Compulsion to Peel


Chair labels
Compulsion to Peel

In the courtyard, the music’s fine.
Chair by chair, we sit in line.
Row on row, we listen to
the opera, a lovely stew
of mezzo, baritone, soprano,
cello, violin, piano
performing favorite opera tunes
sans the oboes and bassoons.
Yet my attention seems to be
on the back of the chair in front of me
where a label’s firmly stuck
where I can see it—just my luck!
For each thing to me revealed
that can be unstuck or peeled,
(price tags, nail polish, wrap that clings—
all things stuck to other things)
calls out to me to come and pick.
It’s a compulsion I can’t kick.
I’m mesmerized by the plastic chair
of this woman with long blonde hair.
When she turns her head, the sticker’s there.
At other times, obscured by hair.
On other chair backs, I see labels.
I’d pull them off if I were able.
Yet most are just too far away
and in my seat I have to stay.
But if that woman would swish her mane,
I’d peel this label that is the bane
of my existence for now I feel
even more compelled to peel!
The performance over, the audience claps.
In their applause there is no lapse.
They stand and catcall, stomp their feet.
That woman rises from her seat
to show her wild approbation,
and thereby ends my consternation;
for when she stands in front of me,
I grab the label and pull it free!
Quickly the audience stacks the chairs
in stacks of sixes, fours or pairs.
Polite of them, for it saves time,
but still I feel less than sublime;
for as they stack them chair on chair,
it hides the stickers still stuck there.
And really, if I had my druthers,
I’d stay and peel off all the others!

Chair label

Today’s prompt was to tell the story of a badly-timed annoyance.  Those labels stuck on the back of most of the chairs at a local gathering spot/performance center have long been an annoyance to me.  Slowly, over the years, I have been peeling them off one-by-one as they appear in front of me at various events.

11 thoughts on “Compulsion to Peel

  1. john flanagan

    enjoyed the contrast between the opera and the personal ‘drama’ unfolding; i wonder how many of us have such compulsions or more to the point how many of us would admit to having them. i like this, Judy, like it a lot

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  2. grieflessons Post author

    Thanks, John. This compulsion goes back as far as I can remember. Started with gum wrappers. Remember when they used to have a layer of foil with a layer of white oiled paper attached? It was remotely possible, if not probable, to peel the two apart in one careful, calculated peel. Would have been easier if I hadn’t also been compelled to chew my nails! Foil on gum wrappers a thing of the past as is my fingernail chewing, so labels and nail polish will have to suffice!! Thanks for reading and commenting. Judy

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  4. Carol B Sessums

    Haha! Reading your comment at the bottom, I don’t chew my nails. That must’ve skipped a generation as my mother and bother both do. I do chip off the fingernail polish, though. I scrape it and chip it till it’s no more as though it’s not supposed to be there. Can’t remember the last time I polished. Might do my toes. I don’t normally pick at that polish. 😉

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    1. grieflessons Post author

      Ha! I hadn’t noticed. I know what you mean about peeling the polish, though..Especially when I’ve been in the hot tub and it comes off so easily–almost in one piece. I also used to love to dip my fingers in candlewax and cool and peel it off. Now they use this as a beauty treatment. I was ahead of my time!!!Thanks, Carol, for reading and commenting. I hope you come back. Judy

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  7. Ann O'Neal Garcia

    Now you’re letting us in on your OC side! I had to laugh and can just see you “possessed” by this sticker in front of you. When you’re a real old lady, you’ll probably just stuff the mane-in-question inside the chair pack and peel away, maybe walk down the aisles peeling away. The rhyme is fun and what adds to the possessed nature of the quest is that we don’t really see a bit of the concert.

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  8. grieflessons Post author

    Ha–love the image of people’s reactions as I walk down the aisles, “Excuse me, excuse me!” Stepping over people’s toes and climbing over their laps, peeling labels. In reality, I had thought to get a few more peeled, but folks were swift stacking chairs, being helpful to the young men hired to stack and put them away but certainly thwarting my plans!!! oxox J

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