All this moving is causing me to develop a severe case of idiocy. Or it could be staying home with the kids all day. Some thing is causing the fruity filling in my cranium to go mushy, and maybe even sour.
My cell phone lays open, on the couch. Did I put it there? Am I talking to someone? I pick it up, "Hello?" In five minutes: where did I put my phone?
Coyote was invited to his first Wenatchee birthday party. I read the invite and lost it. We showed up on Saturday, obviously, at the Rotary Park. There was a birthday party. We joined it.
I didn't recognize anyone, which didn't surprise me. I wasn't expecting to recognize anyone. But I didn't see Dora, The Mom, who is a very black woman and rather obvious around here. "She must be in the bathroom or running off for supplies." I didn't see her kids. Also in the bathroom?
I was disturbed by the collection of overly-cared for children. Dora is a free spirit and I wasn't comprehending why she'd surrounded herself with control freaks.
What really ticked me off, however, was the tall pile of primly wrapped gifts. The invitation, if I remembered nothing else, clearly stated NO gifts, but a donation for mosquito nets. "Typical." I thought, "This ALWAYS happens. 'No gift' and I stupidly obey, AGAIN! Now we're going to look stingy and poor. And me having run out the door with my holey house shoes on again."
That is when I noticed that the names on the gifts were not ringing a bell. My sluggish, ape-like brain slowly formed the words, "Something is wrong."
We delicately backed away from the party. They were stand-offish anyway. Relief is realizing that you don't have to spend the next few hours in painfully polite chit chat with a bunch of prissy snobs who are ignoring you.
I sat on a bench and stared at the floaters in my eyes. And I apologized to a very disappointed Coyote over and over.
The next day Dora was there, hosting her son's party. As were the other two black people in Wenatchee. (I asked how they met and they said, "We stand out.") And a bunch of laid back white folks. And appropriately messy children. And NO presents!
That is but one example of my gaseous brain. The thing is DEAD! DEAD! It could be due to all the moving. I'm about to reserve the fourth moving van in less than a year. It could be the single parenting thing: alone, in a very small apartment/garage, in a town in which I have exactly 1.73 friends who aren't even in this town but are in the general geographic location an hour away.
This is the opposite of what I wanted. When I read "Of Woman Born" by Ms. Rich, I knew that what I didn't want was to raise kids in the isolation and rigidity our culture prescribes for parents. What I objected to was not off-spring, but the parenting culture. Obviously, it turns out, one woman could not do that alone. And certainly NOT while she has kids herself. One woman can only HOPE to survive, much less change her entire culture so that it allows the type of parenting experience she was dreaming of. And now. Here I am. In the exact opposite of what I wanted.
And it is killing my brain, as predicted.
Working was hectic. It was a wrestling match every morning. It was a race against the clock. There wasn't time for a single glitch in anything: the phone, the car, the routine, the health, and certainly no time for crying about hair deelies. And yet... and yet... There was this dark blue room for me, this contemplative den, in which I was paid to have one continuous and complex thought for hours on end. And what emerged from that thought was a strategy, a brief, an interrogatory, something tangible that left in the afternoon mail and some one else read it.
A stay at home mom has no complete thoughts. Does not complete a sentence. Does not complete a chore. Does not have a moment of clarity. And at the end of it all. After everyone is asleep. There is no one here with whom I speak. Just zygotes of thoughts, aimlessly swimming around my brain. Little specters of something that could be coalesced into a word or a phrase, if there were ears around. I feel like Helen Keller in her early darkness. I feel like a Neanderthal, awaiting language to make it all clear, to burn off the foggy banks and let the sun shine in.
Don't bother calling to save me. The reception in this electrified canyon in pitiful.
"Hello. Hello. Sarajoy, I can't hear you again."
"Well, I can hear you."
"Hello. Hello. I'm not getting anything."
"What do you mean? I'm crouching on the top bunk again. Can you hear me now?"
"Hello. Are you there?"
"Yes, I'M HERE AND YOU CAN'T HEAR ME, YOU DUMB MUCK! WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE CALLING ME WHEN YOU KNOW YOU CAN'T HEAR ME! JUST SHUT YOUR STUPID PHONE AND CALL SOMEONE YOU CAN HEAR!!!"
"Oh, okay, Now I did hear that."
I'm moving to another new town. Where I get to start all over again. yippee.
But I've got the right feeling this time. I'll find my place among friends again. I'll find good loamy things to dirty my hands. I just hope I can find my brain. Maybe it will turn up when we unpack.