from The Lottery and Other Stories, by Shirley Jackson
It has its ghastly moments... I think even those of us who have lived in the same place all our years have had occasions when we look around us and wonder to ourselves, "What in the heck is going on here? What's wrong with these people?!" But what the story really inspired in me was a sense of irritation. Look, Mrs. Walpole, there are some harsh people in the country, certainly, but don't try to tell me that city folk are much different. They can be just as callous and cruel, in their own ways.
Messages to Mrs. Walpole:
#1: Put up a fence. Keep the dog in the fenced yard/enclosure, except when she's on a leash. Problem solved! (Well... unless the dog digs out or can jump the fence... It may take some persistence.)
#2: You don't have to be the perfect home-maker, wife, and mother. It's not all up to you. Get Mr. Walpole involved in this issue with the dog, for goodness' sake!
#3: If you don't want your kids to turn into hard-hearted country people (who think it's hilarious to contemplate abusing their own pet dog, because apparently all country people find that so diverting), step into their lives and do something about it. Perhaps talk to them about it? (No, now I'm just being ridiculous...)
Message to myself:
It's just a short story; these aren't real people. Calm down!
I thought this bit was funny:
"Mrs. Walpole decided suddenly to put her wash off until tomorrow. They had not lived in the country town long enough for Mrs. Walpole to feel the disgrace of washing on Tuesday as mortal."
I always (except on long weekends) do our laundry on Monday, incidentally. I'm not sure when I started... For a while, I don't think I was even conscious that I had fallen into that routine, but it is now a definite "thing" in our home. If nothing else, it's a good use of that increased Monday-level cleaning stamina (the result of watching the house fall into disarray over a lazy weekend). Now if I could only find a way to make the urge to clean last further into the week...