Thursday, February 02, 2006

Catatonic Nervous Breakdown Near-Miss

When you’re feeling like you’re about to catapult into an infinite chasm of charging, relentless despair (you know how that happens), I recommend watching a movie on the Lifetime Channel. Seriously! You will be so overcome with shame, disgrace, and humility that you will want to join the Mormon Church and run for the Senate and take over the world in small bite sized increments.

See, we took the bambini out for dinner last night which we NEVER, EVER do. We are not an “out to dinner” type of family. Even though I grew up in a resolutely “out to dinner” type of family.

The dinner was in celebration of Nick’s stellar third grade report card that included 7 “E’s”—his first in math, etc. We were really proud of him and I wanted to do something, well something a little reminiscent of the gala celebratory nature of the way I grew up. As a semi-spoiled high priestess of softly framed indulgence and half lit glamour. Pass me a Shirley Temple and some lace anklets, wouldja?

ANYWAY, I told Nick that we would take him to Tara Thai, which is a kind of kid paradise in that it has an undersea motif—all blue walls and “jellyfish” halogen lights and an attentive lovely staff and etched fish in glass walls and big splashy painted booths and stuff. It is a mini-chain here in our DC region. We took him to the one in Bethesda once and he LOVED it. He had some zany kid cocktail and he loved the satay and a fan was born.

Well, there’s a much bigger one in “Rotten Rockville” (as Moira calls it) and so I proposed that location because I knew it would be “splashier” and give us more kid bang buck. Oh, we approached it, and the neon sign beckoned amid the large suburban nicely appointed outdoor mall type area. Nick said, “That is the BIGGEST Barnes and Noble I have ever seen! And there’s a Starbucks!” Sing miracle muse! A Starbucks! I love seeing what kids get excited about. Nick said, “This is going to be great!”

We walked in and they were all floored by the “fancy” imaginative décor. The fabulousness of it all! Who says you can’t live through your kids’ wonder, eh?

We ordered chicken with fat noodles for the bambini and when the waiter delivered it Ian said, “I thought you were bringing mini dumplings!” Ah, the fanciful tales we have to tell kids. Nick ordered DUCK on crispy noodles with a side of sweet soy sauce and MZA and I had Panang beef and Pad Thai. AND IT WAS SO GOOD! We had foofy drinks—a mai tai and a gold margarita (one each)—and the bambini had pineapple juice.

But as we were ordering, Ian provoked Daisy and she started to WAIL and Ian kept talking talking talking and I felt myself sort of have that internal goddam implosion, you know? Where you just want to CRY and dissolve and crawl back into an uncomplicated portion of your life where thoughts were completed and conversation flowed and you could LOOK AT THE MENU and THINK and and and…It just reached this fever pitch of, “We are going to go home RIGHT NOW” and then it subsided, just as fast as it began—like a summer squall. And I regained my equilibrium and the food came and the waiter was so kind, so lovely, so generous, SO THAI. I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF THAILAND AND THEIR FABULOUS, GORGEOUS COUNTRY. Let it be known.

We came home and I gave the babies a bath and we wrestled them to bed and then sat down, semi-catatonic from the food, the foofy drink and the EXHAUSTION OF TRYING TO CORRAL TWO SMALL BABIES AND ONE FANTASTIC 8 YEAR OLD THROUGH LIFE and on came a Lifetime movie.

You see, you have to be semi-catatonic in order not to change the channel when it’s a Lifetime movie.

The women, Mary Louise Parker (my lover Billy Crudup’s erstwhile ladylove) just gets the diagnosis that her TWIN sons are autistic. Subsequently, every door slams in her face, her boyfriend ditches her, she loses her job, her social worker, and YET they PREVAIL!!!! They hone their savant gifts into magical fantastic dreams and goals! And mom falls in hot monkey love with Aidan Quinn, and thus we learn a meaningful, timeless lesson of perseverance and fortitude and how to assuage small tremulous nervous breakdown fissures by watching stupid cornball movies that manage to gnaw into our souls like little blessed termites, teaching us lessons we thought our callow, hardened flesh could no longer absorb.


Cynicism is another word for reality

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