Friday, November 12, 2010
The man just stirred molasses into his otherwise black coffee. Hmm...ponder that..
It's Friday, and that means I feel a certain "lightness" of being, which is funny because really, it's just another week day. However, years of programming have made Friday seem like the happiest days of the week; a day filled with anticipation and a certain winding-down from the usual drudgery.
This morning, as the sun shone through the fog, I walked Jack to school. When the bell rang, I plugged my ipod into my head, turned the opposite direction and started walking. As I was going along downhill, I thought; "damn it, I feel like running. Yeah, I'm going to RUN!"
Has anyone else noticed that as you move into your adult life, you've sort of forgotten how to run? Running used to be so effortless and painless as a kid. There was a certain litheness of limb that is just gone, or actually has to be re-learned, if you gave it up for a long period of time. I found this out after I'd had Jack. When I started taking him for walks in the stroller, I wanted to run every now and again, but my recently snapped-back joints felt clunky and awkward and my feet slapped the pavement more like I was wearing flippers than running shoes. This was a bit surprising, and a tad distressing, so I worked toward being able to run again.
Come to think of it, I wonder if more "moms" would relate to this, because during pregnancy, the joints become more elastic, and start to stretch out, so a baby can be accommodated by that pelvic region, and then eventually be squeezed out. So, after having the baby, not only do the joints feel a little, well, more weird, there is a certain portion of time whereby most new moms do not necessarily get the chance to get out there and really exercise.
I believe women are supposed to wait 6 weeks, post partum, before they even get into any serious exercise anyway. And then, if you have a second child, typically the "older" sibling is young enough that they are neither able nor interested in going for a POWER WALK with Mummy and baby. Unless you have a double stroller, chances are you're not going for walks and runs, unless you're one of those naturally energetic FREAK MOMS, who does aerobics while the kids are having naps, instead of falling head first into a cup of coffee, or your own bed, like the rest of us. No wait, that's not entirely accurate--even though I was dead tired, when the kids would be napping, I would be relaxing, but NOT sleeping. Sleeping felt like a total waste of precious, precious free time. But, I digress.
When Ella was a year old or so, I got a double stroller, second-hand, from a woman selling it online. It cost me $35 and it made me so happy, I can't even tell you. Suddenly I had freedom again. I could put baby Ella and little boy Jack into that stroller and go for LONG walks along the various paths. That second-hand stroller was a prized posession. It was FREEDOM.
Bear with me people, I'm in that lazy, peaceful hormonal phase, whereby I'm about as sexless as a houseplant, but the brain whirls and whirls.
SO, on my walk this morning, I decided I was going to run. I sprinted down the sidewalk, and it felt a little crazy, like my legs were going to pinwheel faster than my body could catch up, but I could do it, and it felt exhilerating. Then I resumed my walking pace just in time for a car to pull up along beside me. I pulled my ipod out of my head, and the woman inside the car (one of the school moms), said;
"hi, it's 'Random Acts of Kindness Day,' and you looked like you're in a hurry, so I was just wondering would you like a ride?"
I sheepishly thanked her and explained that I was just trying to get some exercise. She smiled and went on her way, and I carried on, but that kind gesture nearly finished me. I may be all crusty on the outside, but I'm one giant melted marshmallow on the inside.
I tried to explain this to The Man, and the sentiment therein, but he's IRREVERANT to the end, and just laughed at the idea that the one time I decide to run, somebody thinks I was in a hurry. Okay, okay, I had to laugh too--what, I don't look like I LIKE exercise??? Etc, etc. Also, I couldn't help wondering after, how I looked as I flung myself down the street. Apparently not like an athlete...
This brought me to my next thought: my old "it's not me, it's THEM" argument. In Surburban Hell, people were more stand-offish. It's true. Maybe this is the syndrome of densely populated areas. In order to cope with a chaotic environment, don't you have to block out some of the visual/noise chaos to a certain extent? If you can never truly get some "alone time," does that mean you simply create it by virtue of pretending that person right next to you isn't there? Hm, perhaps.
So, in my old neighbourhood, as I'd be walking down the path, hardly anyone would acknowlege the person walking past. When I was at the park, I could be standing side by side with another parent, and we would not talk to each other. I became fed up with this attitude after a while and thought eff it, if they're not going to be friendly, why should I? Then, when little Jack came along, and he was different from other kids, I would see other mothers cringeing away from us with disapproval and disgust. So, I started to think f*ck them, and stopped trying to engage other mothers.
What differences did he have? Well, as a couple of examples, if he liked the way a kid said something, he'd mimic them. Kids hate this, even from a very young age. Or, if he thought a kid was great, little toddler Jack would hug them. First of all, at a certain stage of development, little kids become aware that everyone other than their family are "strangers," and hugging random people is verboten. Jack would keep trying to hug them, or maybe he'd roar with delight in their face, or whatever, and that would be that--I'd see the wall of stone come up over the other mom's eyes, and she'd be whisking her child away from us monsters. That's the way it is, sadly.
When Jack started junior kindergarten in Suburbia, his good looks and fun personality quickly attracted another little boy, who was in senior kindergarten. This little boy wanted to walk home with Jack. And then, one day, following the other mom and her son, I grabbed Jack's hand after school, and crossed in the middle of the road, and not at the crosswalk. This was different. This was out of the normal routine. Little Jack lost it. He screamed, he wailed and cried, and tried to pull away from me to run back to the other side of the road. When we got to the opposite side, he was still so completely distraught that he was beside himself. I noticed the other boy's mom try to be sympathetic for a moment, but then she assumed that same protective posture, and she and her boy walked off ahead, not waiting for us, as I tried in vain to reason with and calm Jack down.
So, I stopped trying to be friendly to the other moms. I was far too protective of my own little guy, and I would not suffer their prejudices and preconceived, close-minded notions (incidentally, for whatever reason, I can spot a child with behavioural/cognitive problems from a MILE away now, so if you see a kid totally having a freak-out fest, never just assume that they're simply being 'bad').
I put up walls around myself. They're the snobby ones, I concluded. They're the ones who are jerks. I'm not even interested in getting to know anyone. And then someone tries to employ a random act of kindness. And then there's the lady at the grocery store who offered to let me go ahead of her. And then there's the guy turning right at the lights, who backed his truck up so I could use the crosswalk. I guess what I need to remember is that some of the time, it's not them, it's me.
It's good to reevaluate every now and again. We've all been the people who've been judged, but sometimes we also do plenty of judging.
Enh, but this is Friday. I've just had two leisurely cups of coffee. I've been typing away peacefully in this sunny pantry. That sprint has left me with an awareness of my own muscles, but at the same time I feel great, more peaceful. Sometimes everything's okay.