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!")

Thursday, February 26, 2004

One False Move and the Baby Gets It

So...I was out the other day and as a surprise El Chico put together the crib for me. Well, it's not really a crib but a kind of bassinet/crib thing called a co-sleeper.

As he tells it, he went searching for the screwdrivers, hammers, what-not and didn't need them. The instructions would have been very short but for one thing--with each stage there was a warning that basically says: Put this together wrong and your baby will die. So insert plastic pole into hole. If you fail to completely insert the crib will collapse, your baby will become trapped underneath. If you do not throw out the plastic covering the crib the baby will smother.

Ah, parenthood. Now we get to live in terror. All the time. The world is so full of dangers. And lawsuits. So even if there was a danger you might have missed someone will remind you of it to cover their ass from liability...If you ever thought your child might enjoy swinging from towel racks maybe you need these warnings. If you want your child to swim, play on the playground, ride a bike, play sports, it might be good for you to know that just about every childhood activity is accompanied by great danger.

But don't let that scare you.

Of course, I didn't realize my baby's life depending on my husband's engineering skills. I was so thrilled when I came home to see the crib sitting there in the living room. Usually, when we have a difficult home improvement job we call our friend E and he does it for us. E is this big strapping fellow very at home with power tools and on the basketball court and who bench presses many, many pounds and as such maybe not such a great guy to rave about to your husband. I think perhaps I may have done that at some point--I don't remember but I only speculate I did due the frequent eye rolling and snorting El Chico engages in when I say E's name too many times. So when I first saw the crib he claimed that E came over and helped him with it. But I knew he was lying...after a little while.

We've had it around and whenever we pass it we pretend that we are heavy babies and rest our hands on it...We imagine the dangers that might come with the crib. We look at it wonderingly thinking both about our beautiful child that will lay within it and what horrific thing could possibly go wrong from its use. I'm pretty sure we are safe but this is the problem with all these dangers--they are almost invisible to the naked eye.

There are some other downsides to parenthood...I offer the following conversation as an illustration:

--So...what are you going to do to me if I'm a bad, bad girl?
--I'm going to give you a time out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Arabic Big Brother

Check out this guy...

I'm really wondering what the set up is and where they are filming it...Jordan?

I like what Salam says: "The plot to make the whole world eat and watch the same things is going pretty well, don't you think?"

I wouldn't say it's much of a 'plot' but if you mean global corporate capitalism is pretty successful I think I'd have to say yes.

If you know why, let me know

My current prediction is that they're going to catch Bin Laden very soon. It's not going to be easy to take him alive but I guess he can't kill himself because that would look chicken. And they need him alive to display him to the world so they won't kill him if possible. He might try to do a suicide bombing but you know what? Those old guys--they never do it, do they? They just send the kids out.

So they'll catch him and he'll be alive...and God, it will be so annoying. The rhetoric will make me gag and retch and I'll be in a constant state of irritation except that I'll be a new mother and unable to read the newspaper or check the web for news. I might have to listen to the radio sometimes. I only hope my milk won't go sour.

Night and day. Night and day. Every little detail. Then the ultra lame analysis about what this means for the future....of the election...of terrorism...of humankind.

I'm really tired since I only sleep about 2 hours a night these days so I'm having trouble figuring out why it will be so annoying. What is it about the frenzy and the jubliance and the 'seriousness' that will drive me mad, mad I tell you? I don't have an analysis yet.

If you can explain it better than me, let me know.

I've been finding old magazines at the gym. It's very eerie. It's strange when they are pre 9/11 or the New Yorker published on Jan. 22 or thereabouts...when they discuss how the Bush Administration might feel the need to go to war in Iraq. 'Cause Iraq is so dangerous and all.

But it's very depressing when it is right after 9/11 and we read about how we're all changed forever. We'll never be frivolous again. Not only will boobies not pop out during football games but we won't want dancing girlies with boobies at football games! No sirree! And if we did...we, the media...we're just so sorry that all we every talk about is stupid stuff. Now we know better. Now we know there's a world out there with many events that might impact our lives. Now we know that life is short and inflated obsessions with scandals and fluff is only wasting the few precious years we have left.

We may have football again...but only once in a while. And along with our football we'll have long discussions about literature. We'll have art. We'll also try to eliminate the suffering we see around us. We'll invite the bums and the poor to the game and give them free hotdogs just to see them smile.

And as for the capture of Bin Laden and the impact it will have on the world...what will the future be like now that we have captured the evil Osama? How will this change everything? A: It won't. Not all that much. And never the way anyone thinks.

You heard it here first people!

Cheer yourself up with some good writing

Weird habits update: I incessantly scratch my arms, hands, back but try only to surreptitiously scratch my boobs. Which itch like hell. Well, when I'm at the gym I scratch with impunity 'cause it's an all women's gym. I know all that scratching must make people uncomfortable (especially when it's my belly) but I've just become so shameless.

Is this shamelessness one of those hormonal things to prepare you to whip out your boob in public whenever baby cries? I've noticed I'm extra squeamish about germs or anything unsanitary--which I took to be hormonal. Since I'm far from microphobic.

Now I find that I absent mindedly stroke my nipples when I'm reading or musing around the house. OK, that's kind of embarassing. (I am alone but worry I might do it in public if I forget.) Why am I doing that? I have no idea. They have become extra buttery soft lately but still. But the worst part is that nipple stimulation can bring on labor. It's worse than nail biting. Gotta keep my own hands off my tits! Never thought I'd have this problem.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hmmmm. So we can put anything in the constitution?

The attempt to rule out gay marriage will be this little disclaimer: Warning! The rights in this constitution don't apply to everyone.

It would be similar to the breathless rapid voiceover in the pill commercial where they say that propecia can also cause you to bark like a dog or the erection pill also induces temporary psychosis. Just letting you know in case you thought everyone had the same rights.

We'll just say: The rights in this constitution--generally quite useful to ensure equal treatment before the law (particularly when the majority is prone to discrimination against some minority)--do not apply to everyone. Do not attempt to claim these rights for yourself if you belong to one of those minorities that a slim margin of the majority currently hasn't come fully to terms with.

Even when most of that slim margin of the majority's reasons are primarily driven by particular religious beliefs not shared by all.

It seems like we can! As crazy as that sounds! You'd think this loophole would have been closed by now, but I guess not.

That's what they're banking on, anyway.

Pictures for the cause: Don't amend the constitution

from Kafkaesque

I noticed lots of straight people like me support this cause. Lots of bloggers do, anyway. May I say that it isn't all political justice that motivates me but also relief at the possibility that a queasy sense of discomfort may soon be removed. It just doesn't feel right to get married when someone else wants to get married and can't. I remember my friends saying to me (about other weddings): I'm never going to another straight wedding again! I would say: "Right on!" And then when my turn came I was like: "Um...? Do ya hate me now?" They were way nice about it, though. To my face at least.

(Every once in a while--no actually, quite a lot lately--I think: Good lord! How bizarre! I actually got married and am having a baby. Could nothing be less in character than that? I swear if they'd had a contest: Least Likely To Get Married at any stage of my life I would have won it hands down.)

Even if it seems like a bit of a fluke, there are lots of stuff I get from being married. And any idiot can stumble into marriage at any time. I'm proof of that.

It's not all about not making my friends mad at me...I do have my own little dream of social justice utopia.

So I want the laws changed. Behind the self-serving desire to avoid the feeling like someone is getting screwed unfairly while I bask comfortably in privilege of course is a general discomfort with injustice. It's not just self-serving. I do think, though, that it's a powerful weapon to throw an injustice in someone's face and make them uncomfortable...When it stops making people queasy to rake in the goods while stepping all over someone else is when I start to worry. Obviously, I worry quite a lot. But I am somewhat heartened that plenty of people are OK with this undemanding, totally fair expansion of civic benefits (you don't give up anything--you won't even see it happen) even while I'm dismayed that everyone doesn't see it this way.

The Onion: I'll tell you what I'd do if I were gay..."If I were gay, I would make an excellent uncle. My kids know to stay away from me when I'm drunk or watching ESPN, but gay Uncle Keith would be totally different. "

Why does this seem absurdly true? Can anyone explain that?