LONDON -- My colleague Joann Weiner recently wrote a post for this site in which she described the blissful, stress-free summer week
she just enjoyed in Washington, D.C., while her family was out of town. She exercised . . . she went out to dinner . . . she tried beer ice cream . . . she even -- gasp -- took time to smell the proverbial flowers.
I'm happy for Jo. Truly I am. It's just that after I read her post, I took one look at the way I've spent the last seven days and thought: What's wrong with this picture?
You see, I'm having a different sort of week. I call it a "Calgon" week.
Don't remember Calgon
? Among other things, it's a line of bath and beauty products. When I was a kid, there was this marvelous commercial in which this harried housewife in a pink bathrobe stood in the middle of her kitchen overwhelmed by various demands: the kids . . . the dishes . . . the dinner . . . the telephone. She'd throw up her hands and shriek: "Calgon! Take Me Away!
" and, presto! She was magically whisked into a soothing bubble bath.
Pink bathrobe notwithstanding, that shrieking lady in the kitchen pretty much captures how I've felt this past week. It's a week that's featured, in no particular order: a major schlep to and from son's camp located in absurdly difficult-to-access section of North London (Remind me, again, why we decided not to get a car
?), reduced work time due to said schlep, husband on deadline whose frazzled hair increasingly resembles Albert Einstein's, acute case of hostess anxiety brought on by not having entertained in four years because we lived in a closet,
but somehow managing to schedule two
events at my new apartment in one week (Should we do Red? White? Fizzy? And what is a tapanade, anyway?
). Oh yeah. And did I mention the pink eye that's now making its way through the house?
In and of themselves, none of these things would be terribly burdensome. But having them all befall me simultaneously reminds me of why I often feel like I need a wife
. In previous fantasies, my would-be wife would cook the dinner, do my ironing, and buy my bras. After this week, however, I'd like to add the following to her list of duties: schlep children to enriching summer activities, administer eye drops to recalcitrant 6-year-old, and read Martha Stewart for me so that I always have the right napkins for entertaining.
I recently read about a study which demonstrates that women are inherently better at multi-tasking than men
. Maybe so. But judging by the week I've had, you'd be hard pressed to make that case.
It doesn't help that I'm currently reading Volume 3 in Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy ("The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nes
t.") Next to Larsson's heroine, Lisbeth Salander
-- who may be the original multi-tasker (she does all that late-night computer hacking and
makes cheese sandwiches to boot?) -- it's hard not to have an inferiority complex.
Which is perhaps why my curiosity was piqued when I read about the new Rent-A-Friend service
that's just made its way to the U.K. this week. For as little as $10 an hour, this service -- which has already been launched in the U.S. and Canada -- lets you scroll through a database to identify a real-life "friend" whom you can hire to accompany you on strictly platonic outings like bowling or seeing a movie. It's explicitly not
a dating service. Rather, it's just about hanging out.
But, see, here's what I'm thinking. I've already got loads of friends
. I don't need any more of those. What I do
need is a wife. So maybe Scott Rosenbaum -- the founder of Rent-A-Friend -- could launch a sister operation. We could call it Rent-A-Wife
Ten bucks an hour?
And while you're at it, see if Lisbeth Salander is available. I think she'd make a great wife.