The Rascals of House Hunters

My wife and I love watching House Hunters, especially the international version of the show. It’s been a thing for us for a long, long time. We love to yell at the people for making stupid choices.

Now, we know a lot of the show is fake and from what I read the people have already made the choice of what house they want even before they are filmed “house hunting.” I also read that sometimes the show utilizes younger actors to play the buyers who in reality may be old, ugly, and boring. Something like that. But even with all that in mind, it really grinds my gears when I see people who make a living as “social media trendsetters” or “lifestyle enthusiasts” or “product ambassadors for an international marketing start up” or “nomadic online fashion consultants” and they have a budget of like 2 million dollars and I’m just like “WTF!”

Just once, I’d like to see a guy who vacuums for a living and makes 13 bucks an hour trying to buy a house. Now that’s putting reality in Reality TV.

My wife understandably gets frustrated with my House Hunters frustration. I just can’t help it, though. I’m an edgy individual. Take last night for example. The buyers were two guys — 23 and 24 years old, respectively, who were friends and business partners — who earn a living by making YouTube videos about video games or something like that. It was never made totally clear. But nonetheless, they supposedly have 2 million subscribers to whatever they do and in turn must make a shitload of money because they were looking at houses priced around $1.3 million. I just sit there and shake my head and I truly don’t understand it. How!?

Am I envious? Yes! Am I bitter? Yes! Why? Because (with the exception of the last two years of my semi-retirement and “working” as a struggling writer) I have worked my ass off my entire life at jobs that were killing me emotionally… And for what? I never got ahead. I never got noticed. I barely squeaked by. And in the end, I got kicked to the curb like a bag of trash because of some corporate algorithm. I bang my head against the wall and holler to the heavens, “What am I doing wrong! I just want to live, not suffer to live!”

It seems so damn easy for so many others and some days I struggle just to get up, make coffee, and do the laundry. Sigh.

But then I look over at the corner of my desk and I see a pile of notes from my wife. She leaves me a love note on my desk every morning before she leaves for work. Even if I have been an ass. I’m usually still sleeping. But reading her note is pretty much the first thing I do in the morning. They are a daily reminder of all that we have, together, in this life. She’s my Reality TV.

I know I bitch and moan about life plenty, but she is always reminding me of what truly matters. And when I stop and really think about it, instead of getting caught up in the charade of societal guidelines, it doesn’t matter I don’t have 2 million followers or a million-dollar house. I have our simple sweet life together, and though it’s not always easy and often fraught with worry, fear, problems, and so on. The love we have is the richest in the world.

Well, that ended completely different than I thought it would. But she’s good at getting me to turn things around when I need it most.


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A Carnal Knowledge of Cereal

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

Cereal. It’s the perfect companion to the afterglow of a carnal embrace. First, there’s the reaching into the refrigerator for the milk with an elevated heart rate. Then there’s the gathering of the bowl and spoon with a shaky hand. Next is the gallant tumble of the cereal itself from its slightly upturned box while one bead of love sweat runs down your skin beneath a rumpled shirt. And after that, there’s that reckless cascade of white liquid from the carton or jug as you try to catch your breath. And at last, there is that thrust of the silver tool that will eagerly deliver your very first bite.
I like to sit in a comfortable armchair situated near a big picture window that overlooks the square as I cradle the bowl and eat. I bask in lascivious thoughts as the cold milk and crunch repeatedly crosses the threshold of my mouth. I can hear the chewing in my own head, rhythmically tapping like the silver balls of a desktop Newton’s cradle.
As the dying sun collides with the birth of a new night of stars, the square below glows a faded purple. Car after car after car reverses from its diagonal space and goes off into the void, the people inside trying to find their places in the brutal world. A woman with tousled hair and an ass packed tight in zodiac leggings crosses before me and takes refuge in the other chair. She stares into the glow of her phone, beautiful and sticky and smelling of love.
“What kind of cereal are you having?” she asks without looking at me.
“Corn Pops.”
“Oh. Fancy.” She pauses. “That was hot.”
“What’s that?”
“Earlier. Baby.” She looks over at me and mimics a kiss.
“Yes, it was… Did you know that they used to call them Sugar Corn Pops.”
“What?”
“Corn Pops. They used to be called Sugar Corn Pops.”
“Your mind drifts to strange places. How do you go from sex to cereal and back again?” she wonders aloud.
“I suppose they figured the word ‘sugar’ had a negative connotation,” I say. “I suppose some marketing dildo who makes $200,000 a year came up with that one.”
“Why do you worry about that?”
“Worry about what?”
“Money, and what other people do and have.”
I think about it, then tilt my cereal bowl to drain the last of the milk and set it aside. “I guess I’m just hung up on perfection. Like a wet winter coat on a mudroom peg.”
“Baby. Perfection isn’t found in things or money. Perfection is found in the simple, meaningful moments.”
I look over at her there in the chair before the big window framing nightglow. “Like our love?”
“Like our beyond beyond love,” she says.
After a brief fissure of silence I ask her what time it is.
“11:02,” she answers with a yawn. “Are you ready for bed?”
“I’ll be there in a little bit.”
She rises from the chair, leans down and kisses me with purpose. Her lips are wet and scented from the grape-flavored water she always drinks.
“I love you,” she affirms. “Believe in that.”
“I love you, too. I really do.”
She looks down at me, smiles and presses her warm lips against my forehead. “I know you do,” she whispers.
I turn to watch her walk away, through the low glow of a long, narrow kitchen and into the darkness of the back bedroom that swallows her up.
I get up out of the chair and take my emptied bowl to the kitchen sink and rinse it out. I walk back over to the big window and look down upon the vacant square. The gray, cold stone of a courthouse reflects fear and loneliness. The empty and silent street reminds me of a dark corner in Heaven. And even with all that, I know if I am careful with her heart, I will never be alone again.