Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Love Story, about Socks

I'm going to tell you a story. I'm going to tell the story, and you're going to comment and tell me what you think the theme is. We wanna-be-teacher types believe that to engage an audience, you have to have some interactive part of the program. You read the story, comment about the theme, and I get to pick the winner. The winner gets a prize. The prize is a $1.29 Amazon gift card (because you know I hate Itunes) and a bottle of the wine from Summer Wine Groove #2, which I will post tomorrow. I will send it to the winner's address. If nobody comments, either because nobody is reading or because you are all Chickenshit-Scaredy-Cats, I will reveal what I believe the theme to be in my next post. I know we all remember that a theme is a statement, ideally a complete, single sentence, that is revealed by the events of a story. I make up stories like this, usually fictional, starring moi, for my students to teach theme, and other stuff. They love it. They eat this shit up! I hope you will, too.

This is a story about two women. It may or may not be true. It may be some variation of the truth, or a combination of different truths, like most things are. It is up to you to figure out if truth is important here. I'm going to tell the story in the first person, and it's up to you to figure out if and why that matters, how it impacts the story's truthfulness, either in reality or imagination, and what imaginative truth even is.

At this point I would like to point out that I am blogging in the presence of my son, who is three, by myself, and getting him to play independently. Please hold your applause. More on that (independent play struggles) later. . .

Enough build up. Here's the damn story.

Once upon a time, when I was younger and childless, I was very much in love with this girl. She traveled a lot for her job, and during this particular month, she was working in Paris. We'd recently had a ceremony, though it wasn't legal, either according to the Jews or the state, but to us it was a Big Deal. We were not wealthy, since we were newlyweds, and so I felt very lucky when my boss's wife offered to let me use his frequent flier miles to come and spend time in Paris with her after her work there was done. I took some vacation time and booked a flight. I can't remember if this was our first time in Paris together--it may have been the second. I'm dreadful at remembering these kinds of details, but it doesn't mean that I don't care.

I remember other details--a winter scene in a Starbucks in Paris on one trip--it was snowing; my head was in her lap; I think I slept. The Parisians were too busy being Parisian to notice the love exploding off of us, igniting everything in flames. "Oh, what eez zat?" they wondered in their Parisian accents, "A fire? How inconvenient! Zees ugleee, fat Americans!" Anyway.

The morning of my flight to see my new wife, I took a lot of time getting dressed. I wanted to be comfortable and adorable and just the way she remembered me. I'd missed her unbearably. When I got to the airport, the flight was delayed three times, then canceled. I couldn't get onto another one until the next day because of frequent flier mile restrictions. I talked to my wife several times, and was frustrated to have lost the day, with her, in Paris, but mostly, to not have her in my presence for another Grueling Eternity.

Somehow, I remained in good spirits because of my socks. I still haven't decided if it was the socks or if they were just the thing I latched onto to retain my optimism, but I recall telling my wife that it was the socks. They were really soft, and it felt like I had pillows around my feet. They made me easy-going, and I was the favorite among the airline staff. (This wasn't hard, since everyone else was shrieking at them.) They offered a hotel, even though I lived a short metro ride away. They grinned at me. They flirted. They tried to override restrictions for me, or at least they said they did. It was not so bad.

Eventually I got to Paris, and my wife and I had a fantastic time. There was some drama with her French ex-girlfriend, but there was also a really big shower, unheard of in Paris, but then again that may have been the other trip. Whatever the case, I can still call up how the socks felt, and I can recreate how they allowed me to be patient, funny, and content in the face of Enormous Disappointment And Longing. I know what you're thinking. You think, "Well, what other choice did you have?" I could have been like every other person there, who was throwing An Absolute Fit.

I still have the socks. They've held up well, since I have like 57093475209 pairs of socks, and I only wear them on really important days, or when I'm indulging myself. Of course they don't make them anymore, but no matter. They're a part of my sense-memory. They aren't just lucky socks. They're socks which create an aspect of myself. I was in my early 30s when this happened, and I've since learned the brain doesn't fully mature until about 35. Now I see the socks as what happened to be there when my mind coalesced. And I see my contentment at the flight cancellation as one of the acts of everyday heroism regular people get to feel good about until they are truly challenged. It was practice, for an actual bad day.

So, there is the story. Themes?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Wine Groove #1

1) Download song.
2) Procure bottle. (All are less than $20; theme is refreshing whites.)
3) Chill bottle (in freezer, if necessary, but then you MUST NOT FORGET bottle is in freezer.)
4) Put the baby(ies) to bed.
5) Pour glass.
6) Sit down.
7) Play song on repeat.
8) Drink wine.
9) REMAIN SEATED for the entire consumption of the glass of wine. You can do it. Try to sip slowly.
10) Thank me.

If you are the kind of person who does not believe that playing a good song on repeat for 15 minutes is fun, go read some other blog!

Today's wine is the Aresti Sauvignon Blanc 2009, out of Chile. I generally love Chilean whites, but I thank my friend Cindy for her reminder about the excellence of this variety. Just when I was getting bored with torrontes and albarinos (We've drunk little else for the past several summers.), Cindy had dinner with my wife and gave this excellent tip: "Drink more sauvignon blanc." I'm not sure if those were her exact words. She probably had a more clever delivery, but I got the message.

Most good sauvys come from New Zealand, I'm told, and I've loved the few I've tried. But for ten dollars, I like the Aresti, which is almost as good, though getting hard to find. If you can't get the 2009, I'd have faith in the 2010 as well. The Aresti is less floral and quieter than the New Zealand stuff, but has a crispness that I sometimes prefer to the full mouth of the New Zealand ones. At the end of a day, I want a wine that isn't a Myriad of Contradiction. But now I sound like I know what I'm talking about, which couldn't be further from the truth, so let's move on to the song.

We are listening to "Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey. Make sure you get the single version. In addition to the classic funk bass line, I chose this song because it contains an Truly Important Message. You think I'm kidding, don't you? But I'm not.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The New Civil War

It has taken me decades to like country music. Used to be, I would never admit I was from the South. In the long-standing teenage tradition, I was embarrassed. I removed myself from all things southern. I cultivated a neutral accent. I claimed to like only Erasure and The Cure. I went to school in the east and pretended to be appalled by Crisco.

Now things are a little more complex. I love Sugarland and Rascal Flatts and can finally admit this openly. I adore Crisco and often use it as a dipping sauce. (Kidding.) I miss the doors held open for me, the tissues offered when I sneeze, and so on. I miss being able to freely admit to the occasional desire to shoot someone and not have a scad of white liberals handcuff me for it. These little things. On the other hand, I'm not sure I understand southern queers. I've noticed among my Facebook friends, the ones living in the south seem to expect a lot less from their politicians. They (the southern queers) all seem to think Obama loves gay people. From here, it seems like he pretty much hates us. It's a complex topic, and I'm certainly not an expert. I just wanted to comment on how the issue divides along the Mason-Dixon line.

B tells me that when I'm angry, I have a drawl. She takes cover when she says this, because she knows better than to provoke me and then stick around.

We've been fighting lately, probably because she's been traveling so much. In the middle of one fight, I asked her to do something. In the long-standing tradition of fights, it seemed crucial at the time, but I no longer have any idea what it was. She said that she couldn't do it. "YEW CAIN'T OR YEW WON'T?" I shrieked, looking for something to throw. I would never actually throw anything. I've been in too much therapy. Besides, I couldn't have hit her; she was in Kansas City. But nobody can stop me from looking! Still, she resisted doing the thing. Finally, I said, "Well, sum people maht lahk tu du it! Ah could walk out on 355 and take off mah top, and ah'm shur ah'd have sevrul voluntee-urs." Again, I would never actually do a strip tease on the side of a highway, but I'm an expert at proving my point by threatening to do Things I Would Never Do. This is just one example of ways in which I am a Myriad of Contradiction (as infuriating as I am desirable), an enigma wrapped inside a mystery, and so on and so forth. It is exhausting, truly, to be as complex and nuanced as I am. I hope that B appreciates it!

Ari's potty-training prize--he could have
chosen anything, but, in typical Ari-fashion,
he picked this $4.99 Magic Mic.
B and I, through our time together, have been engaged in a war. It is a Stubbornness Competition. This was going swimmingly for years, because I was winning. Then Ari was born. He was colicky. Then he was Spirited. Now, he is Strong Willed. You cannot bend him. It doesn't work. He potty trained himself. Our attempts were met with mocking examples of his complete control over his bodily functions and his expressions of unwillingness to put things anywhere other than where HE deemed appropriate. I had given up so utterly and been so thoroughly schooled that I was happily envisioning his wearing a diaper to college. Once Ari realized I felt this way, he finally started pooping in the potty. And just like when he first peed on the potty in late March, he hasn't had an accident since.

Then there is the issue of the big boy bed, where I expected him to cry endless torrents and never sleep again. So, naturally, he was so excited about it that he forces me to put him to bed at 6:15 (Ack!) and smiles and giggles anytime he sees it.

Expressing his true feelings about his big boy bed
Ari is such a mastermind at being a Myriad of Contradiction that I'm sure he's genetically related to both B and me. I think that the sperm donor and the IUIs were just subterfuge for the immaculate conception that is my son, that somehow B got me pregnant. I know it's not possible, but then where did he get her mile-long eyelashes? And how does he know to mumble "no" and pout so passionately at every social nicety before 11:00 am? And how oh how oh how did he get so stubborn?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mrs. Robinson (sort of)

This may come as some surprise, but yesterday I exercised. I'd weighed myself and been encouraged by the number I saw. This made me think that perhaps I was not so out of shape (I shan't share the number.) and should keep it that way. I think of my son and how old I already am (I shan't share that number, either.) and how I want to see him get married, or not, or have whatever commitment type thing with some person someday. Evidently, to live a long time, you're supposed to exercise. That is what they say.

So, I went swimming and did some laps. I only did six, but I don't use the wall or the floor. It's much harder that way, especially the turns. After, I felt fine. If all exercise were swimming, my body and I would have a deal. But I can't do indoor pools, which presents a problem of venue. I need the sun, the outdoors, some people to look at for distraction, some decent summer heat, and someone to chit chat with.

Yesterday, I chatted with the lifeguard. Ari has a crush on him, so he knows us. I think the lifeguard might have a crush on me. Not like anything sexual--I'm not a delusional lunatic. He's a hot, blond, international boy of 22. I'm a lesbian mom who comes to the pool with 174 objects and drops them all over the place like a spaz. I spend my pool time nagging my three-year-old about sunscreen and forcing fluids down him like some sun-exposure paranoiac. Then I walk him back and forth to the bathroom talking about excretion. The moments of my appeal have got to be pretty fleeting. But something's going on. The lifeguard (He told me his name, but I can't pronounce it.) asks me questions, and he offers me goggles, and he smiles at me as if we're sharing a secret. Maybe it's cultural. Anyway, it's kind of cool. I feel like Mrs. Robinson.

Only I'm not. I have this weird shyness, even though I'm not really that shy, where I freak out and panic when someone offers me something, like goggles. When he asked if I would like some, I first thought, "Yuck! Why would I want to wear some stranger's goggles?" Plus, I'd almost poked my eye out some days before. (I shan't reveal if this had anything to do with The Pot Rack Incident.) So, I was nervous about messing with my eyes, even just to put on goggles. Then I felt guilty. After all, he was only trying to be nice. So, I sputtered around and shook my head and made some utterly absurd excuse about wanting to keep my head out of the water anyway. Then I had to continue the charade for the rest of my swim and day at the pool, which was no fun in this heat, let me tell you.

I don't know why I do that. Probably, if I were lost in the desert and someone came and offered me a ride back to civilization, I would turn it down for some equally ridiculous reason. "Oh, no, thank you," I would say. "I'm just out for a lovely stroll." I don't like it when people guess that I don't have all my shit together, and I don't like being singled out for that kind of attention. Except when I do. I love it when Barbara rescues me from a bug or from the thunder, for instance. She does this other sweet thing when I'm going somewhere important. She prints directions for me in case of GPS fail. Then she works it into the conversation to explain the directions to me because she knows I'm hopeless. I can accept this kind of rescuing from her, because I really, really like her. But that lifeguard needs to back off.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Theories of Inadequacy

We shan't discuss the pot rack. I've told my nearest and dearest (all two of them) the details of my humiliation, and they know better than to spill. So, no matter what happens, no matter how you beg, the pot rack shan't be discussed. Here, however, is a photograph for those of you who who are dying to know about The Pot Rack Incident. Interpret it as you wish.

The other day I was reading Other Blogs. I adore blogs, and there are several I like quite a bit better than mine. I'm no visual architect, for instance, and I keep putting pictures up because my grad school water-boarded me into using "multiple methods of presentation." But, I'm limited in terms of what I can do with these pictures because I have no visual imagination.

I know a lot of words, but never enough, and I can never find the ones I want at the right time and am forever using cruddy substitutes. I'm self-indulgent about the words I love. Sometimes I spend whole posts trying to come up with excuses to use them ("shan't," for instance.) In this manner, I plod on dully. I speak only one language. I can't draw. I have no musical talent whatsoever. I used to think I was pretty mechanical, but that has no use in blogging, and in fact has been proven false by the incident we shan't discuss. I have only one fine quality, which is enthusiasm, and that doesn't make up for as much as you'd think. Further, it is (and has eternally been) out of fashion.

Back to the beginning: I was reading Other Blogs, hoping to learn something. I learned that people are geniuses, all except me. I'm still not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it is nice to know that intelligence in humans is possible. One does not always have clear proof of that. On the other hand, I feel so wildly unsuccessful compared to other bloggers that I'm discouraged.

I become very enthusiastic about the blogs I like. I develop crushes on wordsmiths, and on people who spell difficult words correctly. My wife is an excellent speller; I couldn't have married her otherwise. I, of course, can barely spell cat. I comfort myself that at least I know when I spell something wrong and that spelling is not actually of any use. Still, I like good spellers, and I wish I were a good speller. I've spent a lot of time trying to be a better speller. (Fail.) It's my thing--what can I say? There's no reason for it, but it cannot be denied!

Having no job is a cesspool for neurosis. The other night I couldn't sleep because Ari's big boy bed was being delivered the following morning. I kept worrying that he would freak out and keep getting out of bed and screaming or something. You know how it is; you hear stories. Ari's friend Eden (named changed to protect the innocent) apparently freaked out for weeks, banging on the door to get out, crying, and curling her little fingers under the door. Eden is a perfectly civilized child under most circumstances. Every time I see her, she greets me with a polite kiss on the check and then goes back to "reading" her books or examining her puzzles. However, she lost her shit about her big girl bed.

Ari, sleeping happily, in his big boy bed
I'd heard this kind of thing before. So I instituted my excellent insomniac coping strategy to be fully energized for Ari's impending all-night-long crisis! He's the three-year-old, but I am the freak who can't adjust to changes.

I swear that I'm a normal person in real life, when I don't have too much time on my hands. There was a poem I once liked, by Joy Harjo, called "Grace." One of the lines is "Grace is a woman with time on her hands." I used to love that. It made me think of air so humid it's syrupy and women chatting (in the South, of course) over clotheslines, not really having anything to fold. Now I say, "Bull!"

I tried to get Ari early from school some days, to take him to the park and places. He seemed a little miffed. He was happy to see me and to go to the park, but when we got there, he would say, "Mommy, there's nobody here to play with! Where are the friends?" And he was right. We don't know any of the stay at home parent crowd, and it's not much of a crowd. So, I stopped doing that. It only threw him off. I enrolled him in some classes (swimming, soccer), but they haven't started yet. Hopefully, that will go better because there will be other kids.

I've thought of exercising, but I hate exercise. The only time I've successfully exercised was when I was coming out in college, and I had lots of unrequited lust. Now that I'm all happy and shit, I can't motivate. I spent an entire year once polling people about what motivates them to exercise, and I didn't get any good answers. People would say they enjoyed running however many miles and felt good afterwards. Give me a break. Either I'm missing some essential organ that makes people love to suffer, or those bitches all lied. I quickly lost interest in finding out which it was.

I find, on days like this, that the 15 minutes I spend at school when I pick Ari up really pay off. When I walk in, throngs of three-year-olds throw themselves at me with hugs and kisses. Ari waits his turn and goes last, because he wants me to carry him for the rest of the day. It is very hard to feel anything but good when this happens, no matter that I can't spell.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Real Boys Wear Pink

Have I mentioned that Ari wears a tutu? Or, he did, before. Then he ripped a hole in it, and I had to go 268 different places to find someone who would fix it. The stitching is very delicate, you see, and many tailoring professionals were frightened. This is the only time in my life I wanted to live in New York. I hate New York. (I know this admission will make me extremely unpopular.) However, I also realize that in New York they will fix ANYTHING.  You can go anywhere in New York--just pick a random building and walk in--and somebody in there will agree to turn your broken, moldy, flea-infested whatever to "good as new" for five dollars. If you turn that offer down, they may even do it for free because nobody in New York ever throws anything away, nor can any of them bear to see anybody else throw anything away, which is part of why I hate it. Too much clutter. Plus, I'm from the South. We're obligated to believe New Yorkers are rude, though in fact, I find them very polite, a lot like southerners, really. The people are sweet, but I hate the place. It's too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer (and has an alarming shortage of both central a/c and swimming pools), smells of urine, has too many insects, and is expensive.

Nonetheless, I said to Barbara the other day, "We may have to move to New York." She was thrilled, of course, being from Brooklyn. Why did I say this inane thing? Because in New York no one cares if a three year old boy wears a tutu, like Ari used to. He insisted on wearing it to school every day. Being queer, what could I say? "No, darling, only your mothers are allowed to do socially-variant things." I was proud of him. But also, secretly, I was scared.

Ari (of course) lost interest in his tutu at the precise moment I got it back from being repaired, but he still wears them at school. (They have school tutus, believe it or not.) He also sometimes insists he's a girl, a kitty cat, a big boy, a baby, his own baby sister (very meta for a three year old, no?), or a kao-kau. (I do not know what this last thing is, so I just agree stupidly and change the subject.) The other day, he told me, "Mommy, Lulu says I'm not a girl!" He looked unhappy about this. I, momentarily struck stupid, said, "Well, you're not." Mommy fail #57904502984. Barbara saved the day, whisking into his room, and declaring, "Well, you tell Lulu that she doesn't decide what you are. You do." This was one of those times I was grateful there are two of us. Usually somebody can keep her head.

I mentioned Ari's girlie predilections to the pediatrician, and said, "Of course we don't care if he's gay." In fact, I'd always assumed he would be. I hope so. Gay is cool. He will shop with me. He will take frequent showers, even as an adolescent. He will be less likely to get some girl pregnant. He will not (probably) date anyone who thinks it's weird that he has two moms. But let's face it: wanting to wear a tutu has nothing to do with being gay.
The tutu. . .
. . .two ways
Anyway, the pediatrician totally took my mind off my own questions by telling me how his son wore a tutu (a blue one that his wife made for the kid) when he was three, too.  The pediatrician's son has brittle bone disease so also wore a full body cast, and one day was playing baseball (modified for the cast, of course) around the coffee table when he fell and gave himself a concussion. Evidently, the ER docs loved the tutu; ignored the body cast; and were confused about the modified, coffee-table baseball, but overall weren't so shocked by any of it. After this story, I quickly saw that gender variance of any degree is such a minuscule concern I needed to shut up. So, I did. Since then, I've wished I had a fairy who would make Ari a tutu that was goth and black and sort of Robert Smith looking. I envision Ari-teenager as a beautiful androgynous long-haired fairy type, both his tutu and his hair blowing in the wind. Sort of Maxfield Parrish with a twist. Then I realize A does not have the coloring for a black tutu. Neither does Robert Smith, but he can afford better make up and colorists than Ari.

The point is, whenever I start to feel positively about Ari having some gender variance, part of me is afraid for his well being. I'm afraid, not for his safety, but for his essence. I want to protect him and the exponentially expanding number of potential selves he will choose from. I want him to be able to choose from them all and to change his mind whenever he wants to. But that's not how gender works in our dumb world. What I (and most three-year-olds) see as something fun to play with and try on, others see as unbending. Whenever I think about this, I get so angry I can barely breathe. What kind of a society is this, where the masses decide so arbitrarily, so seriously what people should wear and how they should behave? When I look at my own life and the lives of my friends, I view the ways we've adjusted as a series of compromises. Sure, I can wear boy's clothes and have short hair and like football and marry a woman and still be female, but only just. Example one: people assume that B carried our child because I dress like a boy. What kind of sense does that make?

There are only four or five boys in Ari's class of 22, and already they segregate themselves. Really? Yes. Ari is the only boy I ever see playing in the "kitchen." He is the only boy I see wearing purple, yellow, or pink. The other day he told me, "Mommy, boys don't wear lellow!" (He can't pronounce "yellow.") He wanted to wear blue that day, even though I know his favorite colors are red and purple and pink. I watch him trying to figure out how to fit, and I wish he didn't have to.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why I Hate iTunes

This past weekend, I plugged my iPhone into my laptop, which I hate to do because I love my iPhone, but every time I plug it into a computer something goes horrendously wrong. I am unsure why I need to "sync" anyway, since it is a phone and therefore always on line. Can't it just like, go get the stuff it needs? I have my Google Calendar, and it updates through the web. Same with my email, obviously, and my, and my weather and so on. I use Picassa for photos, and I fail to see why only iTunes, the Dinosaur Behemoth, must physically sync with a cable. I just don't get it. Isn't Apple supposed to be all forward-thinking and ahead of its time? Why doesn't it seem to get that plugging a cable into a device for something other than charging is an extra step?

I spent most of Sunday growling and huffing and kicking things while the latest iteration of iTunes (I swear there is a new, enormous update every time I open the sodding thing.) re-downloaded every song I own for no apparent reason. There was, as usual, no stopping it, and when it was finished, several hours later, I had, as usual, lost some songs. Also, I had gained some songs I didn't want, and I am so OCD that this bothers me. Meaning, I now need to spend some time deleting the crap it decided to "gift" me, which is inevitably by some band I have heard of only long enough to decide that I hate them. Luckily, this time, I did not have dupes of every item in my library to delete, but that, too, has happened before.

Every so often, I write to iTunes tech support kvetching, and they are very nice. They make suggestions and offer free stuff, but I just ignore them. The point of writing to them, for me, is the release of my utter and absolute fury. There isn't much that is more important to me than my groove, and I do not like having my music messed with.

I have the occasional suspicion that I may be missing something, that iTunes' architecture is not actually so terrible, that I just don't understand it. Maybe, accidentally, some setting somewhere is set to "TOXIC POISON INTENTIONAL SERIOUS MALFUNCTION EVERY SEVENTEEN SECONDS." If so, then I need help. Preferably in the form of a humble yet knowledgeable (oh, and better make her hot, or I won't pay any attention) free personal iTunes/music advisor. This person, if you know her, should contact me so that we can arrange my free instruction in how not to fuck up my groove. In case I haven't mentioned it, I am unemployed for at least the summer, so this could count towards volunteer hours, like with helping the unemployed reeducate or something. Perhaps tax-deductible? Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Laundry Wars

My wife and I are pretty smart (which I know I am always reminding you), but for some reason, we both believe the other can never, ever comprehend The Laundry. We're both so territorial about our clothes that neither of us likes the other to start a load. When she is home, B does it. I don't like this because, while she gets stains out and never ruins anybody's clothing, she continually leaves the room where we are socializing to deal with it. Sometimes this even occurs during cocktail hour! When I ask to help, in an effort to keep the disruption shorter, I'm told to "just play with Ari." Then she tells me that I've got to be kidding because there is no way I could possibly do anything but destroy the already precarious Laundry Situation. (This second part she tells me silently, with her eyes, which is lucky for her, I tell you, otherwise cocktail hour might become cocktail face!)

When B is not home, I avoid almost all of her clothes.  I'm scared, you see, because she sometimes has Unwritten Instructions about certain items, and I cannot remember which ones they are (the instructions or the items.)  I feel that she over-complicates The Laundry Process.

This thing holds the clean laundry we never fold. Isn't it beautiful?
To be honest, we both do. We used to have one hamper for darks, one for lights, and one for Ari's clothes.  I decided that Ari should be with the rest of us, since we haven't done his laundry separately for years.  Now we have one hamper for darks, one for lights, and one for whites.  I quickly noticed that the darks and whites are never full.  Because of this, I instituted a new sorting system which is too complex to explain to anyone.  I haven't even tried to tell B. Oh, sure, I've told her the basic gist, but I haven't shared the intricacies. In a marriage, you've got to leave something to the imagination.

So, I don't explain. I just go behind her and re-sort. Basically, if the item is light, but could conceivably go in the darks (because it's old and no one cares if it gets dingy), then I put it in the darks. The same is true for in-betweens. However, this is not true if there is something new in the darks that might bleed. Basically, the point of this is to try to get a full load of darks more frequently. Of course, even when I have a full load, I can't run it because most darks belong to B (She is a black-wearer, while A and I love pastels.), and I am afraid of ruining something by not knowing the Unwritten Instructions. Just last Thursday, I did a load of seemingly innocuous darks, which contained only one tank top of B's. (I was feeling too fragile to attempt more than one.) Cotton, from the Gap. Easy, right? Just to be safe, I hung it to dry. Sometimes B likes things to air dry even though they are supposed to be safe for the dryer. She came home from her mediation and declared it would have to be rewashed because she does not like "how it gets when it air dries." Sigh.

The hampers.  Wet washcloths dangle over the edge, so they do not make mildew.  This is crucial.
B no longer even tells me the Unwritten Instructions, which I'm fine with, since I can't keep track of them and they kind of piss me off, anyway. I don't tell her about my new sorting rationale because I barely understand it. Sometimes, I get so confused about what's dark and what's light and what counts as completely white (You'd think that would be easy, but there are white socks with grey heels and toes that can be bleached!) that I don't know what to think.

There is a lesson in this somewhere, but it feels like a pointless pain. Maybe our struggles to please each other re: laundry are a replacement for the flowers we can rarely give. (The cat eats them and pukes. If we keep them shut in the bathroom, Ari lets the cat in. If Ari sees them, he insists on giving them away to his teachers, which is only sweet the first six times. And so on. . .) Maybe I do B's laundry when I'll probably screw it up because it engages me with her while she's traveling, so I miss her less. Maybe my need to romanticize even laundry means I need a job. Both of us have unreasonable Laundry Expectations. They're a metaphor for our unreasonable and complicated expectations in general, our vast differences but our similar needs to feel like Myriads of Contradiction. Every attempt to wash each other's clothing becomes a grand gesture, and I can't help but think we must really love each other to even try.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Playground Fantasies

1) Free mimosas before noon

2) Free champagne after that

3) I am in charge.

4) Shade

5) That woman who is the probable mother of the savage who will not stop torturing my child has her head squashed suddenly by a falling anvil, as in Road Runner.

6) Alternatively: I walk towards her, ask her, "Is that your son?"  She nods.  I say, "You'd better watch out" in menacing tone.  She looks satisfactorily terrified.  I am badass.  She then says, "What did he do?" with quavering voice.  I tell her all about his jumping so hard on the shaky bridge while Ari was walking across  that it made him cry.  I tell her that a child her son's age (5?) should not delight in the misery of barely 3 year olds.  "It is not natural, " I say.  "Beware the ides of March," I say.  I look sinister.  She shivers and begins to cry a little.  Then she starts to beg me to leave her alone. All the other families and I cower around her, like we are the witches in Macbeth and she is the kettle, with all the newts and other dreck in it.  We start to moan like zombies.  Steam rises up from the ground.  We all look deeply into her eyes, as if into the witches' brew.  She is so scared she wets herself, and then we all laugh and disappear.

The reality was more like this:  I asked, "Is that your son?"  She said that he wasn't, but she knows him, and she is sorry for his behavior.  What the hell am I supposed to do with that?  Where do I put my maternal rage?