Saturday, February 15, 2014

Supposed to Be Mine

We went out for Valentine's Day last night, the first Valentine's Day in as long as I can remember upon which I've done anything conventionally romantic.

It wasn't my idea. 

I suffer from congenital perversity, a kind of virulent allergy to supposed-tos.  I like to run against the grain. This dates from babyhood, and made me a particularly endearing toddler.  )The number of preschools I was kicked out of is larger than the number of children my parents had, which does not strike me as an accident.)

But my husband surprised me on this one, engaging a babysitter and making a dinner reservation before I had even clocked the holiday on the horizon.  And who am I to interfere when a man wants to take me out for dinner?  And so we went.  The restaurant was full of couples in red.  There was an overpriced prix fixe menu, attentive servers, and much flashing of wedding rings.  I downed two cocktails and everything was delicious.

Swimming with the horde, doing what comes easy, taking the road more traveled by: It isn't always so bad.  It's only well past preschool that I've begun to recognize perversity for the taskmistress she is, to acknowledge that fear of allowing others to shape your choices allows -not to put too fine a point on it- others to shape your choices.

I wore red, too.  And a diamond ring.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Throw Wide the Gates

Having a child is basically like lying down in front of the universe and screaming "come screw me."

It's an invocation of chaos, a tempting of fortune.  You're shouting the name of the Scottish play in a crowded theater; you're taking down the garlands of garlic over your door; you're opening the window wide.  Sometime will go wrong.  Something always goes wrong.  You're asking for it. 

On the surface of it, this is unwise.  We are none of us at our most graceful when faced with adversity, and adversity is what children bring to the table in one form or another: they stink, they howl, they steal away your sleep and your sanity.  And that's before they get to middle school.

On the other hand, capitulating to your fate -be it ever so poopy- is curiously freeing.  You have no control- but you never did have, really, and at least, when you have kids, you get to learn this lesson at the hands of something genetically programmed to make you think it's cute.

Bring it, kiddo. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Visitation Street: Ivy Pochoda

"Jonathan stands up and breaths deeply.  The whine in his ears is now in sync with the wheeze in his chest.  His whole body sounds like a kids' recorder concert."

c. 40% on kindle.  Murder suspect running; the recorder as pejorative simile