August 1, 2009

I should not be sitting on the couch, writing to my intended audience of millions…or my real audience of two. My room is a disaster. The kitchen is begging for my attention. Laundry practically screams to be done. (Apartment-dwellers: How late is too late to use the laundry room? They’re in the same spot on every floor, so I know I wouldn’t be bothering anyone except for POSSIBLY the apartment across from them, but still…) I am flying out to California with Leila in less than two weeks and I am in no way prepared for the eventuality of traveling with a five year old and yet…here I sit.

I can’t help but value this time to myself, this lazy time, with the apartment empty of child (with her father) and roommate (with her brother) and my tummy full of kabob.

Because I work retail, weekends are not a time of rest for me. Though my boss is generous with weekends off during non-holiday times, I am used to weekdays off and being out among the public when it’s crowded and noisy makes me feel like…like…one of Them. One of The Impolite, one of The Rude. One of Those People–the ones who don’t know what life is like on the other side of the counter, ya dig? The General Public, as Amanda (aforementioned roommate) and I call them. And…I don’t want to be one of them. I don’t like it when people have the illusion that I am Normal. I am decidedly not normal, and I like myself this way. Being out with my daughter on the weekends (and sometimes with her father, which is a whole other kind of illusion that is problematic) instead of the weekdays does something weird to me…I feel overwhelmed by The Others. During the weekdays I feel most myself. The Others are in their offices, being tense and high-strung and rude to their coworkers and bosses instead of me. My daughter and I have whole stores to ourselves, we can make small talk with the salespeople or other Non-Others, polite people, women who smile when Leila picks up the gaudiest pink shoe in the store and says, “What do you think of THIS ONE, Mama?” and women who look tired but happy, and speak to their children like they love them instead of finding them annoyances. Those women are harder to see on the weekends, somehow.


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