I am supposed to be downstairs by now, I think. It’s one of those things. If my grandfather would call me to SAY he wanted me to come down and do something, that would be one thing. That would be great, compared to this. At least then someone would have said out-right what they want. As it is, I mostly just hear the occassional mean-spirited joke about my sleeping in… or nothing at all… when I don’t get dressed and ready for hard labor by the crack of dawn. Except … I know the crack of dawn is too early. Sometimes I do get downstairs by seven or even sometimes by eight, and more often than not my grandmother is still sleeping, and the door has a good chance of being locked because my grandfather woke up to take his pills at 4AM and has basically been resting or napping since. Other days I’ll get up and get dressed and down around nine and my grandfather has already been up and around and got a dozen things done, and he doesn’t say it explicitly, but he always makes me feel like I should have been up earlier to help him.
Or yesterday, my dad was up here… and I’d been out the prior evening hanging out with the only two people my age I know of up here until a little after 1AM, so I didn’t set alarms… normally my father will call when he leaves phoenix or when he gets to Payson, or at the least, when he gets here… and yesterday he didn’t call at all… I was woken by the sound of him running the big saw, cutting wood. And I certainly didn’t mind getting the sleep, I sure needed it, we’re all sortof recovering from a cold that’s been going around, and I’m not exactly a morning person when I’m down (I’m a little down right now; did I mention that?), so getting up late and staying up late make me feel a little … less bad, anyway, so … dad, if that was intentional, to give me extra sleep, then thanks, but … if you were secretly disappointed or upset that I wasn’t already up and around and working by the time you got here… you should have said something.
It’s all this … politeness … and not saying anything … but still giving me the feeling that I’m not meeting your standards … it gets to me. But maybe I’m being paranoid. I mean, stuff gets done. I try to get everything I’m told to do done in a reasonable period, and I try to do other things as well… Like, I can see that I should probably mow the grass, since it finally looks good to me, long and soft enough to want to lay down in it… and once I’ve mowed it’ll look neat and trim but … unappealing to me. I’ve always liked the look of ‘wild’ grasses, growing tall and wide and at various heights… tall enough that the wind can make waves across the lawn is even better… waves of green, undulating before me. But since the grass is just beginning to look good to me, I know in my mind that it is time to mow it all down. Because other people don’t think like me, I guess.
Where was I? Oh… frustrated that because it’s 9:30AM as I write this, I imagine my grandfather sitting downstairs wondering where I am, and at the same time I want to be back in bed, sleeping. I’m up because I set alarms to wake me up. … That’s so annoying to me… I don’t have a real ‘job’ I have to show up for on a set schedule, I merely have an obligation to do the things that need to be done around here, and yet … I feel obliged to set alarms to try to get myself out of bed and downstairs by about 8:30… too much earlier and sometimes I walk in on my grandmother naked… too much later and I walk in on a perceived attitude that I’m a disgrace for being so late. It’s frustrating to me that I’m living by alarms up here. Life should not be this way here. … Maybe I do it to myself. Maybe no one cares when I get up.
Because I’m just a quick call away. Press a couple of buttons on your phone and say the word and I can be up and dressed and downstairs in just a few minutes, and I can start the heavy lifting before I even eat, if you need me to. Of course, my grandfather will never see this, and I won’t talk to him about it, just like he doesn’t talk to ME about it.
What do you think we’ll do today? There’s a chance we’ll be building a box to put sheets of glass in, or maybe he won’t have the energy for that and he won’t give me anything to do. Which is good, but until he hasn’t given me anything to do, I feel like working on my own projects or interests is somehow a betrayal. Like, I couldn’t go do any work on a painting or my second novel right now because there’s this nagging feeling that maybe grandfather expects me to be moving 25 gallons of cat shit from one place to another.