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Atonement Watch 5771

by The Next Family October 04, 2010

By: Ann Brown

The countdown continues. I have only until Saturday evening to get all my shit settled with everyone I’ve fucked over this year. I would have gotten on it sooner but I had a lot of ironing to do. And then I wanted to watch Obama’s speech on TV. And then I was hungry and needed to set out some snacks for myself, you know, as fortification for my impending atonement.

It wasn’t easy to find just the right snack for the work ahead of me – Triscuits were suitably rough and hard to swallow but the name Triscuit seemed, I don’t know, capricious when set before the task of making my peace with the universe and everyone in it. Ak Maks have a somber, ethnic, High Holydays sound; kinda like something the Hebrews would have said while choking down the dry matzo and reaching frantically for the water bottle in their fanny packs, but the Ak Maks in my cupboard were funky and not worth the calories. And forget about Laughing Cow cheese. That name is just asking for trouble during a solemn undertaking.

Best to skip the food and go directly to Cranberry, tonic water, vodka and lemon. The quintessential atonement beverage. Tart, bracing and good for you. The cocktail of transgressors who care about their urinary tract health.

So, atonement.

Atonement…..atonement…..atonement atonement atonement….atonementatonementatonement…

I will begin with the transgression of my lying.

Okay, here goes:

If you have ever asked me to do anything, go anywhere, call you, receive a call from you, meet you somewhere or be home at a certain time, and if I have answered that I’d love to but I will be working, then chances are good that I was lying to you. I have the great fortune of having a few careers that fly under the radar when it comes to clocking in, affording me a veil of vagueness when it comes to defending my whereabouts. This is high-grade crack to someone like me, whose idea of the perfect evening begins with whatever I was supposed to do getting canceled.

But I better stop lying about it because one of these days I am going to get busted. I’m surprised Robin hasn’t caught on yet; every time he calls just to chat or wants to go out or something, I tell him I have to work. By those calculations, I work about 93 hours a week and yet – I never make any money. So far I’ve been able to distract him from figuring it out by quickly flashing my cleavage at him when he asks about it but, let’s be honest, that only still excites him because of macular degeneration. What he sees when I lift my blouse is mostly in his memory. In fact, once he was even looking totally the wrong way – at the stainless steel side-by side refrigerator – but he still whistled. Gotta love Robin.

So, for the sin of lying to get out of shit I get invited to do, I ask forgiveness from those I’ve been ducking by inventing clients, alluding to meetings, feigning menstrual cramps, hiding behind my couch, blaming the post office, running the thermometer under hot water so it looks like I have a high fever, faking an earthquake, setting fire to my living room drapes when I saw guests coming up the driveway, moving from California to Oregon, not responding to my name being repeatedly called in a crowd and – in one instance – leading a nice couple to believe that Robin had been passing a kidney stone for 6 weeks straight just so we wouldn’t have to reciprocate a dinner invitation.

As I write this confession, I am looking out the window at darkening skies and impending rain. And noting that the picnic I am supposed to go to in about a half hour is most definitely going to be canceled.


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