The internet meme popped up when it popped up and it started with very firm instructions and the verbiage was concise. The last sentence contained the off putting 'tag someone' requirement that instantly puts that sort of thing in the no go category at best and most often shuts down the viewing process for me entirely because it wreaks of something I'd rather not see. If pressed I'm not sure I could identify exactly why anymore because the widespread use of the directive 'copy and paste if you love me' sort of thing, if you care at all, if you're my real friend (I'll find out now even though I'm pretty sure I really know), to raise awareness of xxx, to share the suicide hotline (has anyone checked to make sure that actually IS the suicide hotline? It might be, but did you check?), to pray for the cancer survivors...
(STOP FUCKING PRAYING THIS INSTANT AND START DOING SOMETHING even if it means arming one of your parishioners and putting them in front of the closed church doors during services. Some of you are having apoplectic fits just now but this is in response to the current memes focused on triple digit number of people killed by a white man with a gun so we must pray but 20 dead by a person of color and we must DO SOMETHING RIGHT THIS SECOND... I'm just saying, there is another way to look at this instead of the knee-jerk reaction which assumes no one is doing anything other than praying even if you do not agree with the action in question and please do not assume that the woman or man standing guard outside that door does not know how to handle a firearm. Not a right or wrong. An observation about my political party and for the record, I no longer believe Americans should have free access to firearms for oh so many reasons - I didn't type NO access - I typed free access)
...It is a very rare occurrence for me to play one of these games and when I do, the phrasing is changed entirely, the ask is very different and the last sentence is either gone entirely or changed. For example, A friend of mine posted the eighth photograph on her phone and pasted the text of the game which asked her friends to leave the eighth photograph on their phones in the comment section and if they did she would give them each a number at which point they should copy and paste the text to their own wall, post their own photo and keep the game going. She had so many lovely photographs in her comments and my eighth photograph happened to be a screen shot of my camera roll which showed a block of screen shots broken up by a jar, yes a glass JAR of multi-colored OTC painkillers and one or two other things but it's that glass jar and the expense receipts that stuck out. Most of the photographs on my phone are expense receipts because every time I have one I photograph and email it to myself and immediately attach it to the appropriate expense report which is how I manage three of them each week. The jar exists because while I have a prophylactic medication to keep chronic migraines at bay I am no longer willing to take the not OTC medications to handle the popups of which there are many since my body can't decide if it wants to be peri-menopausal or fully menopausal. I though this was very funny and posted the screenshot. When I got a number I thought it was even funnier because it was a screenshot of my iPhone settings. I think I was trying to help someone navigate to Siri & Search to turn on notifications for transportation apps like airlines and hotels so she'd get the delayed flight popups and my photos are littered with this sort of thing because I am an abuser of storage space.
I decided to play the game for two reasons. The first was because I thought the fact of the photo was very funny. The second was because I wondered if I phrased it right if people might show me their lives. So I phrased it thusly:
"Please make my freaking day. Place the 3rd photo in your camera roll in my comments. I’ll give you a number and then you can play too (if you want to). Yes. This is the 3rd photo in my camera roll. It beats the 8th. I think."
I expected maybe three or four or ten at best depending on who, in my not so willing to do this sort of thing friend feed was feeling willing to share at the moment. I got twenty-five and the thing about those twenty-five is what came with them, the explanations that made them intimate, vulnerable, and not so much a snapshot into the lives or phones of some close friends, long lost friends, not so close friends and in one or two cases, just acquaintance's lives was the fact that they were gifts. 'Here is my husband doing this oh so silly thing because he wants his ten seconds of fame'... 'here is the video of...' 'here is my daughter doing...' 'here is this and this is how I felt'... I was blown away. I gave them all numbers because I said I would. Each reveal in the photograph was met with an equal response. Some of them had no idea why I'd given a number. I think they were responding to what was happening in the comment string. I had to come back and explain and then be clear that the game was an absolute choice. I have no idea if anyone other than Cielo and Lucia played because most of these people don't show up in my feed.
So that's the story of me and one meme. Just that one time.
Except for this black and white thing. I hated it. I hated the phrasing. I hated the photographs. Oh, they were beautiful for the most part but they didn't tell me a damn thing. This is a modification of the original. My friend Dave doesn't much care for the tagging of people as a way of passing the game either.
"Day 4: My life in black and white. Seven black and white photos. No people, no explanation. Nominate a friend each day. No nominations. Volunteers welcome."
The original instructions were phrased a little differently and in the beginning the usual directive to copy and paste the instructions were present but four things were very clear:
- My life in black and white emphasis on my life
- One photograph for seven days emphasis on one photograph each day for seven days
- No people, no explanations emphasis on you can't have any people in your photos and you can't have any explanations in the caption, the photo has to say everything or nothing
- Tag someone, pass this shit along.
For a lot of days, I'm not really sure how many, beautiful or trying very hard to be beautiful black and white photographs streamed through my feed and I tried to make sense of it all. In some cases given what I knew about some of my friends there was just no way in hell these photographs were current. Nope. I'm sorry, you are not in Athens right now and that photograph was most likely not taken in black and white originally. You sir, are not in NYC, you are at your home office in your tighty-whities just outside of Hartford writing code. You WISH you were in NYC right now. I will allow that this photograph may very well have been taken in black and white because you are an artsy sort of guy. There is only one woman who posted seven days of mostly outside beautiful photographs who probably did post her actual life day by day for seven days. At the end of her posts I wanted to ask her why she hadn't posted anything about the rest of her life, you know, like her kitchen with the light streaming through the window and hitting the kitchen table just so the way I imagine it must or the vulnerability of an unmade bed. I wished for anything like this that showed me who people really were and I saw absolutely none of it. I saw a black and white photo competition.
So that's why I decided to do it.
Initially I was going to leave the caption off entirely but then I realized I'd have to say something so I titled the first photograph 'One' This initiated an obnoxious response from my son. "Lemming" "It would be you" I responded. He wrote back something about being the lemming of lemmings and I let him off the hook. Later I changed the title to Saturday so it would make more sense. No one was ever going to understand What the hell I was doing if I didn't at least name the days because I wasn't going to be doing it right. They weren't necessarily going to be beautiful photographs for two reasons. First, I was going to have to take several of them on the run and in the dark and the iPhone does not much care for in the dark. Second, there are some things I am just not good at but one particular shot I wanted I wasn't willing to give up just because I still haven't figured out how to get it. Admittedly the first and last shots are beautiful. I got lucky with the last because the light was just right. I really wanted it to be the hidden cemetery in the woods about a half mile down the road which dates back to the civil war. This would also have been a not so good shot because I have trouble with the iPhone in that sort of light. If the leaves were all gone it would have been easier. Maybe I will post an eighth just because if I can get it.
In the end there were seven black and white photographs which show my life very clearly. It shows what Saturdays look like, and then Sundays and then the stark juxtaposition of Monday morning and the still surreal shift into the never never land of Tuesday morning. Wednesday morning could have been any one of four mornings and Friday was only Friday because I had the day off with Elizabeth but the photograph would have been a dramatic shift back anyway. The Thursday shot could have been a before or during, but I thought the absolute after, even though the light and shadow makes it difficult was far more relevant. It was that sort of week. Later when the battery died on top of the tire flat to the rim in the parking garage at Basking Ridge I had to laugh at the universe giving me the gift of that occurring in my own driveway.
The women shed tears over the Monday photo. I wanted to reach out and smack the shit out of them. Don't do that, dammit! It's 2017 and this is what we do! The comment, you must really love your job... Christ on a bike, what the fuck? Would you have said that to a man? Highly unlikely. On the other hand, to be fair, some of these women are close to me. Some of them understand the struggle to find balance and being women we are allowed to shed tears. Men, not so much. Men struggle to find balance as well but I don't think they have the space much to talk about it openly and I know damn well no other man is going to openly weep in empathy. So there's that. But the 'you must really love your job part'.... hmmmm... no, I don't think so. You, sweetheart, have lost touch with reality. If I were a man you wouldn't say that for two reasons: 1. That mortgage has to be paid and men do what men must to pay the mortgage (that I am a one adult household just doesn't process in what I know perfectly well is a VERY intelligent head) 2. If a man works a travel job that requires an exit from the household before light on a Monday morning, this is not so unusual. He must do something either a) very interesting, or b) very important. I think of my friend Jason who has been a contractor for a very long time. He exits the house at 3:30 on Mondays because his trip to BR requires a flight but some clients have required Sunday night travel with a Friday evening return. Jason has a weekly rotation which means he is home two weeks out of four. Some clients don't ever permit this. I do not believe anyone has ever questioned Jason's choices. I was nearly hanged until dead for those exact same choices in the nineties and so this was almost my primary motivation.
I wanted to create a photo album that could be flipped through but Typepad cannot do that. Typepad can create photo albums but oddly enough it can't seem to import them in the correct order and I'm not sure you can fix that or properly embed them in a post yet. It is entirely possible I could put them in movie maker and embed that but for now I'll just pop in the photos and let you scroll through the week. You're only getting the days of the week but really, this should not be all that difficult to figure out. Why is the office empty on Wednesday? This shouldn't be all that hard to figure out. You don't have the benefit of the time stamp so I'll give you that as well.
A week in my life in black and white. No people, no explanation. Some assumptions will have to be made. I wish that wasn't so because there is a story behind several of these photographs; one is rather lovely and unexpected but you'll just have to make it up in your head. Am I lonely? Is this solitary? If you don't see people you might automatically think that but you can't go there if the rules are to leave them out. I suppose when presented with a series of photographs like this, we superimpose what we believe we know about the person behind the camera. The fact of this startles me because I don't know what I may have failed to reveal.
Saturday late afternoon
Monday 5:30 AM
Tuesday 6:30 AM
Wednesday 6:50 AM
Thursday 8:00 PM
The truth of it in vignettes - this will be longer than you think
Saturday late afternoon
I haven't had enough time outside lately because there has just been so much to do. Not for work, but for life. My daughter is getting married in June and things are starting to ramp up and Elizabeth has this life that comes in and out of the house in a way which draws me in as opposed to Lucia who locked herself in her room with her friends. Elizabeth and T will eventually retire to elsewhere but because she misses me the two of them spend a fair amount of time sprawled on the red couch in the living room creeping closer with four feet coming toward my lap and when they bring the middle friend in with his whirling dervish energy there is no escape because the Dervish and I are in love and will sit on the floor and discuss HO model trains and his lovely relationship with his grandfather and how badly he wants to ask out the boy in his AP Chemistry class for hours while Elizabeth and T creep across the floor in circles around us interjecting periodically about the boy in AP Chemistry and what the hell is the Dervish waiting for anyway? So late Saturday afternoon I intentionally went into the backyard instead of getting in the car and heading out to the grocery store and looked at the light. Originally I meant to photograph something in the grocery store but the chicken coop broke my heart. It was shut down for one reason but kept down because leaving Elizabeth as the primary caretaker for the birds just wasn't fair so we didn't bring them back. This is my life. This backyard with this empty coop which has gone through periods of emptiness before. It is the closed up coop in the beautiful, nearly wild meadow of a backyard which is my life and I was struck by the stark fact of this and also my absolute acceptance of the stark fact. It is ok that my heart hurts. It is good even. It is good to be conscious. And so that beautiful photograph of not a reminder of what my life was but the actuality of what it is today. I was happy out there and I need to remember to be back there more often. Not just outside, but back there.
This was easy. This could be any evening except the location is either the red couch or the hotel bed at the Hanover Marriott. I say 'the bed' at the Hanover Marriott because they are all the same, or they have finally become all the same because I am no longer aware of the differences in rooms. Not much, anyway. At the very end of the day, every day, when all things are finally done, I pick up the current sweater which is being knit and fall into it. At the beginning of June I started the first of either three of four sweaters I meant to have completed by Christmas and started. I discovered knitting mens sweaters is not quite the same as women's sweaters and made two egregious errors. The first was just a disaster in more ways than I can discuss and eventually I will rip it out to save the wool. The second is going to be OK eventually because I am fairly certain I can make the collar right. I sure as shit hope so. The third, jesus, the third. How could I have gotten that so wrong? My gauge is almost always dead on but somehow it is the size for a fourteen year old boy. FML. I am on sweater number four and it is entirely possible I'll finish this by Christmas and the size will be correct and I will only have made a complete mess of the pattern on the chest. I still don't know how the hell I managed to screw up one side of the henley front pattern when the other side is absolutely perfect. I am fairly certain it has something to do with the way I increased the stitches into the pattern from the opposite direction. The instructions confused the shit out of me. So either way it would have looked fine but it looks like two separate patterns on either side. I will make Mike wear it anyway. I will tell him it is supposed to look like that but he will not believe me because in some places it is perfect. I will tell him I also meant it to be that way. I will look him dead in the eyes and not blink when I say this. That's my story.
Oh. This. So much this. It's taken me so long to get really good at this exit. It took so long to get past the sleep anxiety and so long to let go of the 5:15 wake up and roll back to 5:00 because getting on the Merrit Parkway at 5:45 instead of 6:00 actually DOES make a huge difference. Figuring how to be staged well enough to shower and be out of the house with all my shit and coffee in twenty-seven minutes (because the car has to be in motion at 5:30) and then down the stairs, across the lawn and onto the driveway without falling on my ass or spilling the coffee (which gets out anyway) into the bag of knitting was a bloody miracle. The excitement of going back to Basking Ridge after a three day hiatus combined with the anxiety of leaving but knowing I'll be back on Tuesday night... and the whole thing is just one giant circle which is not a hamster wheel but it is something I've stepped onto voluntarily and it moves fast and I'm still trying to control the pace which is why I start at 7 AM voluntarily. I'll get to that. However, I load my luggage and computer into the car, shut the door, climb in, turn it all on, set the Garmin not because I don't know where I'm going but because the ETA is 'time to beat' and it's GAME ON.
I am leaving my hotel room and I will be back on Wednesday night and I look at the intimacy of the unmade bed and I want to show you this but I can't really explain why other than it feels like I make this giant leap out of Weston on Monday morning, bounce off the bed in Hanover on Tuesday morning, back to my own and then back and it just goes like that and again, it's about the ritual and the getting past the sleep anxiety which was always about, have I got everything worked out? Will I get enough sleep? Will I be good enough? Will my daughter be OK? Will I get this shot right? I will not get it right but whatever, I'm posting it anyway.
I am not the first person in the office. Lots of people arrive before 7 and it is primarily to avoid traffic. On Mondays and Wednesdays it is about avoiding traffic for me but on Tuesdays and Thursdays it is about getting actual work done before I have to start sitting through meetings or dealing with triage. Usually it's the crap left from the day before when I get to 5 or 5:30 and my head has gone to white noise and the only thing I'm good for is triage because it's going to take a massive shot of adrenaline to get my brain cells engaged. I love the concept of the open workspace but the truth of it is we don't interact more with the exception of the library table which is where the consultants sit. We interact because we can see each other. The problem with the open workspace is the fucking noise. At some point I think the community will define itself to the point where social mores will develop beyond the scope of 'do not talk to people staring straight into a screen who are also wearing a headset because this means they are probably on the phone (this is also a great way to hide out). Eventually people will learn that when they are MOTHER FUCKING LOUD they are disruptive and will take the party elsewhere. The library table is dead center in the middle of the workspace so we don't really stand a chance. To my right is the party space. I don't know who they are but there are two or three women who like to stand up, talk and laugh loudly and gather additional people to do the same. I can work through it because I can pretty much work through anything but when I'm on a call I have to keep my headset on mute and when I'm leading a call I have periodically had to pick up my phone and computer and walk as far away as possible because the noise is so loud through my headset that no one on the call can hear each other. My boss is on the other side of the room. He is getting ready to come over and shoot them. A reason for gun control. Possibly. Or at least he would need to be interviewed thoroughly. I do believe he would honestly blurt out: I need a 45 because the time has come to blow the heads off the two or three women on the other side of the room. OK, maybe not, but still.
This was so beautiful. I left the building a little before five. Like a few minutes. I had managed to successfully lock my boss in a room for eight straight hours. I've been told this has never been done. It is entirely possible I have saved him from himself. We have pounded out the ROM (I love that), Rough Order of Magnitude with enough detail behind each piece to be able to construct the high level project plan with a timeline I can force him to meet for not just one project but a second which is nested within the first. The first project is being managed with the Agile method which means you don't really have an end date for the ROM. (I find this maddening). The second is pure waterfall and the PM is terrifying. Also unreasonable. Although if you can't come up with an argument for why you can't do your part of the development in two weeks, god help you. With the argument must come the project plan and the timeline. To this you may need to be locked in a room for eight hours. He doesn't have the bandwidth. He is pulled in too many directions. I won't tell you what I had to do to make him sit. Sit he did. I still have to finalize the damn thing and get it to him today or tomorrow. So that. I got in my car and pulled forward and knew instantly that I was on the rim. I also knew I had to get the car into open space so I limped it into a good size alcove, got out and started looking for the implements of destruction.
No implements of destruction. Oh FUCK. Possible he was still in the building. No answer. Try his internet line. No answer. Try a text. Nothing. Crap. Go back to the car and start digging again and who the hell am I going to call? A man pulls up. Do you need help? For one tenth of a second the voice in my head said: we do not need the help of a man (what's your boss? a unicorn? maybe). Then the voice in my head said: are you out of your mind, woman? Then I said, yes please! He drove a hybrid which did not have a spare tire which means he did not have implements of destruction. He used his cell phone flashlight to dig deeper into the recesses of my vehicle and found mine. We had a hard time getting the cover off my spare and I said I wasn't opposed to brute force. We didn't break it but it was damn funny. I actually knew where the key was to get the damn wheels off the car but we'll get to that.
The jack. I haven't changed a tire in, oh, I don't know, twenty-five years? I think David changed the tire on the Forerunner in 2004 and we had trouble finding the spare tire because it was under the car. But I don't recall the instruments of destruction being an issue. We looked at the jack. The jack looked dubious. He got under my car and looked around. I got down on my knees and he said, you're going to get your coat dirty and tear your hose. I just looked at him. I asked if he was having trouble working out where to put the jack and he said yes, it didn't look right. I decided not to interfere and he finally made a choice. When he started trying to get the car up he asked if the brake was on and I looked at him blankly. Do you want me to do it now? No! ok. He looked at me and said, don't hear this like it's sexist, ok, because it's not. ok. I don't know how a woman is supposed to make this work, it's all I've got to leverage the damn thing. The jack was wobbly. It looked wrong. He got back under to look at it and I stopped breathing. I heard him say, it looks fine, perfectly stable and as his head cleared the jack collapsed on itself. It wasn't the wobbling car which had stopped wobbling, it was the weight of the car.
I picked up my phone and called Mike again and he answered. Where are you? I'm at the 16/17 exit, where are you? I'm at the 16/17 exit, is that you?!
Mike looked at the jack and got his out. He also has a Toyota and we were dubious. As we were jacking the car back up, with the parking brake, and Mike swearing about the lack of leverage, another man came by and said, dial 4400 if that doesn't work and building management will get AAA out here in about ten minutes. I thought this was a fine idea. Mike muttered, in about three seconds that is exactly what's going to happen. The man stayed and watched. He was older and frail but not going anywhere. The tire was up and they worked on getting it off and the car didn't move, since the brake was on. Another man stopped by and tried to figure out how to help. He stayed too. They worked on getting the tire off. The cover was being difficult. One of the project managers stopped by and asked if we needed help. She said she didn't have a spare tire anymore either because she had some sort of tire that wouldn't go flat all the way. She asked if she could help though and stayed. They got the tire off and rolled over the spare and started the business of getting that on. It was being difficult. Two more people walked up and asked if they could help and one of them said, that's sort of a ridiculous question because you almost have it but I have a better jack if you need it so I'll just wait until you're through. Everyone wants to go home on a Thursday night but everyone stayed very calm oddly enough, not even looking at their phones. Just waiting. In the end my tire was on and the first man started to pick up the dead tire and I said, let me have that. Mike said, you'd better just let her. We didn't let her touch the tire changing business and she's probably not happy about that. I took the tire and rolled it to the back of the car and everyone followed me. You're going to get your white coat dirty. Mike and the first man together: she won't care. I picked up the tire and held it away from my coat. Tires are heavy. I'd forgotten. I threw it into the back and then looked for the red cover. The first man asked if I wanted to put it back on and I said, no, no point really.
I looked around. There were at least ten people standing there waiting to be helpful. One guy said he was from building management and I wondered if he'd just wandered by or if someone had called him just in case. He said, well, we could have just called AAA but you just don't see people doing this anymore and you were almost done so I left you alone. Mike grinned. The guy grinned and I said, so I work for him in DSM and anything you need you're the top of the line. Mike turned white. The guy said, I work in TV and Mike said, thank god but really, she would have made one of our guys give you something.
I got in the car and drove home and the traffic was still there but that was OK. When I got home at about 8 I decided the tire in the back should be the photograph instead of the luggage in front of the glass front door with the light pouring out and the dog losing her shit because I was home (which she'll do even if I've only been gone for twenty minutes).
Heartbreaking. I took Friday off because Elizabeth was registered for a six hour campus tour at her first choice. We have already done the two hour tour but she really wanted the six hour and I made her pick the November 10 tour over the October something tour because I was over booked. I wish I had not. She called me on the way home on Thursday and told me she had never received a confirmation email and finally sent an email and on Thursday afternoon she finally got a response. She was not registered. She hadn't wanted to tell me until she knew for sure because she didn't want me to be upset (I would just have called the contact I have at admissions). Her level of upset was exactly where you'd expect it to be. It took twenty minutes to explain that I was upset because she was upset, that I wasn't even remotely upset with her, not even remotely disappointed in her although I did wish she was not so unhappy with herself. It's a life lesson, sweetie. We all have these life lesson opportunities. When I got home she hadn't told her father yet. He took a vacation day and I don't really know what that means. He is also a contractor but he may get actual vacation days. I just have to make sure I bill my full 40 hours or I don't get paid for them.
(we are capped at 40 but we work what is required - don't get excited - you do the math - x dollars times number of weeks = salary and subtract out anything you have to cover on your own which can be some if you are W2 through an agency or everything if you are 1099 and if you are still making significantly more than you would be making as a FTE then shut up and do the work)
This is not a problem. It is a rare week that I don't hit 40 by Thursday evening and I hit my 40 at 2 PM this Thursday. She wouldn't call him. She sent a text. He was livid. He suggested we just show up. I vetoed that idea. He wouldn't let it go. She cried. I suggested she type this:
Please stop. You're making me feel worse than I already do.
I remembered that six years earlier I had typed nearly the same to my mother which became the final email in a rapid fire email exchange and that was just about the last I heard from her. Not all dogs bite. Go ahead. Tell him how it's making you feel.
Whatever he said in response, it was the right thing. I asked her, since she had possession of her mother for a full 24 hours what she would like to do on Friday. She said she'd like to go to MOMA. Of course she wanted to go to MOMA. We will sleep as late as you'd like and catch the first available train.
So in the morning we got in my car and the battery was dead. Of course it was. We got in her car and drove to the Westport station and barely got on the 11:06 so we could stop at Butter for lunch before MOMA. A word about Butter, they'll charge you $8 for tap water so just don't. I don't care how good that burger looks. While waiting for our burgers I gave her two tylenol and a benadryl because her head hurt and her sinuses were backed up. This was a crapshoot because I'd never given her benadryl and some people do ok with it and some do not. She did not. By the time the dessert menus hit the table she said, I have to get out of here, I need air. Elizabeth does NOT pass up dessert. By the time we hit the sidewalk she said, I need to go home. No MOMA? No. Holy shit, Elizabeth. You'd sell your soul to get to MOMA and do so at least four times a year. Mom. I have to go home. I turned back toward the station. Mom. I can't walk. I put her in a cab.
By the time we got to the station she was ambulatory but barely. We had fifteen minutes and she wanted to go downstairs to Magnolia. I was dubious. The tourists have broken the Thanksgiving to January fifth amnesty, broken the treaty entirely and breached the city walls. Grand Central is filthy with them. We crept down the stairs and looked around the corner. Between the back wall and Shake Shack there were probably 250, maybe 300 people. Magnolia is against the wall by the stairs in the middle of all that. The only way we would ever get through that ocean of midwestern horror with their oversized closets on wheels would be to move like the true New Yorker that Elizabeth's dad is, like an arrow or a missile or Armageddon on a stick. Elizabeth's dad uses his elbows out. You never really see him coming. I go in sideways using my shoulders and a good hard push. I do not apologize I just keep moving. I would have been willing to do it except it was probably a 45 minute line and Elizabeth probably would have gone down in the crowd. I said, no, back to the train now. She wept and then passed out on the train. As we approached Westport I looked up cupcakes in Westport and found something hidden and wonderful that ought to put Magnolia off the map. Except it won't, but that's ok.
Later T showed up in the driveway with the car his dad bought him because he will have his license in January. She is embarrassed by this but T loves cars so she is going to forgive him for his father's excesses and somehow T thinks he's going to come up with 30k to pay his dad back. T's dad is also going to have to foot the maintenance on the 2014 BMW X3 after the maintenance warrantee runs out because T will be in college by then and the maintenance on these things once they are of a certain age is astonishing (types the woman who traded hers in for $1000 toward a RAV4). T's parents drove the car away indicating that they would return at 10:45 so that he could drive it home and Elizabeth could get back to her dad's by 11 since neither of them are permitted to break the curfew which is in effect until they are 18. (positively draconian but ok)
At 10:48 the doorbell rang. Holy shit. I hadn't been watching the time because I assumed T and Elizabeth would be watching the time but they were not. I let T'd dad in the front door and ran down the hall. The commotion behind the closed door made it very clear I'd be sorry if I opened the door. Elizabeth, FASTER! MOM! Go away! NO! I went down the hall and sat at the top of the stairs and laughed into my hands. I wanted to blurt:
Listen, Joe, this is hilarious. They can't get their clothes on fast enough. Want to come down the hall and heckle them?
Except I never would and that's why I sat down with my face in my hands and laughed. I sat up red faced, tears and said, listen, do you know your son gets migraines?
Well, he has sinus problems.
Yes, that will kick them off but what happened tonight was a full blown migraine. Boys and men get cluster headaches, not migraines but every once in a while they do cross that line and this is about the time it starts if it's going to start. If he tells you his head suddenly hurts all over and the light feels like a knife in his eyes, that's a migraine, not a sinus headache. The dull throbbing in the back of his head that comes on suddenly and is accompanied by knives in the temples, that's bad, man.
Well, he has sinus problems. Did he eat?
Yeah, almost an entire pizza.
Sometimes he doesn't eat if his sinuses are bothering him. Other times he inhales everything in sight.
Yeah, I've seen that. But about his head. I gave him one tylenol, one advil, and one naproxen. I know Dawn isn't going to like that and you don't have to tell her but that worked. Also I taught Elizabeth how to put his head in traction and that helps a lot but he needs to go to sleep in a dark room right away. So I think they both fell asleep back there. (lies, lies, lies, but only about the sleep part).
Later she sent me a text and apologized and said they made some poor choices and I said, yeah, bad timing, don't sweat it. I've made lots of poor choices and I only regret some of them.
I spent more time telling you about the pictures than leading up to it. A photograph is a blink in a day or life and this business about it saying a thousand words, I'm not so sure about that. Sometimes, yes and sometimes not so much. How can you possibly know what that closed up chicken coop means if you don't really know me? The knitting? No way anybody is going to pick up the back story on that one. You get Sunday on the couch with brown wool on a circular needle. It will get you one quarter of the way there. How can you know about Monday mornings, what they look like, what they feel like, what it took to get there? Well, sort of because I write it but what if I don't? The parts in the middle, maybe. But the tire? How you can you possibly know what led up to that photograph?
And what about Elizabeth on Friday? Nope not one bit of it. Nobody knows anything about that photograph except for the fact that we paid $8 for tap water because that's where the comment string went. Nobody knows that was the pivot to an extraordinary day; extraordinary in its depth of emotion, the up and down of everyday life and the being truly conscious of the texture, sound, and movement of what is my often unbearably beautiful life.