The Coast News Group
Small Talk

In my next life…

I stood over the sink, grumbling and grousing as I scraped and scoured that scorched pan. Scrubbing pans has always been a chore I loathe, but this time my grizzling was aggravated because the end result had tasted like goat sweat.I made a stab at adding heated milk to some coffee, hoping I might create something palatable in place of the store-bought latte I longed for but had no time for. One might blame my slapdash method of microwaved coffee as part of the problem. Whatever the case, the end result was dreadful, leaving me caffeine-free and grumpy all morning, with a burned pan for my trouble.

All I could think of as I waged war with that pan was that my mother took such satisfaction in making a pan sparkle. She kept her cookware looking like new, including the copper, and I am in awe of that to this day. I left home thinking things didn’t get spotted, dingy or worn out, because somehow, in my mother’s house, they never did. It was supremely annoying to discover that hours of elbow grease went into keeping that furniture polished, the cobwebs at bay and the windows clean. It was even more irritating to realize I had no affinity for those tasks.

In my next life, I want the joy of a shiny pan to be worth having hands that resemble an alligator’s backside. I want vacuuming behind the dresser to delight me enough to be worth straining my back to move it. I want to be able to whip up a mouthwatering piecrust in an hour and master the art of meringue. I want to effortlessly produce a different, balanced, tasty meal every night, resorting to leftovers only on Thursdays.

If I can’t have all this, then I’ll demand my husband’s laid-back mindset. That means he’ll eat almost anything put in front of him, with gusto. It means he doesn’t even notice cobwebs and is happy to coexist with spiders and such. Piles of books and papers don’t bother him and the rug does not have to be clean. He is the luckiest of men, although it is sometimes a challenge find the floor in his office.

Yes, yes. I am going to ask for a milk-steamer for Christmas and it may lead me down the coffee-overdose path. But it beats the heck out of scrubbing that miserable pan.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who clearly sees the appeal of live-in staff.