Monday, March 20, 2006

Whither Meadowlark Lemon?

My friend Nicholas, who tested the very roots of our friendship by going away to MEXICO for a month, just got back. I received two emails from him. The first one contained one line—no salutation, no nothing—and it was this:

Pajama yoga party?

The second one said this:

Now I’ve read more Zeldafitz. Why don’t you come up and stay with us for a few days/weekend? A mental health weekend?
We’d love to have you……

I wrote him back and asked if he thought I was crazy. I haven’t heard back.

In my ongoing Zelig-like life, I happened to BE at the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University on Saturday night. Not watching the Patriots beat UNC or anything (is anyone impressed with this smattering of in-the-loop basketball terminology? Why or why not?). No. I was watching the HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS.

Now I’m going to get a one line email from Nicholas that says:

The Harlem Globetrotters?

It’s true! I was up in the Cub Scout nosebleed section wondering where in the HELL Meadowlark Lemon was.

I sat in the parental row and had Lady Miss Daisy and Nick with me. The Lady Miss Daisy part was Not a Very Good Idea. Nick sat in the Cub Scout row and loved the “game.” He thought it was real. I kept my cynical mouth shut and did not explain that it was rigged and that the “Nationals” (the almost all white team they were playing) were also fictional. I am a Very Good Mother. Take notes.

Lady Miss Daisy did splendidly for the first 40 minutes and then we descended into Toddler Purgatory, wherein she cupped my face insistently in her chubby yet dainty little palms and entreated, “Mooooommy? I want to go hoooooooooome.” Over and over and over again.

So Mommy and Daisy had to blaze. We informed Nick, who gallantly swallowed his tears and then was saved from Kid Purgatory by a Nice Cub Scout Mommy and Daddy who offered to drive him home. Whew!

Daisy and I gingerly descended the terse little concrete stairs, that only a Billy goat could scale, and made our way down to the “8th Portal” or “8th Rung of Hell,” whichever you please.

Oh yes!

We were luxuriating in the cavernous hot dough-filled belly of The American Obesity Problem! Big fat lardassed pretzels covered in blocks of salt, deep fried chicken “pieces” smothered in ketchup, plastic wrapped pink and blue cotton candy, and gobs and gobs of greasy, mushy, tomatoey, overcheesed pizza wedges. BLECHCH. For a few minutes that night, I became FRENCH in my unmasked horror at What We Have Become.

And yet I loved it too. I bought cotton candy for Miss Daisy because that is what I had as a kid, and so it is written and so it shall be. Forever.

Yesterday, we went to the Bad Feng Shui Playground and I did much better there than usual. It was an absolutely stunningly gorgeous day—clear vibrant blue sky, a fresh, slightly chilly, breeze.

It’s like your life descends into these slightly Fellini-esque burlesques of pretzels, soggy pizza dough and toddler mayhem and then you look up at the blond tendrils of your second son, as he sits perched on your husband’s shoulders, and you think, “Ah, now I get it.”

I thought of George Costanza at the playground because I am always having these philosophical conversations with myself along the lines of “What are you doing with your life?”

And as I looked up at the sky, through my jaunty tortoise shell shades, I thought, “Um, I like this." Being at the playground when the weather is nice and the kids are climbing onto the camel all by themselves and Nick is timing his “runs” down the blue tunnel slide like he is a luge guy in the Olympics, “Mommy, I shaved a whole minute off my time!”

I thought about George Costanza because one time when he was trying to think of what kind of a job he wanted he said, “Well, I like movies.” And I thought, “Well, I like being at the playground with my family on a sunny day.” How’s that?

I stopped being French long enough to see a Popeye’s as we were leaving the playground. We looked at it. All of us.

MZA said, “Wow, we haven’t had Popeye’s in a really long time.”

I said, “Mmmm hmmm.”

Nick said, “Yeah! It’s been a really long time!”

MZA said, “Two years I think. Do you want to get in this other lane?” And he started motioning frantically and I switched lanes—giving us a straight shot across Georgia Avenue into the Popeye’s parking lot.

Nick said, “Can we have some now, Mommy?”

MZA said, “We’ll come back sometime and get it for dinner.”


I said, “Well, do you guys want some for lunch?”


Ian and I went in and ordered four mild drumsticks and two spicy breasts and a side of fries.

Ian said, “I like this place.”

In a bow to my newly Gallic, healthy, organic heritage, I did not order biscuits! We are so enviably healthful and perfect.

It was a good day.


Cynicism is another word for reality

Email me, you derelict wastrel

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