Dust has held generations of my family together. It is the mechanism that allows our family to communicate. As one of the boys is rushing out the door, they will stop and scrawl a quick pertinent note on the buffet, telling us when they will be home or what their names are…
Dust creates solidarity. Scientific study doesn’t need to tell me the dinner table is the cornerstone of the family. Its sheer size enables complicated “instant messaging.”
Those outside our home do not understand. My Mother-in-Law came recently and was horrified by the state of our commune. She announced that she would “help us clean.”
I took action. I quietly convinced the boys that a game of Grandma-tipping might be fun. “Go for the legs,” I scrawled on their Game Boy screen.
On one particular harsh tip by Scott, the baby of the family, Grandma wasn’t able to secure her hands around his neck quite quick enough. She fell and broke her hip. Revelry. I knew this “accident” would slow her ambition. She convalesced quietly. And, after a scheduled Medicare house visit, the rep required she return home to cleaner air… “Preventative medicine,” she muttered.
Relief set in. Our communication system remained in tact, for now.
However, the break healed quickly for a woman of her age. And, my mother-in-law returned with renewed determination. The walker in one hand and the dust chamois in the other, she began her quest. I pleaded for her to stop. She plugged in the air purifier. I tripped the breaker. She hand cranked the generator. I accepted defeat.
When she finished the house sparkled. I pulled the blinds… it hurt my eyes. I wanted to complain but there was nowhere to write. My quaking finger didn’t even leave a smudge on the TV.
My mother-in-law returned home, but the repercussions of her destruction were great. Everyone wanted to share, but it was eerily quiet. All avenues had been destroyed.
We were forced to attend family counseling to overcome this sudden lack of communication. The therapist listened closely, considered thoughtfully, and then announced that he believed time would heal this fissure.
Roughly two weeks later, thanks to road construction and poor window seals, we were back to our close knit relationship.
I wrote the therapist a note of thanks, pulled the top off the end table and mailed it.