the only substance is the fog
I am deep in pre-holiday denial and ennui and thus do not feel like documenting my unfabulous life. It is the Depersonalization Season, where you find yourself doing all kinds of things that you would not normally do, just because of those darn holidays, and I don't mean things like “smiling at strangers” or “humming carols.” I am instead referring to things like “purchasing a disgustingly sexist and horribly written trade-paperback spy novel for my brother-in-law” or “baking cookies while stone-cold sober” or “having afternoon tea at The Drake amongst hundreds of brittle Gold-Coast matrons while being aurally assaulted by the sounds of the harp, which is seriously one of the most fucked-up instruments ever invented.”
Perhaps I am just prejudiced against the harp because my first college roommate played the harp, and boy howdy did that situation not end well, but then again the harp really is bizarre and creepy and above all unnecessary. I stand by this opinion.
Tea was actually not all that terrible, but it is a challenge to keep a preschooler amused using only finger sandwiches and people-watching and harp music. I had brought supplementary snacks and small toys, but of course using the little tongs to add sugarcubes to my cup of tea until it was grainy and undrinkable proved to be far more entertaining. Nora also required frequent trips to the giant lobby Christmas tree display, but once there she was not awed by the magic of the season but rather kind of subdued and underwhelmed. I would point out various animatronic holiday wonders to her (my fake enthusiasm can be added to the list of “dumb things the holidays have made me do”), and her only pertinent question was “Why is this happening, Mommy?” There were no good answers. Why were we watching an electric Santa Claus zoom around on a toy train? Why were ruddy-cheeked fake children creakily turning their ceramic heads and shoulders to the tinny sounds of electronic Christmas songs? I did not know.
Nora enjoyed the hell out of the ham-filled finger sandwich at The Drake and more or less ate the whole tray. I spent a bad couple of hours musing over the fact that my child had eaten nothing but pork and sugar all day (the diet recommended by 4 out of 5 rebellious rabbis with ADHD!), and then I remembered the morning's applesauce and cereal and was somewhat appeased.
FINALLY: SOME LEAN, MUSCULAR PROSE
I know I am always mentioning Nora's fanciful use of language, which is probably becoming some kind of annoying “trademark,” like my constant self-analysis or my over-explaining or my dipsomania. Or my compulsion to burst my own mommy-pride bubbles and then write about them online. See below!
“How was school today?” I asked Nora.
“Oh my gosh,” she said, all excited. “There was a lot of crying! Trevor cried, and then Jason cried, and then they both cried! It was…it was a…it was a…”
Clusterfuck?” I suggested helpfully.
“It was a big problem!” she said.
There we go. Say it straight. Hemingway would be proud.
How great is this guy's name? I am disappointed in him, however, for not legally changing his last name to “Bread” immediately upon turning eighteen. Sure, your parents might be pissed, but it is really their fault for naming you “Lofa.” That game was so boring that I turned it off well before halftime, and I only got that far by making up a rap about how Babineaux made bouillabaisse and brought it to Lofa on the sofa.
I am just about out of gas here. Even though I have more to say, the brain and the fingers don't want to cooperate. Welcome to winter in Chicago! I quite like winter, although it makes me slightly rapid-cycling bipolar. One minute I feel energized by the cold—boogieing in public at the Belmont/Kimball Blue Line subway stop at 6 am, on my way to diner coffee with Sophie, when my iPod shuffles up the Humpty Dance—and the next minute I am so tired of my life that I want to scream, and the fact that I cannot fix the plaster cracks in my crummy old (excuse me, “vintage”) living-room walls right now, despite the impracticalities of plastering and painting in fifteen-degree weather on a Thursday night, actually starts me weeping, until I have a Moment Of Clarity into my own retardedness and decide to shape the hell up. And what the cold/snow/gray really makes me want to do is sit in some dank Polish bar for hours, where a limited-English lady bartender with crooked lipstick and a visible bra strap will bring me multiple sequential Old Styles while I read and drink and drink and read. And then maybe you will show up and punch me on the arm and bring quarters for the jukebox. Okay? Okay. Meet you there.
—mimi smartypants let slip the dogs of war.