Something About the Economy by Cynthia Cook Robinson


Some people have walls that are “wine-colored,” as if that is a thing. Usually these walls are not exactly what wine looks like. Maybe more of a deep purple. An aubergine. Perhaps they went a more burnt or rustic direction and settled for an ox-blood, considering this is a shade regularly presented to successful 30-somethings when they inquire about paint schemes.

These people I see as coming home on Christmas to moms who make stuffed peppers from a recipe they saw on Food Network. They have bottles of oil with seaweed or some other kind of plant life inside, as if delicately plucked from some deep navy ocean, expanding the possibilities of their kitchen décor and their ideas of becoming more cosmopolitan. It’s probably not seaweed and they probably cook meals which are more of the Mediterranean persuasion instead of Japanese. Exotic, but not too far east.

These are the people who got the leads in plays over me. Or higher GPAs. They have sufficient bank accounts and were active members in Girl Scouts. I’d like to understand what it would be like to have Early Childhood Education as my first choice of study and a mom who is proud of my already established life, taking me shopping at Pier One Imports. Maybe buying me a pair of skinny jeans from J.Crew. It just seems like this person would have wine-colored walls and would probably tell those who come into the house and say “I love your walls! What color?” – “Oh it’s wine, is the color.” Although they would know deeply or maybe have the inkling the moment right after: Actually it’s a little more of a deep purple, like an aubergine, not necessarily a burgundy. Damnit. I should have gone with the oxblood.

Maybe they have a little dog that is like, always clean? I don’t understand how these dogs are always clean. It’s not as if they have a cleaning service (or at least that is evident), however their house always seems to be clean and the dogs are always clean. They don’t have cats. Too sly. They have one dog (or maybe two sister and brother dogs) and it’s always kind of middle sized and the fur is off white-cream and it’s probably curly and it’s always a clean fucking dog. You often think to yourself, doesn’t this dog go outside? Doesn’t this dog take a shit? Doesn’t this dog ever eat food and then mop it up with drinking waterand then he slobbers and the hair under there is all matted like a dog’s?

This is the kind of person I talk to on New Years Eve who asks about where I’m going in life and about the job market and how “it can be tough these days!” as if they have already tried it all, returning triumphantly with certain word. Oh, your red lips are really pretty and unique, but I swear I could never “pull that off.” And how are their lives going? “Pretty good!”

Does this person think to themselves about what they almost said but maybe were a little too afraid to say? Do they have inquires about the stuffed peppers? Are they consistently cleaning their dogs behind my back? Why do I give myself even the slightest space of entitlement to call them boring? How can I assume their lives are markedly more robotic, devoid of meaning or stress? Too entertained by Pinterest and reruns of Friends?

It reminds me of adults who I don’t really know that well but need to interact with maybe only on certain occasions like graduation parties or weddings. I want to make them feel good and everything, but there’s always some kind of speed bump like “what the hell do we talk about, the 60s?” My mom also told me that my generation is the “Entitled” generation. Rings me back to earlier when I felt so entitled to call the girls who eat stuffed peppers boring or maybe someone who is just so two dimensional it hurts me to listen to the names of her twin cockapoo puppies who are just always somehow clean. Maybe I’m jealous of how their oxblood walls and off-white cream dogs and bottles of olive oil beautifully coincide. Perhaps I’m riddled with hate at how they do their laundry before it explodes over the sides of the hamper and starts growing on their walls like ivy. Such complexes have been felt since I failed to properly communicate during a game of “Telephone” at Girl Scouts.

I at least hope the uncles and aunts with whom I’ve talked to over too much champagne about the swindling economy know that I think they are people with thoughts or feelings or whatever, and that maybe talking to them about kinda boring things like the economy is not my idea, but what I think their idea would be about what my idea should be. If that makes any sense.


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