Thursday, August 13, 2009


Dave. Juanita. Phil. Allegra. Marty (a Mazda Miata). Bruce was a Ford F150. Zoey has taken to asking me for the name of everything, proper names, not the make/model or thing itself. Mama, what its name is? And quick on the spot I say Marsha, and she is satisfied. Marsha, yes, Marsha, mama, that's right, and she pats my hand proud that I have gotten it right. Marsha was a bicycle locked against a tree outside the coffee shop. Last weekend the weather was perfect, and on the drive back from the beach we passed many cars, so many that I began to dread when I saw a knot of them in the distance coming toward us. TomJanineAlRebeccaGigiJavier! It's hard, this thinking of names. Try it. Try naming each car you pass, never the same name twice. Sure you might start with assigning certain names to certain types--a minivan is almost always a Pauline, Paula, something from the family of Paul--but soon you don't care, can't care, minivans are Salome, mustangs become Beth because goddamn if this isn't America and everyone feels like driving.

Mama, what's my hair made out of? We are going to the grocery store and I thought I was so smart to have already stored a bank of names in my head for the drive (Hank, Ben, Sara, Germaine, Geordy, Hillary, Ron). Fuck. What is hair made of? I rack my head and say protein. Stupid, stupid, I think before I have even finished saying the word because next comes this: what is protein? And I stammer, because what? I have a Master's degree in English. Plastic, I say. Protein is made of plastic because somehow this has become a QED for Zoey, plastic. What is Barbie made of? Plastic. What is my pony made of? Plastic. What is my cup made of? The End. It is only later that I look it up to read about polymers and peptide bonds, carboxyl, selenocysteine, words that make me smile they are so beautiful. A BMW 5-series named Selenocysteine... I think my daughter might be schizophrenic. I mean, of course, not really. But I just watched The Soloist and either she is schizo or Jamie Foxx studied the speech patterns of Zoey to form his character. This is an excerpt from our drive to daycare this morning [with my answers in these nifty bracket thingies]:

Mama, what is an egg made out of? Mama? Mama? YOU DIDN'T ANSWER ME! [What?] Is heck a bad word? [No, but sometimes...{interrupted}] Look at my toe! Heehee! My toe has a tiger on it! Did you know that? What are the tiger's name? [Raoul] Who made me? [Me and Daddy] Why? [Because we were bored] What is my eyeball made out of? [Plastic] And then what did he say? [Who?] Colin! Mama! YOU DIDN'T ANSWER ME! AND THEN WHAT DID HE SAY? [Hi? I like the tiger on your toe?] NO!!! No Mama, AND THEN WHAT DID HE SAY? [Who's on first?] What is it church? [Plastic]For the record, there was no tiger on my daughter's toe. You know, in case you were wondering why I would have a tiger in my Honda Accord station wagon on a Thursday morning. Which would not be out of the question considering I have a half eaten bagel in there, a pail full of seashells, 22 pens, 4 receipts, wet wipes, a book on Ghandi, tampons, a soccer ball and finger puppets. Considering the question and the answer itself which is plastic. Sometimes I feel as if I have fallen down the rabbit hole, I'm late, I'm late, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Yoda, Jennifer, Lyle, Uri, Millicent, Jason, Jack and Joe. This never ending litany of questions directed at me when I have traditionally been the one doing the asking. Why? Because my name is Susannah Clay Lastnamehere and I am made of Zoey.
Images found here.


Jen said...

That Zoey dialogue made me laugh till I cried, because it sounds so very much like Leah's conversations. I needed that laugh today...thanks!!

Simply Mel said...

I believe I will enjoy the last days of Gaia's limited vocabulary before she learns the greatness of sentence structure and the important question, Why?

Brandi at Duel Living said...

You are too funny. Zoey with her plastic hair and her tiger toe...quite the trip. Thanks for the laugh.

krista said...

those pictures are FREAKINGMYSHITOUT. dude. i have to get some sleep soon and now my dreams are going to be about the damn plastic doll face hair comber eating his tongue. the metaphors are wonderful but the images are FREAKINGMYSHITOUT. perhaps this is why i'm a writer and not an artist.

p.s. zoey is awesome and so are you. i'll even throw bryan in for good measure.

Oh Brother! said...

Damn, that is one nice piece 'o writin'. Really. Truly.

Love the content, of course. But I really love love love the writing.



Richie Designs said...

omg the photos grossed me out so much I couldn't read. and I really want to read

Oonafey said...

you are made of pure awesome.

Cindy said...

Oohh. I, too, could have read the awesome words much better if it weren't for the UN-awesome pictures. ::vromph::


JackeeG4glamorous said...

#1 Those are sick and deeply disturbing pictures, really, they froze my corneas.
#2 I used to name all the cars that I owned. Zoey is just making conversation with you. She's creative and funny in her own way. Love her! Stop right now and hug her and I'll pretend it's from me.
#3 Please feel free to use Jackee for a name or two.

mosey along said...

Run-on sentences and attention spans a millisecond long. It exhausts me on a daily basis. Reminds me of the dogs in the movie UP who in mid-sentence point and say "SQUIRREL!".

Petunia Face said...

Jeez, I had no idea the images were so disturbing. Maybe I need someone to check me before I hit publish.

And just for the record, our car is named Ziggy Stardust. :)

Thank you all for your comments. I will add all of your names to my arsenal. Also: SQUIRREL!