Go figure

You tend to rethink your attitude towards alcohol when you wake up and there are black-and-white figures and patterns plastered all over your room, like a hangover rendered on paper, in high-contrast graphics.

“What the…” you whisper, and you stop there, because right above you there’s a checkered flag signaling you to finish whatever it was you were starting.

What’s this all about? Why has this room been invaded by diagrams?

Call it paranoid, you think, but maybe this is the wife communicating symbolically, conveying in visual metaphors where words had apparently failed. Some kind of marital sign language.

That initial suspicion is fed when you see that on the wall to your side of the bed, there are concentric circles with a dot right in the middle. Like a dartboard with a bullseye.

What am I on target for this time?

Let’s see. On your closet is a figure resembling piano keys, white and black. What could she possibly be saying? Notes? Tune? Perhaps you’ve been needing some tuning lately? Chords? Harmony?

You open your closet and in that jumble of articles of clothing, you see that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean she’s not really going after you. Maybe your wife is making a point about harmony.

This is not good. To your left you see a drawing consisting of two dots and a curve, making up a smiling face. Hey, maybe it isn’t that bad. But it’s part of a three-part series. Beside it, a pattern that looks like a thatched roof. And, to its side, a figure of the setting sun.

Smile. Roof. Sunset. In your mind, there are subtitles: “I’ll be happy if you make it a point to be home by sunset”.

You bury your face in your hands, your shoulders hunched. Bad husband. And while you’re in this state of dejection, the door opens and your wife calls out: “Hey, did you see the patterns I printed out for the baby?”

“Prints…? Baby…?”

“Yes,” she frowns. “Those prints. They stimulate the mind. Create synapses responsible for learning.”

“Synapses…” you say blankly.

“Yes,” your wife says, “especially for math. And it increases concentration skills.”

“I’m sorry, can you repeat that? I wasn’t paying attention.”

“And they calm the baby when she’s bored.”

“Calm? But this dartboard here nearly knocked me out of my senses!”

“They’re supposed to enhance curiosity in infants.”

“Well, it certainly did arouse my curiosity.”

“It’s good for the baby.”

“But I thought they were for me.”

No, she says. It’s too late for that. You’re sort of a hopeless case. Your mother should have printed out these drawings before you turned three.

SunStar Cebu
17 March 2005

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