure villains.

Deb Abramson said...

Well, she's not pure villain. Once I got clued into the OCD stuff, I realized just how ill she really is. So, for what it's worth, I think her cruelty is driven not by malice but by disease. It's hard to keep that in mind, though, when you see the impact it has.

nejyerf said...

when i read that last line my first thought was "oh barf"

what she really means is "love lives here, as long as it follows the rules"