Domestically Disturbed

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A plan for the future makes it hard to accept the present

Playwright and writer Topher PayneI’ve never been much of a gamer, but in my early 20s I was in a relationship with a geek (his term, not mine) for several years, which allowed me to closely observe that culture.

I could never really wrap my brain around the large Tupperware bins of comic books or hours spent playing “X-Men” on PlayStation, but considering I brought a costume closet and several puppets into the relationship, I wasn’t in a position to judge.

The one exception was “The Sims,” which could trap me in front of my desktop computer for an entire day, staring slack-jawed at the screen. The player was supposed to create an avatar, build them a house, then get a job and become a productive member of society.

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Won’t you be my neighbor?

Playwright and writer Topher Payne

Our interactions with the real-life crazy person next door reached Situation Critical this week. Anita’s screams over our fence grew from the usual “Stop putting listening devices under my house,” to the new “Stop sneaking into my house and disabling my security system.”

While I could appreciate the impressive set of spy skills Anita is fully convinced we possess, she capped off the new list of offenses with death threats. I called my husband at work.

“So, Crazy Pants just threatened to murder us. And Daisy. She said she’s gonna kill Daisy.”

“Oh, Jesus. What did you say?”

“I was pretty composed until she said she’s gonna kill the dog. Then I lost my cool a little.”

“Call the police, Topher.”

“Come home. You do it.”

“No,” said Preppy. “We need to let them handle this. Hang up and call 911 right now.”

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Make it Better

Playwright and writer Topher Payne

My husband and I are not keeping complimentary schedules lately. We still see each other every day; unfortunately one of us is always sleeping when it happens. Our most consistent interaction is by phone, or checking each other’s status updates on Facebook. We’re actually having a long-distance relationship while living in the same house. Promises have been made that things will improve very soon, but looking at the upcoming calendar, I’m not entirely certain that’s true.

Because Preppy gets up at five, he’s asleep before I return home from the theater. So I take the dog out of her crate and hang out on the back porch, catching up on emails and YouTube. I’ve viewed the trailer for “Burlesque” at least 20 times. First off, I’m pretty sure it’s a remake of “Showgirls,” which is very exciting.

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This Land is My Land

Playwright and writer Topher Payne It’s a rare night off, and I’m having some quality time with my husband and my dog. The three of us are all engaged in our favorite modes of relaxation — Daisy’s monitoring squirrel activity, Preppy’s playing Angry Birds, I’m finding out if Lindsay Lohan ran over any baby carriages today. The calm is broken by Preppy jumping up from the table, bellowing.

“Daisy! Leave it! Damn it, Topher, she’s got my shoe!”

“Well, you shouldn’t have taken it off.”

“Whose side are you on here?”

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Out of the Closet

Playwright and writer Topher PayneI have a talent for taking very small projects which could be completed in 20 minutes, and through careful evaluation, finding a way for them to consume the better part of a week. My husband would tell you I do this intentionally, in a clever plan to force him to unload the dishwasher himself, because me doing it will somehow lead to the kitchen being repainted.

I prefer to think of myself as very thorough. I enjoy projects, in much the same way that people with OCD enjoy hand-washing.