Friday, February 27, 2004

Babies, Puppies, Annihilation

In my defense...I've just been using this pregnancy to fool everyone I work with into thinking I'm halfway normal.

(Thanks, Tony)

As I was telling Tony, you start out assuming that it's some freakish thing to be ashamed of...and then everyone seems so interested. They smile at you, they are nicer to you, they ask you how you are and actually seem interested. Then they want to talk about the whole procreation thing...After a while you get used to it and perhaps start to assume that the topic is inherently interesting. probably isn't. Nor are one's children of great interest to most people.

So what do you do? Well, if you're me you're rather used to being absorbed by topics no one else wants to talk about--death, destruction, the utter pointlessness of human existence. So you go on as before. Palatable only to a small minority of people anyway. Or perhaps only slightly more annoying than you were before.

I've been waiting to see if having a baby will eliminate my standing death wish. The term 'death wish' sounds worse than it is. It sounds so active...Like I'll be Charles Bronson going around blowing away kids with bad afros, etc. Whereas it's really the epitome of passivity. I'm so passive...perhaps even so lazy...that since my teenage years--or maybe even pre-teen--I've thought: Wouldn't it just be easier if I dropped dead right now? High school. The alarm goes off in the morning. Don't want to get up. Think to myself: Gosh, if the right blood vessel broke now I wouldn't have to go to school. Algebra test? Death. Problem solved! According to my husband who's known me for over a decade now I'm the only person he's met who has this particular response to life's challenges.

But it can't just be me, can it?

Dooce unfortunately offers some evidence that not only does a baby not eliminate a death wish but a baby can actually create a death wish.

I think early in my pregnancy this is one of the things that made me cry--one of the many things--The fact that the easy way out was now going to be a really horrible thing for somebody else's life. It's just not right anymore to hope for escape from deadlines or traffic jams via stray gunfire or noxious gases accidentally piped into one's office. No, damnit, I have to go on living. So in that way--although the easy way out is still as attractive as ever--it's just no longer an option.

And they'll be no morose musing on the empty future that awaits us at the Casa Miel y Chico neither...Ya gotta hide your angst. I'll never forget overhearing my little sister talk one of her Barbies down from suicide. You don't always know if it's you but you blame yourself.

As Mimi Smartypants says: it sometimes works to bravely stare into the existential void and to laugh in the face of bleak reality, unless you have a one-year-old clinging to your leg. Then you can't just laugh and be all French with the void. You have to...I don't know what you have to do. Tell her a story about the void? Try to pretend it's all okay? ("Nora sweetie, that's not a vast uncaring universe, where one has to engage in the futile struggle of self-definition, clinging to the Romantic notion that one even has a self! That's...a puppy dog!")


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