Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Miss My Context

Imagine my sister Mrs. Pep’s horror when I told her that she and her husband would have to become my new parents. Imagine how vastly that horror increased when I further explained that we’d all be living in the same house. To keep her from shooting me (or herself), I assured her their marital bedroom would remain sacrosanct, that, a la the first Mrs. Rochester, I would sleep alone in some crumbling attic, but that, unlike that unfortunate thorn so painfully lodged into poor Jane Eyre’s side, I would not cause one iota of trouble.

For one thing, I’d have my own flat-screen TV to put my mind in the safe state of alpha. For another, I’d have Dr. Mars’ psychopharmaceuticals to put it, if needed, into the even safer state of unconsciousness. All I wanted from them, I explained, was that they make enough noise with their voices and feet to let me know that they were still down there and, more importantly, both still alive. That, plus letting me join them for meals now and then, would be enough to provide me with what I’d just realized I no longer had: Context.

Whether I’d known it or not (and mostly I hadn’t), both my younger sister and parents had defined a place in which, for good or ill, I belonged. Once they were gone, so was that place. It took me a while to notice it but as soon as I did (see previous post) I went so Mental, I went Existential.

Humans, I realized, have to belong—or just think they belong—to someone or other, because those someones will surround them with buffering context, indeed the only context (unless you’re a monk or Picasso or something) that really distracts them from what is of course the ultimate context, and I do speak here of the dank, yawning grave.

I don’t know what makes a grave yawn, I only know that the less context you have, the wider it does it. Which is why, after 20 years of living alone, I suddenly have to live with the Peps. You see, unlike my aggrieved Miss Havisham self, Mrs. Pep still has plenty of context, twenty-five years with a man so uxorious she’s never even pumped her own gas. Poor Mr. Pep. I appreciate that he didn’t sign up for this. At the same time I can’t wait to look on while he cleans both my windshields and wards off my death.


  1. Yes - sometimes all we need is someone else to drown out the things that go bump in the night.

    ...that, and a flat-screen.

  2. Thanks, Tanita. Chocolate's good too.......