A dining room table lurks under the heap

June 12, 2012

You will never guess what I found when my company left after the Memorial Day weekend: the dining room table. And it was right where I left it before they arrived, in the dining room. Amazing.

Anyone who expects visitors this summer, especially their own adult children, should recognize this syndrome. It’s called we are at the beach, they must live like animals here, they couldn’t possibly have rules, so we’ll just drop everything and see where it lands.

For a week I thought surely one of the contractors in the neighborhood had  mistakenly dropped off a Dumpster in my dining room thinking it was another construction site.

All I could see every morning was a pile with up-ended skate boards, towels that had tiny footprints on them, bathing suits so wet even the mold had moved out, surfer dolls whose wardrobes were more expensive than my own, cables, wires, adapters, the occasional cookie in the shape of a fish and fortunately for me, a bottle of Tylenol. Of course, the cap on the bottle had teeth marks on it, no doubt where some poor fool tried in vain to open one of those childproof caps that only children know how to use.

No matter how much I removed from this pit, there was always more the next day. This beast in plain sight that made even the proselytizing church recruiters turn away in disgust grew every minute. It mocked me. It laughed at me like some crazed South American drug cartel leader upon hearing Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No" policy.

But eventually I caught on and realized it wasn’t a Dumpster, but my own dining room table underneath all that crud. I knew this once I looked out the window and noticed that the property under construction was neater than my dining room.

My daughter has a lovely dining room in her own home. It has a long pine harvest table, clearly visible through the windows filtering the warm sunlight.

It is adorned with a needlepoint runner with intricate depictions of vegetables, and sitting on top of it is the latest collection of small glass vases as recommended in one of the thousands of decorating magazines she acquires, such as Décor For Those Who Don’t Cook but Own One of the Most Expensive Kitchens in Town. Obviously you enter this room at your own risk.

I can remember visiting my son and noticing that he too had an attractive dining room in his apartment. Well, I guess the part about it being a room is true; I’m not sure about the dining. This is understandable, since at that time he was not married and considered himself a minimalist.

I’m unfamiliar with a minimalist philosophy but, I think it means you wouldn’t want to be on the same planet with anyone who acknowledges that material possessions mean anything to them, even if it is a roof over their heads.

Exceptions to the rule are things paid for by their parents, such as tuition, rent, airline tickets, gas, cars, plasma televisions, vacations to Third World countries and anything else that a parent might subsidize.

So, basically the dining room table in his apartment could be described as simple, sleek and some might say a modern-day sculpture. It’s actually a Beacon moving box he found in the alley next to the all-night grill around the corner that is used by the P. Stone Rangers gang.

In any case, about the only one who didn’t use the dining room table as their own personal dropping-off place was the black Labrador Retriever who couldn’t even stand to eat in the same room.

But fortunately all visits come to an end, which is when you will be able to unearth your missing furniture. Just be thankful that eventually company does leave; so what if they take off with the remote control on top of the car. It will take you awhile to find the television anyway.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer scavenger hunt; I just have a feeling.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.