Here’s this week’s episode of The Port City Chronicle, the continuing serial novel of Gretchen, a 46-year-old criminal defense lawyer, and her family and friends, seeking love and happiness in Portland the hard way:
“Do you think in your next life you’re going to cook more?” Angela asked Ethan, while he sat at the kitchen table texting and not helping.
But Ethan wasn’t interested in hearing from protesters.
“Actually, I’m probably going to cook less,” he said, smirking. “The reason I cook so little now is in one of my past lives I was a chef and I had to cook all the time.”
So Angela ratcheted it up by making a little noise. She slammed the lid down hard on the stew bubbling up on the stove and stood with her arms crossed glaring at him. There was a lot packed in there.
But, like certain other people, Ethan does whatever he wants and doesn’t care if some people don’t like it. He’s not going to cook and clean and help at home just because that’s the more P.C. thing to do. Anyway, Adam and Tim and Henry and Marcus all thought he was funny. Granted they aren’t necessarily the most sophisticated people, but some of them can vote.
Then the pot boiled over and Angela yelled some more when Ethan pretended it wasn’t happening so he wouldn’t have to help clean up the mess. But Ethan and the other boys just poked fun at her for getting so upset.
“I thought you were going to throw the lid down on the floor to punish me for what you did,” Ethan said chuckling, when she finally calmed down and served dinner, with resignation.
The fact is you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other in this life even if things seem crazy sometimes, as we’ve come to learn during the most insane primaries ever.
But there were still some hard feelings.
“Is that your same Patriots shirt?” Angela asked, serving the salad.
As a protest against the loss of the Patriot’s draft picks, Ethan has been wearing their jersey practically every day. It’s what he considers worth protesting.
“Yes, but I washed it,” he said.
Angela shook her head. “No you didn’t.” That’s the downside to never doing the wash.
“Well, you didn’t wash the lettuce either,” he said picking up a leaf.
“Yes I did,” she said. “That’s quinoa.”
He peered into his bowl.
“Quinoa is like having sand in your salad.”
So Angela slammed down the salad bowl too.
“Why are you like this?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he said, smirking again at the guys, “people are so mysterious.”
But Angela disagreed.
“What?” Ethan said. “You think I’m an open book?”
“More like a pamphlet,” she snapped.
Adam made the mistake of laughing out loud. Sometimes protesters like Angela don’t have a sense of humor about the issues.
“I thought you were going to stay overnight at your mother’s,” she said, pursed-lipped.
“No, I left,” he said. “Because it’s kind of nice to give her a rest. You know, from all her other rest.”
“Don’t you have other family here? An aunt and cousins?”
He shook his head. “I had an aunt but she didn’t have any children.”
“Was she married?” Angela asked, the first question she always asks about any woman. You might think it hasn’t worked out all that well for her, but Angela remains a firm believer, same as Mrs. Clinton.
“Yeah, but she couldn’t have children because her uterus never matured.”
Even Ethan stopped chewing.
“Did everybody in your family know that?” I asked.
“My aunt told my mom not to tell anybody but my mom was really proud she got a better uterus.”
Angela was outraged. “If your mother could hear you.”
“Yeah, but she can’t hear me,” Adam said. “She couldn’t hear me even if we were in the same room.”
Ethan seized the opportunity. “Now I can’t eat these vegetables,” he told Angela. Not that there’s that much of a resemblance with broccoli.
“Oh yes you can,” she said.
“Plus I already found two cat hairs in my food tonight.”
Angela was unimpressed. “I wonder if you’re going to spit up a hair ball.”
But when Marcus asked what a uterus was, Angela was singing a different tune. “Do you boys want some Gatorade?” she answered. Usually they can’t have Gatorade with dinner since it’s not real. “What color do you want? Orange?”
“You’ll throw up again,” Ethan said. He left the table in case any further clean up would be needed.
But Tim didn’t realize Angela had changed the topic.
“Did you know they just did the very first uterus transplant? I read about it in the paper.”
“I wonder if it felt weird walking around with it,” Ethan said.
Angela was glaring at him again. “Pretty soon apparently they’re going to be able to do a head transplant.”
“Why would someone need a head transplant?” Tim asked.
“If their present head is not working well.”
“Like if they had a stroke?”
“No, just being wrong a lot, making bad choices.”
She was talking about Ethan.
“Well, if nobody needs me I’m going to venture to the living room,” he said.
When Angela tried to get him to come back to help with the dishes, all she got was a snore.
“Why is it men are able to fall asleep on a dime like that?” she asked Adam.
“I guess because they aren’t worrying about anything. They have no sense of ... I’m not sure.”
“Right and wrong?”
Ethan woke up and shook his head. “No, that’s not it.”
He rejected the protesters’ logic out of hand as a matter of course. But, unlike some people, at least he wasn’t actually mean-spirited. When Angela looked defeated, he put his arms around her.
“Believe me,” he said. “I know I’m a Neanderthal. Do you think I like that about myself? No, I hate that about myself. But nothing can be done about it.”