Saturday, October 08, 2005

A sucker for symbolism

I just got back from running errands, one being a trip to Home Depot for furnace filters. For some reason, my particular filter size seems to be difficult to find. I have two filters, actually. One is easy to find, the other is a chore. I know it's time to go on the hunt when the ductwork starts whistling like someone with clogged sinuses.

Anyway, I digress. Home Depot is one of my favorite stores, right up there with Barnes and Noble. I get all gooshy about Home Depot the way some girly girls get about shoe shopping. Meh. Keep your Manolos, give me hardware!

Without fail, I find myself in a trance as I wander the aisles looking at and smelling plants, fertilizers, cleaners, paint and other goods. Like a magnet I am drawn to the area with sample kitchens, high-tech appliances and bathroom accoutrement.

Today, while mesmerized by the kitchen sinks, I realized what was happening! I, as an American consumer, am hypnotized by the symbolism of these items! I knew what it was when I saw the cabinetry and wanted to HUG someone. (It didn't much matter who, I just wanted to HUG someone and make 'em a cookie!)

You see, what they are selling, besides hardware, is a sense of nurturing. And that's right up my alley. I look at those beautiful ranges and I see Thanksgiving dinners.

Those fancy front-loading washers and dryers? Ha! Those are stacks of carefully folded clothes, going into family dressers. All the other clothes have been ironed crisply and hung in the closets, 1 inch apart, thanks to the closet organizers on Aisle 8B. (Right next to the shoe organizers which hold the perfect number of matched-up pairs.)

Never mind that I am a single woman without family. I NEED to fuss over someone anyway. I need to cook and clean and bring order and happiness out of the chaos of the world.

No, no, no. Friends, you need not contradict me just because you've seen my slovenly surroundings in real life. Pay no attention to that mess behind the door! I am driven by all things domestic! I don't need to take out the garbage -- I'm composting so I can have a beautiful flower bed!

Even outdoors, I can spend 15 minutes staring at the Rubbermaid garden storage units, visualizing hoes and rakes neatly hanging from hooks on the side walls, my Honda self-propelled lawn mower resting within after a good afternoon's mowing.

I tell you what... if Home Depot's marketing staff ever reads my blog, they will figure out they could triple sales in their store by setting up a central display of a dining room, with a table of gleaming wood set with homey china and silver. Add the turkey and a few candles, and you'll see clusters of families around the edges, trapped in the spell.

Don't forget, there's a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie in those sample ovens, just begging to come out before the big game!


FrenziedFeline said...

Have you ever considered becoming a foster parent? :)

Trixie said...

I have, actually. I've even thought about adopting, at the urging of many friends. But my thought was that a child really needs two parents, and I couldn't be the kind of mom I want to be without a dad in the home to help. Kind of an old-fashioned idea, but that, combined with my odd schedule, has always caused me to reconsider.

FrenziedFeline said...

Well, I have to agree with you about the adopting thing, but there are many kids in need of short-term nurturing and you'd be a great influence. :)

Einar said...

The last person that I know that became a foster parent gave the kid [age 14 or so] back. "Do you know how much they eat? and they NEVER clean up their messes and do you know how Many Messes we are talking about " etc. As one who has gone through it, I vote that you not begin it at age 50.
But that is not even why I am writing. Your thoughts about 'symbolism" hit me because as a art historian I have belived that Americans no longer can follow abstract symbolism - but i was wrong and will have to re-think all sorts of my point-of views. Einar