Thursday, January 8, 2015

In which Primo marches up and down the square for Fourth of July

Primo was invited to march in a Fourth of July parade and he wanted to do it and he wanted me to walk with him and I said that is about the last thing I want to spend my time doing because the Fourth is a holiday and marching in a parade is not my idea of a good time.

Good Lord, man. I have books to read! I have a garden to tend! I have DVDs to watch!

But he asked again and again. Still, I said no way jose' unless you want this to be one of your three campaign events, which are now down to two campaign events because I went to that boring as heck event for the congresswoman.

And then a friend of his, Russell Crowe, decided to visit us, so arrived on Tuesday and was going to leave July 5th, which was fine except Primo has this nasty habit of running upstairs for just a minute when he has guests and I, who have been minding my own business, doing something on the computer, am suddenly the person who is responsible for entertaining the guest.

I don't mind if Primo's friends visit. I do mind when they visit and he abandons them to me. Yes, I like his friends and no, I don't mind if they visit, although as I pointed out to Primo, his friend, he gets to prepare the guest room and bathroom.

Primo replied that when he visited Russ, Russ's wife made up the bed and all the other stuff and I pointed out that Russ's wife does not have a job and they no longer have children at home so Russ's wife has time to prepare for guests. "If you are willing to be the sole earner in this house again," I said, "I will be more than happy to do all the guest prep."

He did not like that idea.

For someone so progressive, Primo has a rather odd idea of how a woman should function in her own home.

Primo convinced Russ to march in the parade with him and then I was guilted into it.

Oh wait. I wasn't done with Primo abandoning his guests. Sure enough, he did it the evening Russ arrived. Primo and Russ came into the house about five minutes before my friend Lois came over to deliver half a crate of peaches to me. She had gone to the peach place that afternoon and we were splitting a case. I went outside with her and we chatted for about ten minutes. When I came back into the house, Russ was alone in the kitchen. Primo had gone upstairs. "He just went to put something on facebook about the parade," Russ said.

"He has to do that right now?"

Russ shrugged.

"He said, 'for just a minute?'"

Russ laughed. "I have known Primo since 1986. I know what 'just a minute' from him means."

I like Russ. I enjoy talking to him. He is a wonderful houseguest and he is always welcome in my home, but I did not want to make idle chitchat with him right then. It was 7 p.m. I had just gotten off two hours of conference calls with HQ, which is not in Argentina, even though that's its blog country, but in a country where our awake hours overlap only after 5 p.m.  I had to go to work the next morning. I hadn't done anything since I had gotten home from work except change clothes and be on the calls. I had things of my own to do. But I couldn't just walk away from our guest.

Maybe I am not doing it right. What do you guys think? What is the proper etiquette about leaving a guest alone in your home? I don't care if I am accompanied every second when I am visiting someone, but I am very self sufficient. Also, Primo and Russ were on the way out. Russ was just waiting for Primo. It wasn't a good time for him to go for a walk or start reading a book or whatever.

Am I responsible for staying and talking to him? It seemed impossibly rude to leave him in the kitchen while I went to my room to read. So I stayed but was ticked off at Primo, who answered, when I suggested that he quit abandoning his guests to me (this has happened before), "Well what was I supposed to do? Have him come wait in my office?"

I told him that the solution was not to abandon the guest and perhaps do the facebook post later. He got indignant and informed me that he is busy and he had to do it then and we had a bit of an argument.

The rest of the weekend, I just made sure to be busy - like outside of the house busy - at points where I was pretty sure that Primo would abandon Russ. I would rather Russ think Primo rude than think me rude.

So back to the parade. Primo really wanted me to do it and I felt - I don't know - not guilty but somehow not supportive and I didn't realize it would be a two-hour ordeal so I agreed to do it.

You guys. There is nothing more boring than marching in a parade. Nothing. NOTHING.

Two miles of dull. Nothing interesting to see around us: we were way behind the baton twirlers (I didn't even know that girls twirled baton any more) and between the mattress company and the cub scouts.

The only thing that saved it was one of the guys walking with us is a freelance advertising guy and we talked about marketing and advertising strategy for some of the big companies in town. He has done work for all the biggies. He was interesting and he will be a good work contact, so that alone made it worth the time.

But the parade itself. It was hot and the sun was glaring, which almost never happens here, but of course, it would happen on the day that I had to be outside for two hours. It was boring. We couldn't hear the high school band because they were way ahead of us. We just walked down the street, each of us holding a "Primo for Congress" sign and Russ occasionally tossing candy to the kids sitting along the curb, holding their plastic bags for the loot.

(That is also new to me - that kids get candy during a parade and that this fact is so well known by everyone but me that they know to bring a bag? Every time I start to feel like there is nothing that could surprise me, I get surprised.)

I am rambling in this post, aren't I? It doesn't have much of a plot. It's more of a general whine. I guess I am a whiner.

The day ended nicely, though. My friends Ben and Jennifer just bought a farm about 45 minutes outside of town. They invited us to their Fourth party. We were excited to go because they discovered two months ago that not only did they buy a farm, they bought several pregnant barn cats. It has been kittenpalooza around there since April. Ben keeps posting photos of the kittens - so far, they are up to ten kittens with three mama cats, with another mama cat who has hidden her babies - and Primo has been dying to see them.

We had the kitten tour as soon as we got there. Then Primo got a photo of himself holding one of the kittens - he is cat obsessed - and posted it on his campaign page with the caption, "Kittens in Travis County support Primo for Congress."

One commenter said, "Well, if kittens like him, how can we not support him?"

The end.


  1. Thanks for the softball!!

  2. "What do you guys think? What is the proper etiquette about leaving a guest alone in your home?... Am I responsible for staying and talking to him?"

    This is a chewy dilemma. Viewable from a bunch of angles. From my angle, I'd call your situation a marital issue rather than an etiquette issue because you've said it's happened before, you've said it results in the same argument, and you've shown us that it results in the same non-resolution; indeed, it results in an eventual replay.

    Primo's responsibility is to care whether or not you're unhappy about something he's doing. He has to do something more than argue for the same fixed position which has historically, in turn, upset you. Caring about the effect of our behavior on our spouse is a marital responsibility. So not caring/not budging is his part in the deadlock as I see it.

    To answer your question, no I don't think it's your responsibility to attend Primo's houseguests unless you want to. Your part in breaking the deadlock would be to remove "have to," and substitute "want to." That way you'd be offering Russ your own hospitality, and it won't involve Primo anymore. You would be acting out of voluntary, individual choice. Even so, this transformation will not have addressed the fact that Primo seems unmoved that his behavior upsets you.

    Longwinded in Florida

    1. I KNOW! I think just saying that I don't like it should be enough reason for him not to do something. And your point that I can change only my own behavior and not anyone else's is something I need to be reminded of frequently. Thank you.

    2. I KNOW, backatchew! Am remembering your reaction after the VP's admin wanted to adjust the heat solely based on the fact that you were uncomfortable. You mean, like, how I feel matters?

    3. That's what I came here to say; you shouldn't depend on other people changing their behavior. All you can do is tell them how their actions affect you, and decide what you want to do about it (assuming they don't change, which is a pretty safe assumption if the first request doesn't solve the issue for you).

      Sure, it's easy to feel that people we love should want to change to please us, but Primo could just as easily feel that you should want to change to please him. It's not about who is right, it's about each of you finding a way to live with each other the way you are now.

      In this situation, Primo is being rude to his friend, but then if his friend is staying with you rather than just visiting for an hour or two, it's a little unrealistic for anyone to expect that the friend will not be left to his own devices at all.

      Believe me, I know it's hard to feel like you're abandoning someone who is in your house. But as the parent commenter said, it's Primo's houseguest. If you feel like you WANT to not leave this person unattended in your house for social/friendship reasons, then great, but you shouldn't feel obligated to do so.