?Your Favorite Summertime Activities: Deconstructed
Swimming is super fun, right? WRONG. Swimming is TERRIFYING. Swimming is trying to keep incompetent, pathetic child swimmers from DYING IN THE WATER. And there’s always that one kid who just looks like he’s drowning because that’s his own personal style of swimming. WHY DOES HE HAVE A PERSONAL STYLE OF SWIMMING? They’re called swim lessons, parents. Get them.
This is me enjoying the refreshing summer pastime called swimming: OK OK, look left aaaaaaaand no one’s drowning. Back to the right, aaaaaand all heads counted. Look to the left again and everyone’s still alive. Aaaaand sweeeeep the area, is everyone breathing? Yup. Ok, good. Ok, great. So great that everyone is alive. I love it when the swimmers stay alive!
I should write about this, where’s my phone? How come I can’t keep track of my phone? Jesus Christ, Autumn, FOCUS. Ok, how may kids? Three kids and that one who always looks like he’s drowning. But he isn’t. But he looks like it. Wait, is he? Nope. He’s not. There he is. I’m gonna buy that kid a life jacket. I’m gonna order it right now. Where’s my phone? I bet they have them on Amazon. Amazon is so crazy. But where is my phone though? OMG WOMAN. Just WATCH the children. How many are there? Four? Yes, four. They need sunscreen. Look left. Look right. Hey, he’s cute, who’s that dad? Aaaaaaaaand sweep. Wait. WAIT. Is she ok?! HEY, IS SHE OK?!? She’s what? WHAT DID YOU SAY? Oh, she’s doing the butterfly stroke. Right. Looks just like drowning.
Concerts are the best! Music, friends, freedom, love, peace, sex, drugs, rock & roll. And THIS summer, your favorite band is finnnnallllyyy touring again. This band changed your life. This band changed EVERYTHING. You freaking LOVE this band. Yessssssssss! You’re so making this happen!
Cool. You need a sitter. Call the sitter. Sitter is unavailable, she’s also going to the show. She wants to know if you have any pot. You tell her you don’t. Even though you totally do. But she can’t know. Even though she totally does. Whatever.
Call another sitter. She answers. She’s so so sorry but she can’t help you because she’s entirely exhausted from working three days in a row - count them, THREE - and she just really needs to chill, man. You understand, right?
You cross her off the babysitter list with a thick, black Sharpie and call the last resort sitter. He’ll do it. He demands $18/hour because he has to change his plans. The plans that he had to jam with his friends in their basement. Which is what he does every night. And all day. And all the time. But still, you reluctantly agree. You kinda hate him. Just not enough to miss this sick show.
It’s concert day. You are PUMPED. The babysitter calls. He can’t come. He ate wheat and he’s down for the count. Bullshit. Everybody knows his ex-girlfriend is in town tonight and he thinks he’s gonna get laid. He knows you know it. He doesn’t care what you know.
So, ok. FINE. You’ll bring the kids. You’ll show them how to rock OUT. You’ll provide their inaugural concert-going experience. You are NOT missing this show.
FINALLY. You’re at the show. You, your wife, aaaand your kids. You missed the opening band. Who cares? You parked, you’re in, you have time. You won’t miss the first song. You HATE missing the first song. But your kids are hungry. Again. They just ate. It sorta hits you that your kids are actually with you, and yet you still think this will be an epic night.
Fine. Feed them – kettle corn, fried dough, Pepsi. You might as well set your wallet on fire cuz your money’s gone now. Invested in cotton candy and glow sticks. Glow sticks that would be way more fun if you were shrooming. Which, because you are delusional, you still hope to do.
Shit. Your son has to pee. Again. You take him to the bathroom, you have PLENTY of time before the first song. You have an eternity! You’re in the bathroom. You hear the audience FREAK OUT. OMG NO! NOT YET! Yes, yet.
The band in onstage and you’re in the bathroom with your son who is describing what he wants for his birthday which is exactly eleven months from now. You hear notes played, guitars strummed. You look down at your son, he is inexplicably STILL peeing and also smiling up at you. He loves you so much. You’re his dad! You’re the cool dad who loves music who brought him to this show.
Your son loves this show for a full six songs before he begins to flop around in your lap like a fish on a dock. He waannntssss to go to bedddd. He wants tooooo riiiiight nowwwww. Your wife is giving you the signal, it’s time to go. You have to go. You have to beat the crush of traffic. Your family squeezes their way along the aisle, down the stairs, out of section D204 and into the parking lot.
?Just as soon as you lose sight of the very band that changed your life, they start playing your favorite song. The one they’ve never played live. You look at your wife. She sees you. She knows you. She gets it. She really does. But...kids. Kids all day. Kids all night. If you’re lucky, it’s kids from now until you’re really old. When you’re old, though, you can eat all the mushrooms you want.
Growing a vegetable garden
Hahahahaahahahaaaaaa. Hahahaha ahahahhaaa. Hahahahhahahaaaaa.
Oh God. I’m sorry. I just- I- hahahahhahahhaahahahaaaaaa.
Hang on hang on.
BAHAHAHAAAAAAAA. Hahahahaaha hahahaaaa. HOOOO-wheeeee! Damn. Oh God. Ok ok ok ok ok.
I’m so sorry.
Yes, yes, I KNOW you tried. I KNOW. I tried too. I try every year. And by try I mean buy beautiful, expensive, organic starters and leave them in their little trays until they are mostly dead. And then, in a flurry of utter inspiration (*drunkeness) just as the sun is about to set on June, just as the thought of seven pathetic cherry tomatoes and two anemic raspberries seems like a veritable bounty, I fire every single one of those goddamned plants into the ground with precision and focus. And then? Well, then I fall to my knees and pray. Pray for them to live? Nope.
Pray for them to teach my children about life cycles? Nope. Pray that I remember to water them? Nope. No. I pray that when the shit hits the fan and the revolution comes, I know someone - ANYONE - who can actually grow food because otherwise my family will definitely starve.
Bikes are SO awesome. Wheels and gears in beautiful, mechanical motion. All powered by you! You pump and pull and push and sweat. You go fast. You feel like you can fly. You consider watching the Tour D’France - such exceptional athletes, such grit. Except you don’t have cable. Cable is expensive. Aaaaand so are bikes.
There are three people in your family. You, the single mom. Your kid, the quirky and excellent seven-year-old nerd. And your cat, Beaner, the one with three legs and screaming halitosis. You consider fashioning a wheel for Beaner’s missing leg. You know...so she can feel like she’s also riding a bike. You entertain this idea for about 3 minutes before you remember you have ADD and forgot to take your Ritalin.
Meanwhile, if the kid rides a bike, she’ll die. Mostly because she can’t actually ride a bike. Real Talk: any bike ride you go on requires one of those tag-along things. The kind where you do all the work of lugging around your own human self + another human. Ok, so maybe it’s a little human. But it does absolutely zero work back there and it freaking talks. It talks so much OMG. It gives you a play-by-play of The Lego Movie exactly as you labor up this stupid, giant hill. It ?whines, it’s hungry, it yells that you’re NOT GOING FAST ENOUGH. You might as well be the ox in a yoke with a bitter old farmer beating yo’ tired ass. You know what? Bikes are for when the car breaks down and you can’t get to your second job. Fuck bikes. Cats can’t even ride them. Let’s just walk.
Imagining the kids back in school
This activity, this idea, this process, here in late-July, is exactly as it should be. Exactly as hard as letting go of something you love so much. Exactly as much relief as you feel knowing routine is on its way. Exactly as much accomplished as forsaken in the green and golden months almost behind us. Exactly as bittersweet as the one chubby and ridiculous cucumber I grew in my garden.