Wednesday, November 29, 2006

where I've been

Hard to say where I've been lately.

When I get up in the morning to get the kids ready for school, my attention is totally focused on that.

Then after they're all out the door, I just sort of do this collapse thing for an hour.

Or two.
Or three.

It's as if I need this space, this margin, this comfortable cushion of time in which no one asks me for anything and I speak to no one whatsoever. Because before I know it, it will be 2:00 p.m. again and I'll have to be in Function Mode once more. It will be, "What's for snacks?", and "What's for dinner?" and "Did you wash my jeans for school tomorrow?" and, "Can you sign this paper?" or "Can you help me make a 2' x 4' papier mache pinata tonight for my class, because I said you would?"

I tell myself that the zone-out time in the weekday morning is another form of working. That while I'm productive and diligent the rest of the day, this is my time to just regroup and refocus. In rest there is a recharging of energies. Bla, bla, bla.

But when you're sitting there all morning with a robe over your day clothes, wearing your son's socks because you can't find a matching pair of your own, wrapped up in an old white coverlet on the couch watching Superman Returns on DVD for the third time instead of folding laundry and planning dinner, all those claims seem like a sorry self-justification for slothfulness.

Then I got up and put a few washes over this drawing I did last week or so, and felt a little more productive.

But a household can't run on art alone. So I went out around one to pick up the mail and get some groceries for dinner. Just because. People still need to eat. Etc., etc.

I returned the Superman Returns DVD, too, before I got hooked into watching it just one more time.

I stood in line at the video return counter next to some old man with mussy long white hair, in a greyed camo jacket. He smelled. I mean he really smelled -- it drifted downward to me, the smell of stale cigarettes and unbrushed teeth and unwashed hair and sleeping in your day clothes and then not changing them the next day. That kind of smell. There wasn't a clerk in sight.

"They're hiding," he said to me, with a sidelong glance.

I can see why, I almost said meanly. Because I'm not feeling very tolerant today. But I bit that back and just smiled instead.

"What day is it?" he asked. He had a check out and his hand poised over it.

"The 29th," I muttered.
"What's that you say?"
"The 29th."
"No, it's not," he contradicted loudly. "It's the 28th."
"Okay," I said. (What do I care? I don't need to be right. I've got problems of my own right now.)
"It is."

People are always asking you questions they don't really want you to answer. What did he ask me for, if he wanted it to be the 28th all along?

He wrote down November 28 with a flourish and then said, like he was conceding a point, "Well, it's close to the 28th, anyway. It's somewhere around there."

I want to scream, Buddy, would you drop it already! A miss is as good as a mile, except in horseshoes and....something else. How does that saying go?

Oh, well. I just return the video and shuffle away, mumbling to myself about what I can't leave the store without (sandwich bags; a gallon of milk).

I push through the days and the blog sits somewhat neglected.
The truth: I'd rather draw than write these days.

I still watch what's going on around me, taking mental notes. I just feel less like writing about it. As if, in writing it down and sharing it, I dilute it somehow, however accidentally.

Or maybe it's a natural evolution of blogging that, after a while, you start feeling like no matter what you do people are still going to trod upon it, and you start reverting back into a shell again, where it's safe.

And I fight that, but still.
That's where I've been.