Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Sabrina Jumpsuit

I am being followed. You, too? I mean, it looks so easy. Like maybe it's the most universally flattering thing in the world if only you never had to go pee in a public bathroom and figure out how not to let the top of it touch the floor. 
I am being followed. You, too? On the tv and on my Facebook feed, so many posts about guns and hate, homophobia, Islam, fear-mongering Trump. Like maybe it's the most universal thing in the world if you never had to leave your house. Did I just segue from a targeted Facebook ad to a massacre? Yes, yes I did. Because this is what it has become, tragedy doggedly following us wherever we go. Video of a kitten giving itself a bath! Carpool Karaoke and a petition to regulate semi-automatic assault rifles!

On Sunday I woke up and heard the news. You, too? Then we took the kids to the park where there were a dozen 7 year olds playing war with Nerf guns. "I shot you! You're dead! No, you're dead! You're dead! You're dead!" I tried very hard not to be judge-y at the parents who thought this was ok on any day let alone that day, but a little judge-y slipped out like a fart, and even Bryan who isn't as knee-jerk pc as I am admitted it seemed wrong for kids to play with guns like that, even if the guns were semi-automatic assault Nerf.

(Later we were driving somewhere when we saw a guy slam on his brakes and get out of his truck to punch another man through the open window of his car. For days now I have been checking my local newspaper to see if this made the news, but it didn't. Cold-cocking and road rage ho-hum.)

I remember after 9/11 how we were all unified in our grief. The world may have been ending, but at least we were in it together, mourning not only the dead but the loss of a time before we knew. I felt like maybe we were all kinder then, that there was a shared sense of the need to walk past each other gently. I don't feel that anymore. We are not in this together. We know, each of us certain and right.

The most visceral thing I have heard about Orlando is about the constant ringing of cell phones on the bodies of the dead as the first responders entered the club. Details like this. I have signed all the petitions. Called my senator. Talked to my kids. Is that the answer? 

There is a question, right? Do we all agree that there is a question?

This is the beginning of a slow healing, a slippery slope into merciful forgetting. I think of the children of Sandy Hook and feel sick. Watch a video of a kitten giving itself a bath and feel better. You, too? There are more good things than bad, I tell myself, the world a paradox of terrible beauty. I click on the link of The Sabrina Jumpsuit knowing that it will now follow me forever and ever until I do something about it. Buy it. Anything.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Going to California (speaking of night-night songs)

Someone told me there's a girl out there, with love in her eyes and flour, in her hair...
Flour, flower, potato, potahto. Here we are on Famous Californians day at school. Zoey is someone whom I have never heard of, a Newbery Award winning children's book author with white hair and oversized glasses. I want to squeeze those Sally Jessy Raphaels right off her face, she is so delicious as an old lady. 

It is June, and there are Famous California days and field trips, end of year parties, preschool graduation, kindergarten orientation. I have to make an appointment with the endocrinologist to have my thyroid checked. Of course with a new job I have no accrued PTO but do have a Google doc with the summer dotted with different camps. Drop off at 9am on Monday here, pick up at 3 there. None of this is particular to me, all of us moms standing around saying how cute they all are, John Muir with a stick-on beard, Steve Jobs recognizable for his black turtleneck, a boy dressed as Nancy Pelosi if Nancy Pelosi were blonde and short and a ten year old boy in a woman's blazer.

When my mom was very sick I remember fumbling with Ozzy's stroller in her room at Hospice, pinching my fingertip so hard that I screamed. The week that she died I had a nasty blood blister right at the bed of my nail, and then later, as we planned her service, a ridged, white mark across the nail. I remember watching it grow out, feeling sad as it got to the edge, like somehow that white mark kept me connected to when my mom was still alive. 

My hair is almost at a bob now, time carbon-dated by its growth. Newscaster hair, I say, thinking how strange it is that people at my new job might think this is just my style when really I am a messy top knot kind of woman, someone who wears her sunglasses inside because they are prescription, jeans, always jeans, hoop earrings, a gold bangle bracelet, not famous, but a Californian. It's the end of the school year, it always does this to me, though if I am being honest so does the beginning of the school year, March, October, July. My daughter with white flour hair on a mountain of dreams.Telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.

la la la la...