Monday, November 5, 2012

My Hungarian Wig-Loving Housecleaner is Back

Remember Fabienne? I first had her start coming to clean like three and a half years ago, and I last wrote about her when she broke up with me in a text. That was the summer of 2011. We parted as friends and life went on. Hank would ask about her every few months, possibly as a comment on my housekeeping.

Then a few weeks ago, I was sitting somewhere waiting for a kid to do something. I got a text and it was from Fabienne, after over a year of silence. It said, "Hello, I'm thinking of you. You're in my prayers."

Well, I was reminded of the joke about the psychoanalyst who passes an acquaintance on the street. His friend says, "Hello," and the shrink thinks, "I wonder what he meant by that." I read her text a few times and went, "Hmm, huh?"

Then I texted back something like, "Hi! Thank you, we're doing great, how are you?" But then I sat there and stewed, yes Reader, I stewed. You see, that day I was in a vulnerable frame of mind about my health and cancer and dread and mortality. I don't know, I mostly feel bulletproof but there are still bad moments. They get farther apart. But something had made me feel afraid, and then I got her text, and I was like, "Why am I in Fabienne's prayers? Does she know something I don't know? Does she sense, like, a disturbance in the Force?"

Yes, I can be this crazy, Reader. It's time you knew. (You already knew?) But I am also pretty good at recognizing when I need to be talked off the ledge, and I can sort of talk myself down from there. I spun my little hamster wheels. Then I realized, aha, it's early October and we have all been hit with a veritable air-drop of pink ribbons and of course she's thinking of me because everything is breast cancer breast cancer all the time. She sees that and is reminded of me. Okay. Yes, so that's how I convinced myself that Fabienne did not have supernatural/divine knowledge that I was sick again.

Writing it really makes it seem more ridiculous than it felt in the moment.


So we exchanged a few more textual pleasantries and then she says, "Can I come back and clean for you?" And I'm like, "So am I in your prayers really or was that just your opener?" Ha! No I didn't. I said, yes please, come on Friday. So she did.

She's come twice since then; she did a really good job the first day and a slightly-less good job the second day. So we're back to where we were.

Her telling me I am in her prayers reminded me of something my sister told me. When Christians want to say no without saying no, they say, "I need to pray about it." I love that so much. Because there is no rejoinder. You're being pressured to buy a car or sign up for a timeshare? I need to pray about it. Extra PTA responsibilites? Better pray about it.

Anyway, so Fabienne is back on the scene and I thought I'd bring you up to speed. I don't know why the story of her reentry has to be so tied up in the story of my ongoing mental adjustment to having had cancer but there it is.



Amy said...

Yay! Fabienne is back! You know, she was one of the first to know of your diagnosis, so it makes sense to me that hearing from her out of nowhere would trigger feelings of badness. I know what you mean though, about the bad days that pop up.

And yes, "I'll pray about it" is Christianese for NOT GONNA DO IT. The secret's out! Also in some contexts, "I'll pray for you" is Christianese for "You're an idiot."

Elizabeth said...

It's so hard not to make everything a symbol or emblem for everything else. It is for me, at least, and sometimes I adore the signs and sometimes they're just tyrannical. I grew up Catholic in the sixties and seventies, and the casualness of the Protestant "praying" was foreign to us. While I'm no longer a practicing Catholic, the whole "I'm praying for you" thing makes me cringe" -- I know it's my hang-up, but I'm putting it out there, so thank you.

Anonymous said...

You're awesome. She's a little crazy. Glad you're back to the blog. Missed reading you.

My Kids' Mom said...

Well, I live in the South, so we just say, "Fabienne, bless her heart, is cleaning homes again." "Bless her heart" generally means "I can think of a whole lot of really snarky things to tell you about this person and if you encourage me, I will."

Casey said...

I LOVE it, glad you are getting a mostly clean house again. Our cleaning lady (Paula, not quite as cool as Fabienne) and I just rekindled our relationship and she is back to cleaning every other Friday. Here's to not scrubbing our own toilets!