I was going to Dublin for the weekend, and knowing what prices are like
there and how the Irish love a good party, I decided to make a gift
of a big honkin bottle of Jack Daniel's and a carton of Marlboro
Lights. Problem was, time, as is its wont to do, slipped completely
through my fingers like so much Irish Stout, and I was left with an
hour until the Canadian Exchange, home of cheap liquor and ciggies (and
oddly little else) closed
and just 45 minutes until I had to get
Nicholas, aka der Kleiner Kaiser, from school. No problem, I figured,
it would be close, but I could make it. Heck, I wouldnt even need
to bring my car, and I could fit in some much needed cardiovascular
exercise into the mix. Wunderbar! Nothing like killing not two, but
three birds with one stone.
from the briskness of both the air and the walk (no leisurely strolling
for me!), I arrived at the Canadian Exchange and bought the biggest
bottle of Jack Daniel's I could find (1.75 liters!) and a cartoon on
Marlboro Lights for a grand total of just $32. For that price, one could
hardly afford not to become a chain-smoking lush. As the clerk bagged
my purchases, I smirked to myself, eagerly anticipating the looks on
my hosts eyes when they saw my goodies.
back out into the brisk walking in brisk air I went, congratulating
myself all the way at what a good little multi-tasker I am. I even called
my friend Jen up on my Handy, just to get even more done. Of course
some could argue that gossiping is hardly a necessary task, but they
dont know Jen and how despondent she gets when I dont remember
to call her daily with all the dish.
sure enough, I made it to school just in time, joining the gaggle of
Mommies come to collect their young. Then it hit me
the clerk had
put my purchases not in a brown paper sack, but in a plastic bag. A
clear plastic bag.
let me explain that Herr Kaiser goes to the school with the über-Mommies
with the uber-Kinder
really its quite yuppie and chi-chi
and full of wooden toys and interesting theories on the proper way to
educate young minds. Its Soccer Mom Heaven. I think its
in the contract somewhere that one must come to pick up the children
fresh from the gym, in ones minivan or pushing a jog stroller.
Lets just say that these are not the kind of mommies that fly
to Ireland just to party with people they dont know, much less
bring them big honkin bottles of J.D. and ciggies.
worse, when I decided with the Mister that we would send Herr Kaiser
to the chi-chi school, I made a solemn vow to myself that I would not
repeat the mistakes of last year, when I showed up to Frau Czarinas,
my nieces, school to volunteer in my Sex Pistols T-shirt. No,
this year, would be different, I promised myself, this year I would
fit in if it killed me. Id wear twinsets and khakis, Id
talk about safe subjects like where to go in Poland to buy the best
pottery and recipes for casseroles. If that didnt work, I would
even cut off the crowning glory of my womanhood in favor of a nice practical
haircut. I would make them accept me, even if I killed myself in the
a more reasonable person wouldnt particularly care about winning
the acceptance of a bunch of people they had nothing in common with,
but then again, a more reasonable person wouldnt be making assumptions
about my reasonableness. When Herr Kaiser was born, I decided that the
best way to raise children was to be as bland as possible, waiting in
the background, giving them room to develop. You know all those movies
with quirky parents? Their kids hated them, right? Oh sure, by the end
of the movie they came to realize how blessed they are to have such
lovable kooks as parents, but Ive come to the conclusion, after
26 years of hard living, that while life is often like the first part
of a movie, it very rarely turns out like the second part.
my desire to be bland was born, though the execution of it has been
quite the chore. For example, I no longer have any good stories to tell,
as mine all seem to begin "Okay, so we decided to drive to Nashville
with this 12-inch dildo
" And you would not believe how few
Soccer Moms consider The Velvet Underground to be appropriate play group
background music. So, I learned to shut the heck up and invested in
some nice "Wee Sing Silly Songs" CDs and hoped for the best.
there was one thing I hadnt counted on: genetics. Between having
a father who was a go-go dancer for a punk rock band and a mother who
was a teenage vegan anarchist, it really shouldnt have been a
shock that Herr Kaiser would turn out, well, weird-like. I should have
known that there was no hope when he asked to be read Wired magazine
instead of Dr. Seuss when he was three, and the first words he could
read, after pizza, were "Microsoft Windows." Or maybe the
clue-stick should have hit me when I overheard him discussing the merits
of Windows2K over NT with his father one morning while the other fathers
and sons were happily watching "WWF
Smackdown." But no, I choose to remain in ignorant bliss, until
the day I caught him studiously going over the HTML source code for
yup,hit me like a ton of bricks it did.
I tried, even though in my heart I knew that there was no hope for me
and my dream of a nice normal family with nice just above average but
not enough to be scary children. No Lake Woebegone for me! And I saw
it in the other mommys eyes, when I strolled up with my bag of
booze and ciggies, I saw the look that says "This explains a lot."
I saw their eyes wander over to Herr Kaiser, and I could hear them thinking
"No wonder this poor child has had to grow up so soon, what with
his chain smoking lush of a mother and all." And I looked at them,
and smiled and they smiled back and at that moment there was understanding
I would be the kooky mommy, somebody for them to talk about après
gym over coffee (every school needs at least one) and I would be free.
Free to be me, booze, ciggies, 12-inch dildos and all.