Snow laces the San Gabriel Mountains and is a pleasant shock as I drive up out of the sunken road that leads away from my neighborhood. My two younger kids, M and A, say, “Ooooo…can we go see snow?” as we push on through the traffic to school. One by one I drop them off, my coffee warming in the electric mug the husband bought for me. A cool little device – it hooks up to the cigarette lighter connecting mug to electric juice. Perfect for school days when I have to drop off kids and then head off to the college to teach my morning classes. Normally by the time I get there, coffee’s gone cold. Problem solved by cool gadget.
The college is on spring break this week – I was really looking forward to quiet days in the house with all the children gone. Today, my first day of freedom (relatively speaking of course), my eldest announces he’s far too sick to attend classes. I gave into his pleas because I wasn’t interested in fighting him, because he did have a runny nose according to the husband, and because I was going to be home anyway meaning I wouldn’t have to worry about him being unsupervised.
So he’s home. So I’m writing in the office with Discovery Kids playing in the background. I’d been hoping for my música but it clashes with the T.V. so the ghostly narration of a show about…ghosts…will have to do.
Admittedly, I do have a mild headache which perhaps is impinging on my writing today in addition to the haunted house narratives. The headache I think comes from the two Lemon Drops I had at last night’s small gathering at the Tam O’Shanter to celebrate Rodger Jacob’s birthday. I was pleased to meet for the first time writer John Shannon, Will Campbell (who is also a contributor for Blogging.LA), and Joseph Mailander, editor of the Martini Republic, as well as the honoree himself. I was a nervous wreck at first because…well…I’m completely introverted and unsociable when it comes to meeting people for the first time which is why I generally do not enjoy attending schoolchum-kid's birthday parties, PTA meetings, networking groups, or the anything such as. However, everyone was so entertaining and offering such wonderful insight into L.A. living and the lives of writers and bloggers that I had no choice but to shed my comfortable “suit of armor” and engage.
I did not dance on a table nor grab a lampshade. The Lemon Drops were just…strong.
Hyperbole and personal hang-ups aside, it really was fun to meet people I only know through e-mail and the blogosphere.
So…here I am willing my child to pretend he’s not here which is impossible. He cannot bear to be in a space and not announce his presence. I know in my heart that will be a wonderful quality as an adult – he’s been doing this since birth. He just gets louder and more assured with age. I’m writing away and he’s in here asking me to take him to lunch. “Can we go to the mall? Can I buy a Ramones t-shirt?”
“Pretend you’re not here.”
“Can I play a few beats on the drums? Just one before I shower? Huh?”
“Pretend you’re not here.”
“How can I not be here, I AM here!”
“God grant me the serenity I need.”
“Mom…I love you.”
“I love you, too, honey. Get showered and dressed.”
Sick, my ass.
Me, me, I’m the sick one. I have a headache. My story that I’ve been writing is floundering. My novels are sitting here undone. My blogging is getting desperate. I have to put the blanket on the bed that’s been washed to remove dog hair, have to take off the comforter first, tuck in that blanket. Cleaning the kitchen comes next followed up with paper-grading, preparing for classes, vacuum cleaning. Then I’ll get A and M, do homework, make dinner, get kids to bed, finally watching 24 at 9:00. Then…then…
I think I’ll just stay at the computer and pretend I’m not here.