Perhaps there are some things worse than putting on panty hose and waiting for a bus in the dark at 7.30 in the morning. To wit:
Kid is borderline sick. Sniffles, bit of a cough. No obvious decline in energy or intellectual deviousness. Snotty though. Definitely snotty. I spend ten minutes imaging how to justify the detonation of a snot bomb in the kindergarten and decide that I wouldn't want my kid in class with Kid. I make the sad Phone Call to the Attendance Line. Kid won't be in class today, I say to the machine, voice cracking a little. He's got a bit of a cold. Maybe, I pray, just maybe they'll hear the desperation in my voice and call me back, reassure me that Kid is probably just fine to be in school and that, in fact, they'll send a bus right over to pick him up. I wait for five minutes by the phone, but it doesn't ring.
I begin to charge the Nintendo DS.
First conference call. Lovely man in Los Angeles, big project, tons of money, very important, I am on team. Yay! We talk about how to organize the document. I'm scribbling notes on the back of a flyer for the Scholastic Book Club--Kid has removed all paper from my office and turned it into Captain Underpants fan fiction pamphlets. All pens, too. I write in green crayon. Interruption 1: Kid requires me to blow on DS, hard, to inflate rubber raft so Indiana Jones and his Lego sidekick can float underneath a waterfall. I mask it as a sneeze, scoot Kid out door for just five more minutes honey, mommy will be right with you. Yes, Deployment, right. It goes--right, at the end. Of course. No, I didn't hear that. Reverb, probably? It's really me, this time blowing hard on the DS to help Indy get over a wall in a shady Cairo neighborhood.
Second conference call. Lovely woman in Los Angeles, nearly solely reponsible for my career the last eight years. Big project, important to fledgling company, did I mention I owe this woman my life? MOMMMY! I SWALLOWED SOMETHING! THERE'S SOMETHING IN MY THROAT? AM I DYING? WILL YOU HAVE TO TEAR MY BODY OPEN? OH, WHAT A TERRIBLE IDEA THAT WAS? AM I STILL BREATHING? WHY DID I SWALLOW THAT JEWEL? What jewel, I actually whisper, despite the fact that Kid is shrieking at the top of his lungs and my employer is making very worried noises on the other end of the line. THE JEWEL OF THE NILE! I SWALLOWED THE JEWEL OF THE NILE!
We phone the nurse, who explains that I will have to sift poo for three days to make sure the plastic jewel comes out the Nile Delta.
Third conference call. Big client, big rush, etc etc. We discuss global trade practices and technicalities. I appear bright, engaged, professional. Am complemented for preparation. MOMMY! THE DOG BARFED ON ME! IT'S ALL STRINGY AND SMELLS LIKE MEAT, LIKE HOT GROSS MEAT! MOMMY!
I shower, I apply pampering face mask because I feel I deserve the radical transformation it will no doubt bring about within the next 20 minutes. I emerge from shower to find Kid yelling to my mother on the phone. Goddamn speed dial. Where was I? Did I think it was a good idea to leave Kid unattended in front of the TV for 5 minutes while trying to remove smell of hot meaty dog barf and failure from my person? Well, if that's how I want to raise my child, but it seems a little risky.
I don't mention the Jewel of the Nile.
Husband returns home at end of day. I am still wearing face mask, which I've forgotten completely about. I catch a glimpse of myself as I go to the door--I look like Katherine Helmond in Brazil.
Isn't it time to start drinking, I moan?
Did the dog get his walk? I hear back.