Wednesday, July 27, 2005
After Dinner Cry
I decided to wait until after dinner to cry, since crying during dinner has proved upsetting for the babies. Nick, however, is used to it. I told MZA how, since I have lost George Peppard, my erstwhile helper and also my helper after him, the black Aunt Eller, I now have Sue, a 72 year old Jewish grandmother with four highly accomplished children and eight similarly gifted grandchildren who divides her time (do you think I could get a job with Town and Country?) between DC and St. Thomas. Oooo la la. She just lost 22 pounds banging out a proposal from the St. Thomas residence, subsisting on mangoes and stress. OOO la la. Again, reason for blog: chance to catch up on MY side of the conversation, which never (rarely) comes into play due to my extraordinary listening skills. I am on a permanent “listening tour.”
So upon hearing of Sue, the Jewish grandmother I never had and am not sure I ever wanted to have, Nick says, “Hey I have a song about that, a variation on ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.’ So he warbles, to the tune of the Yoshimi song, “I’m Sue, I’m seventy twooooooo…” Nick’s eight, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. I just sorta looked at him, stupefied, and he said, “I listened to all your downloaded music today. Including Herb Alpert. It kind of skipped around and repeated a lot.”
At some point I lay on the living room floor and tried to recreate theatre exercises like, You Are the Floor. Give the stress to the floor. Become the floor. I am the floor. The floor is hard. I am soft. Pretty Persian carpet. Soft velvety carpet. Sweet Daisy Faire lay on my back. “Mommy?” I thought about people who have died in the presence of toddlers and how people find the toddlers later, dazed and confused, and I thought about how a toddler processes something like that. I thought about that when Daisy Faire was lying on my back—sort of an innate concern and sensitivity that—sorry to discriminate—boys don’t have. A laying on of body, instead of hands.
We put the bambini to bed and MZA and I headed to our posts on the new leather couchapalooza. Oh YES! It is a brilliantly tacky but lush ersatz La-Z-Boy. Yup. It has plump soft cushiony luxurious padding—it feels like down, honest—and two (2) recliners. AND if you push back, the seat reclines to a ¾ position of 100% American-engineered comfort perfectitude. No lie.
“House” comes on, which we watch every week only because Tuesday nights appear to be the only night we can actually land on a weekly show. And it’s “House.” Hugh Laurie, the lead doctor, looks like Grover from Sesame Street with that carefully cultivated fuzzy growth. The show is so formulaic it makes Marcus Welby look like improv and it is so damn implausible, but we watch it. It’s like TV crack for me. I like having a show I “follow” even if it is only by default.
I lay in my Freudian couch splendor in one of my catatonic Betty Blue hazes. I cried while MZA was still upstairs telling Ian and Nick a bedtime story. That was the “after dinner cry.” I was trying to keep it on the down low, doncha know. I cried because I wondered why I wasn’t as accomplished as Sue Who’s 72’s kids and grandkids. I cried because I was tired of having a crappy summer at work. MZA came down and said, “Are you unhappy?” I murmured, “Yes.” He said again, “Are you unhappy?” I said, truthfully, “No.”
I am not unhappy. I am dissatisfied with certain aspects of my life, but other components balance the bad parts. Honest. I just have to remember that ALL THE TIME. So as not to succumb to the despair. I was going to explain why things are so hard here, but it would take too long and it’s not really that interesting and it doesn’t involve eviscerating certain personalities and all that fun part of work bashing. Because I adore the people I work with, almost to a person (ALMOST). It’s just the unrealistic unrepentant looming crushing deadline and stuff. And all this pressure and responsibility. That’s not my thing. Some people get off on saying, “my staff,” but that kind of shit only makes me want to hurl. I have no interest in ballyhooing my workload or importance or fabulousness or how many windows and assistants I have. This blog is making me turn more and more back to what I really (really) care about, and that is the writing. The fiction writing. It’s like therapy except better and cheaper—by talking through it you come around to what is really at hand.
Thanks for listening even if it skipped around a lot, like Herb Alpert.
P.S. I just went downstairs for my 8 billionth Diet Coke this week and, no kidding, there was a poster for a seminar led by a woman who looks just like Joni Mitchell called, "Authentic Happiness: It's About Learning, Not About Luck, Come on Get Happy!"
Cynicism is another word for reality