My house gnomes have particularly bizarre taste. I understand the typical house gnome appetites. There are the dryer gnomes, who delight in stealing a single sock. Then there is South Park’s charming underpants gnomes (seriously, will they ever make a profit with such an underdeveloped business plan?). Both of those gnomes exhibit a normal faerie creatures’ trademark love of mischief. This mischief develops a sinister turn toward schadenfreude in the Murphy gnomes, who are responsible for ensuring that Murphy’s Law continues whilst pilfering an object whose absence will cause the most inconvenience or emotional destruction: keys, wallets, birth certificates, cherished mementos, etc.
However, in the past month I’ve become aware of a strain of gnome less sinister than the Murphy gnome and less focused than either the dryer or underpants gnomes. In the past month, this gnome has been personally responsible for the absence of:
- a teal cardigan
- two bottles of colored nail polish (one glittery)
- one bottle of clear topcoat
- two books on women’s expatriate experiences
- one book on leadership in academic libraries
- one young adult novel about princesses
- a snappy tote bag
- one skinny black patent belt
Judging by the objects above, this gnome is well-accessorized and interested in aspects of the female human experience. The gnome never steals things that would cause undue discomfort or stress, simply mild annoyance–thus I cannot conclude that the gnome’s goal is to cause mischief. There are far easier methods of producing higher stress levels in their chosen victim.
I have two theories. The first: this is an empowered female gnome, comfortable enough in her own feminine qualities to enjoy reading for information and for pleasure, interested in fashion and confident enough to know that wearing glittery nail polish and reading princess-themed YA make her no less intelligent. This theory breaks down for me, however, because I have no stock mental image for a female gnome and instead conjure a tiny bearded man in a red hat and glittery nails, Z-snapping as he reads about the difficulties of living abroad in potentially sexist regions. He would undoubtedly sneak under the Fat Couch to watch Project Runway with us on a weekly basis, so I’ll have to check for this on Thursday evening.
However, I think it far more likely that our traditional house gnome, probably our dryer gnome but possibly a secretly-sentimental Murphy gnome, is beginning to realize that he’ll miss us when we move. I think he’s taking mementos of everyday rituals and building a shrine somewhere in the attic, cuddling the cardigan when he sleeps at night. Awww, poor little gnome. Don’t worry, I have faith that there will room in our luggage for a stowaway, so you can continue your small torments in a new country.
You’ll be our own personal Amelie gnome. Not that Travelocity rip-off, but the original charmer.
Get ready to see the world, little guy!