Do you know what opposite-ing is? Of course you do. If you have a husband or a small child, then you are well acquainted with opposite-ing. It is the phenomenon where you do something, something good like, say, set the old heavy wool blanket by the front door so you will remember to put it back in your car later where it belongs, and then your beloved husband comes along and does something bad (hence, the term opposite-ing) to “help” you and he takes the blanket (that he knows resides permanently in your car) all the way down to the linen closet in the basement and puts it on the shelf where it most certainly does not belong. You, however, in your naiveté (even though you have been married over 10 years and should surely know your husband and all his quirks by this point), think that he might have been proactive and put it back in the car for you. Well, actually, you don’t even think about it, because: out of sight, out of mind.
Until you are looking for some kitchen dish towels in the closet a week later, and there is the blanket, saluting you. Hi, you! calls out blanket, and you think, Huh? I distinctly remember putting the blanket by the front door, how in the world did the blanket get all the way down here where it does not belong?
Then you have your answer: opposite-ing.
Children are great opposite-ers. You make your bed, they come along and pull every sheet, pillow, blanket, dust ruffle off to make a “fort.” (Be assured that opposite-ing is not just reserved for things like blankets, these are only two small examples in less than a 24-hour time period.) You vacuum the living room, and one of your children immediately remembers his live plant the teacher gave him and he must show you this instant and—whoops!—just like that, he spills all the dirt in the small pot all over your (formerly) freshly-vacuumed carpet. Opposite-ing at its finest.
You put all the children’s shoes away in the closet where they belong. Ten seconds later, your home resembles a shoe factory that has vomited all over your living room. Seems the kids got all the shoes back out because they “couldn’t find them” when they are stored in the closet. Opposite-ing in pairs.
You bring the stack of clean but wrinkled laundry upstairs to fold and you set it on the bed and when you take a quick phone call, the pile is gone. Where did it go? Your husband took it downstairs and put it in the hamper. So it can be washed. Pure, clean, opposite-ing.
You set a stick of butter on the counter first thing in the morning because you are going to make cookies later and you need the butter to soften up for your special recipe. Your husband comes along and, unbeknownst to you, puts the butter back in the fridge to be “helpful.” You find this out when you have preheated the oven and gotten out your mixer and laid out the rest of your ingredients and are now ready to mix, and the butter has somehow disappeared. Raw opposite-ing.
You set the library books that are due today right next to the front door as a visual reminder so you will take them back to the library before a three-figure sum is owed (again), and your husband comes along and—POOF!—the books have vanished! You assume (because you are not just naïve, but stupid) that your husband took the books back to the library himself. That is, until that very night when you go to read a bed-time story to your children and you reach on the shelf for a book and you see (to your horror) several library books nestled in among the books you do, in fact, own. You recognize the books, the library books, because they clearly stand out as “different,” namely because they have Dewey Decimal call numbers on them and are covered in special library-plastic that you have no idea where to buy or if it is even sold to consumers. You are well aware that you do not own any books covered in this special heavy-duty-millions-of-people-can-touch-this-book-and-it-won’t-be-ruined plastic. You call out to your husband and say something along the lines of Why are these books that were by the front door on OUR bookshelf now? To which he responds (helpfully), I put them away for you! I was being helpful!
Opposite-ing in its pulp-fiction form, my friends.
I could think of myriad more examples, I know I could, but I have to zip out right now. To the library. Before they close.