Hannah Character Sketch for Notes

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Real Life Character Sketch for story later

"Hannah" (copyright A. Kern, 2005)


I've been trawling my sub-conscious today, seeking characters from my past to feed my literature.  Hannah burbled up from the murk -- ahhh, what a precious personality . . . worthy of being indicted, cruelly, and accurately, in my prose . . .


This turned into a mini-rant on conflicts of opinion re: proper housekeeping technique, but I thought it interesting reading nonetheless.  This is how I develop characters; I simply start writing about them in a casual way -- no particular goal of creating a full sketch, just a random collection of notes and observations . . . unrefined and unfettered free association here, folks . . .



Narcissistic Hannah (not her real name. Picture her with a black bar across the dusty-blue eyes) was tall, whippet-thin, wore a waist-long column of carotene-red hair, was a recessed-chested ballet dancer, third-class/born into privileged upper-class family -- arrogant, striking, but not especially pretty, drinker, drug-dabbler, living the elitist, ersatz-enlightened life in a middle-class single-family home in tony Chevy Chase with her boyfriend "Jake" and my boyfriend "Riddle", rent-free, courtesy of adoring parents. Notoriously cruel to her boyfriend, she worked as secretary part-time and pretended to dance when she was not polishing the tip of her barbed tongue on someone's tender sensibilities.  A MAJOR Georgetown nightclubbing poseur, not charming, not in the least friendly, in fact it seemed to me her only attraction for men was related to her spare figure and her air of unattainability -- she thought herself so rare, so removed and sharpened her communications with the axe of intimidation.


Hannah fancied herself to be dramatic, and had good comedic sense for someone so bereft of humor. I never would've chosen her for a room-mate, though, and as such, I did not last long as a tenant of her inherited domain. For one thing, she snootily informed me that my two year old daughter was not welcome in her home. Hannah had once dated my boyfriend; which may have accounted for some of her amorphic and ever-present asperity toward me.  She prided herself on being a "Neatnik" -- which she claimed was her moniker in college. A nickname to be venerated, to be sure.  I personally aspire to one day being christened a neatnik. Yeah, you bet.  An artist and a "neatnik" have about as much in common the White House pastry chef and the keeper of the zoo grounds.  Or, more correctly, one could say we have highly separate views of what constitutes beauty.  Once our POV collided, it was Spark City.


In any case, after my first divorce I had moved into my boyfriend's ample quarters in the attic of this 30s style Cape Cod, and Hannah wasted no time in asserting her authority.  One was never allowed to think one had made any decisions regarding any matter whatsoever -- Hannah always contorted the truth until all creative ideas appeared to have originated with HER. I've never before and never since met a person so convinced of her superiority.  She did not just dominate conversations, she *Sacked* them, like a Rome-seeking Visigoth.  She simultaneously fascinated and terrified me.  What a pity she never wanted to get to know me; she'd have learned that I have a freezer-burn grip of a memory, and as a writer, I seek my revenge on the printed stage.


She berated me one cloying August afternoon whilst I was ironing, striding hellcat into the room and snapping: "You must have grown up in one of those MODERN houses. You can't use electricity whenever you please in THIS house -- you'll overload the circuits while the air-conditioning is on!"


Then there was the wonderful, early morning breakfast with a number of our local friends, in which Hannah announced loudly, "Riddle, I only heard your bed squeak 21 times last night. I *counted*. You and Miss Gwen need to read the Kama Sutra."


Uh huh. Like SHE was a mattress mistress. I don't THINK so.


Although I only stayed about two weeks, I paid her the going rate for a month long stay in a private room. She flicked the check out of my hand and said, "I was going to demand this if you didn't give it to me. Sorry, but a fourth person drives up the utility bills and I'm not putting up with you using me."


I had nothing to DO with her.  She was seldom home, being either hooked to her office phone umbilicus or toe-dancing her way across some amateur stage on the south side of Unknown.


I will never forget, because it is not the first time something of this nature had happened to me, when Hannah slinked into the kitchen while I was washing my dinner dishes.  This consisted of two plates, forks, knives and spoons, those utilized by my boyfriend and myself.  She stood right by my side and hawk-watched my every move. (I think the fact that I'd been married both interested and disgusted her; she was anxious to prove I was no way superior to her despite my domestic experience).  Naturally, there was NO electric dishwasher.  Now, my Dutch uncles and aunts engage in this bizarre behavior as well. My Senior relatives in Pa. wouldn't hesitate to yank an offending utensil out of the dish drainer and order me to rinse it again.  I think it the very height of rudeness, and is yet another example of how people need to get a life.  I'm an artist; I make messes of necessity, and I don't get exercised about keeping my home sterile and hygienic.  There's simply no damn point in that kind of ambition.  That's so inHUMAN, if you ask me.  All of my spare time is spent creating art of whatever variety, and I take exactly ZERO pride in gleaming Kmart Karma-patterned plebeware, thank you very, very much.  You did not find the prehistoric, hairy-legged, prognathous-jawed Gwen scrubbing the walls of her cave with a dead boar, I'll guarantee ya. I was down by the edge of the fire, rendering my grunting partner's face out of the ashes.


Well, so, Hannah kept her eyes focussed on my dish-cleaning technique, and I knew exactly what kind of anal-neatfreak she was, so I poured lava hot water over everything. I considered flinging the boiling dishrag at her pinched, persnickety face, but dignity forbade me.  Finally, as I am wiping dry the last spoon, she says, "Well, I suppose you can clean dishes competently. I figured you for a sloppy housewife of the double-knit set, and I don't put up with suburban slackers.  When I was college everyone called me a neatnik. You don't fuck up MY living space."


With that, she sauntered off, her long red ponytail twitching with satisfaction.


Does anyone else loathe that kind of person? I mean, like, who in their life told them they were the shit? They strive to snag control of a situation which does NOT concern them, and secure every opportunity to aggrandize themselves to no purpose. I don't give a fat fangola how neat she is, or what her friends called her in college. I didn't get to go to college, because my psychotic mother was sure to murder me if I did not make my escape when the moment presented itself. I hit the street at 17 years of age, with two boxes of art supplies, two suitcases fulla clothes and that was it. No car, no flatware, no bed, nada. Like MY parents would ever offer ME a single family house in which to dwell -- rent free. Yeah, right, when Satan shops for solid silver ice tongs, maybe.


Women like Hannah make me deeply desirous of death.  Everyone is telling them how foxy-fine they are, when the truth is, they're just fortunate to be born into a family which supports and adores them.  Depression is not sucking the marrow out of their bones every day, never mind poverty, and so they have all the energy in the world to get wrought up about how one does the fucking dishes.  Could someone please hand me the barf bag? And what's so laughable is that Hannah and her entire social class and local gang of self-bloated bohemians considered themselves *artists*, and lovers of art.  I wonder what they would've thought of Bacon's kitchen? I'll bet it was so far beyond sewage even the rats wouldn't risk the decaying victuals.  Anyway, from what I hear, he just had a lot of vodka bottles lying around.  Or Picasso -- his house was quaintly decorated, but it sure wasn't antiseptic. How many times have you seen Andy Warhol down and dirty with a sponge and some Lysol -- huh?   Okay, never mind Andy; he looked like a neo-neatfreak, anyway.


Every single one of my mothers-in-law had something to say about my tendency to overlook encroaching contamination.  They went on and on and on about it.  They never gave up.  When I divorced my second husband, I actually gave a party just to celebrate the fact that I'd never have to hear his Medusa Mother criticizing and excoriating me for my defiant sloth.  I kept telling her that if I tried to keep the house according to her standards, I would have no time to myself and solitary was very important to me.  She was horrified. I should not have TIME FOR SOLITARY, I had to take care of HER grandchild, and furthermore, if there was no time for art, there was no time for art. You had to keep up your house, that was your task and your gift.


Of course, 100 years after I'm boxed and buried, who in the hell is going to care if my house was featured once upon a cosmetic time in Glistening Homes and Gagging Gardens?  Seriously?  Why don't people GET IT???  Only art endures. Ars longa, vita brevis.  Maybe my exe's daft mothers want "She Was The Perfect Housekeeper" engraved on their tombstones but I have other epitaphs in mind.  Stick your pampered nose under MY bed, and you'll find, as The New Yorker cartoon has it, "a dust ball as big as Tibet".


I've had men make the nastiest comments to me simply because I did not perform some meaningless little domestic ritual exactly the way their mother did it. As if!  I never gave a shit about their mothers.  *Their* gold-plated Uteri never worked full time while trying to raise children on their own.  MOST of my childhood friends' parents employed full time *maids*, are you serious?  Have men never heard the expression, "There are only 24 hours in a DAY?"  Was I supposed to tell my horse-faced boss, "Excuse me, I must run home for lunch, yank the lizard out of the toilet and clean that porcelain chamber pot until I can see my own reflection??


But you see, I was *living* with these guys, and they were supposed to LOVE me.  I thought love covered a multitude of sins.  Why is it okay to fling the foul at me, talk to me like I was dirt in the creases of their Nikes, just because, for example, I did not wing the dinner dishes to the sink one nanosecond after the last bite has been consumed? So the crusty leftovers sit there until tomorrow, so what?  The cockroach is the most evolutionarily enduring critter known to man; you will never outsmart 'em, so you might as well let 'em help you clean the plates.


Of course, I told these jerk offs to bite me, or to do the tasks Mommy's sacred way THEMSELVES. Then I'd get castigated for being "unladylike", "disagreeable" or (unbelievably!) "rude".  What is the big freaking DEAL with people? Didn't their Madonna Mommas teach them to express their disagreements with others in a mannerly way?  No, I do NOT clean out the refrigerator every damn day just like MOMMY did! I don't care at'all what sort of radioactive dayglo green ooga booga is e'en now snarfin' down on the runny, rotten cucumber in the vegetable bin! I . . . Don't . . . Care. You guys may think I'm imploding without official permission -- man, you don't know how often this subject has been introduced into my life . . . and I still don't understand why men don't just DO the job themselves if they don't like my act.


And Hannah was just another one of those pseudo-houseproud people, whose closets bore more bones than clothes.  On my last day of residency in her noble estate, she barged into my room as I was packing up my few personal effects and muttered, apropos of nothing: "You're good-looking. You're always going to get what you want in Life," and stalked off before I had the opportunity to respond.  I considered her comment utterly non-sensical, but then again, Hannah was an inscrutable gal. After Riddle and I moved into our new apartment, I only saw Hannah once -- when she and Jake showed up unexpectedly to take Riddle on a motorcycle tour of St. Michael's.  She pointedly let it be known that I was not invited on this little expedition, as Hannah did not want to put up with my daughters.  Imperiously, she strode away into my Past, arm in arm with her two best buddies, her firetail ponytail swishing back and forth across her perfect, new, shiny, black leather jacket.



Submitted: January 29, 2021

© Copyright 2021 RexMundi555'.-. All rights reserved.

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