I’ve been sitting by the road for the last two days, pumping up my tires and putting my chain back on. Which is to say, I’ve spent the weekend looking after my children and cooking.
In lieu of a description of the soaring prose I did not write, I’d like to record that the following things kept me from the next two scenes I have in mind:
- Earthquake kit. (n. a gallon sized ziplock bag filled with candy. To be used by a child in the event they have to stay at school for a while, after a big one hits.) Friday afternoon, a concerned teacher called to say that one of my sons had failed to turn in an earthquake kit. Now, it’s an exaggeration to say that those kits are full of candy. In fact, they are supposed to be filled with nutritious food that will keep for a whole year. A salami sandwich is out. Also, water, a flashlight, and a space blanket. (I think that last item is optional. I hope so, because that’s not something I’m willing to go and find.) We have lots of candy at home, but the nutritious food that will not rot after a year threw me a bit, until I realized that could include energy bars. That, and a can of slightly dodgy beef stew I found tucked behind some marshmallows, a lot of dried fruit, and a flashlight, and I feel I can hold my head up high when I pick up my child after the earthquake that is unlikely to occur during school hours.
- Field Day. The same child whose school makes you put together the aforementioned earthquake kit, has a huge Sunday family event, one that involves egg tosses and sack races, an astonishing amount of food and an epic tug of war battle between parents and children in which the parents always lose, because they are too busy chatting about their children’s genius and eating when the time comes for the tug of war, so the children overwhelm by their sheer numbers. I did not feel it would reflect well on either me or my family if I’d shown up with my mac and written a scene or two while everyone else was sack racing and bragging about their children. Plus, I feel it did me a great deal of good to see how gleeful the head of school was when the parents actually did win one round of tug of war — against the tiniest children at the school. When they added the teenagers, we parents were toast. Is this not a metaphor for parenting so obvious it would hurt if it dropped on your toe?
- Work. Have I ever mentioned that I have a job? It’s actually a great job, intellectually interesting, wonderful co-workers, a boss with the best manners of any man I know and a very unAmerican amount of vacation time. So, I actually had to do some work, because I haven’t been as productive as I’d like lately.
- Banana bread. I made some. I wonder how many words I could have written while I was smashing up those bananas. You can’t eat words, though.
Today I don’t have to do any of those things, except work. After work, more scenes.