Friday, September 23, 2011

Multiples and Chickens of Responsibility

Our hot water heater died last night. It may have been a suicide judging from the dazzling hale of pinkish sparks and flame that erupted from the wiring. The fire burned a hole right through the top of the tank. I took an invigorating ice cold shower this morning.

Yesterday, I wrapped up 2 weeks worth of clerical windsprints for a presentation that my boss's, boss's, boss requested and then interrupted to (basically) tell my co-worker that she had looked especially hot at the happy hour held the previous evening. But, she worked hard to look hot and I still killed the presentation.

Rain is threatening my weekend plans. But my associates and I have developed a decent back-up.

Last night we ate fast food for dinner so that I could have enough time to bake homemade banana muffins for C's preschool class.

Overall it seems like a draw, like I'm managing to keep it even but I'm worn out. I want the keys to a fenced enclosure in some remote corner of Pennsylvania where I can howl and growl and chase bunnies around in a bramble until I feel human again. In and out of days and all of that.

Sometimes I feel like a piece of me died with R, the piece that knew how to proceed, how to get things done. The remaining parts are trying to make up for the deficiency but this isn't really their thing. My brain wheels spin fruitlessly in the face of any obstacle and I devolve into a snarling beast.

Or maybe I gained parts and they're crowding out the real me. A new version of myself popped up in the middle of R's burnt remains but there was also this other new version of me that was born with C and R and the original me is still hanging around. The post-birth version, Number 1, avoided destruction through sheer force of happiness. She believes that the world is one hundred times more amazing than old/original me had ever realized. After all, Number 1 snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the form of a baby who was surely a goner. The post-death version, Number 2, believes that nothing will ever be ok ever again and that nothing was probably ever really ok anyway. She melts in the face of other peoples' certainty. Number 2--let's just say that the name works on multiple levels.

They both have the same motto--'Now I get it.' (or Iam ego adepto is according to google translator). They are both insufferable, both opinionated. And they are at war with each other.

I suppose everyone's multi-faceted. Each twist in your life slices a little piece off of the surface of your reality until this extended metaphor comes to its natural end and we're all walking around sparkling like masterfully cut gems. That's probably mostly true, right?

What about a twist that spins you a full 180 and then another 180 two weeks later?

The force of it has split me in two and I devote most of my energy to holding the halves together or at least hiding my unseemly crack from public view.

Number 1 thought this morning's cold shower was a hoot. She decided to add more fun and shave her legs. Number 2 figured that we were at least slowing the death of the planet by burning fewer fossil fuels and, truthfully, we probably deserve the discomfort of a cold shower anyway. I warned you that they both suck.

They both think they're the smartest thing in the room. They both completely devoted to bringing me around to the truth and guiding me towards the proper path up the mountain even though I have no desire to climb the mountain. Some days I just want to give over, set them loose, and let the chips fall as they may but I know that it would result in some ugly chips in some painful places. So, off we go, zig-zagging down the road, wasting time and energy on an argument that will never be resolved.

Number 1 and Number 2 are blind to everything beyond my internal world. They can't see that growing up isn't easy for anyone. It doesn't turn out the way you expected in all of the best/worst ways possible. In the case of parenthood, you get this itch and, in order to properly scratch it, you have to make a whole new person. How could that possibly come off without a hitch? It can't. At some point every mother will have to confront a mess in her child's life, no matter how short that life is, and feel the chickens coming home to roost.

It's gotten to the point where they've forgotten why things went amiss in the first place. Number 1 remembers that R lived and she thinks that's almost as miraculous as everything that's happened in C's entire life. Number 2 remembers that R died and she just knows that that other shoe is gonna drop right on C. They can't see that all of this is really just one thing. They can't see that good and bad are also twins.

I think I'll prevail eventually. I'll amass enough evidence to convince Number 1 that we don't have to force happiness into the void that R left behind to crowd out the regret. Number 2 will glance up from the black hole of her navel and see that fretting about things beyond our control is a waste of time.

Eventually they will behave. Eventually they will believe in my motto, which, like all good mottos, comes from a Bruce Springsteen song, 'It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.'

Ideally this will happen in October.

Here's Bruce to sing you out in his full 80's glory.


  1. Wicked good. I can't figure out exactly what to say - yet - but this is wicked good.

    Layered, intricate, sharp.

    Rich, just like I knew R & C's Mom to be.

    Cathy in Missouri

    P.S. The Bureaucracy Doesn't Deserve You.

  2. I've been back to this post quite a few times now, re-reading not quite knowing what to say. Came back tonight and see that Cathy has already said it for me, wicked good. It really, really is.

    There were definitely alternate 'me's birthed when the twins were born and when G died. One who had her pleas for a miracle answered, another who's pleas were unheard, the original me is still hanging around somewhere in here with her fingers jammed firmly in her ears and then . . something else that just wants to howl and pounce on bunnies.

    I'm still hoping on my eventual transformation in a masterfully cut gem. I'm sure all that horrible twist, twist, jab and cut must have done something . . . good. Me No. 1 thinks so anyway. No. 2 would disagree, No. 3 is still not listening and No. 4 is licking her chops at the prospect of the bunnies. Sigh.

    And yes . . this is wicked good.

  3. Like Catherine I keep coming back to write something in response to this. It's so good that I don't have anything really great to add--I feel like I'd be letting my dog relieve himself on your beautifully manicured lawn. Hey, look who has a Number 2, too!

    I get so much of this. I vacillate between my Number 1 and 2 with head-spinning speed, often their perspectives coming out within seconds of each other.

    I too need a place to be a wild thing. Let me know if you find it.


  4. Yes, this is So.Freaking.True. My selves all fight with one another, and I wonder if I've developed schizophrenia or at least bipolar disorder. The blows to our identity, whether our children live or die (or one lives and one dies) are immeasurable. I wonder if others see me as being irrecognizable, the way I see myself. ~Lindsay

  5. Hah, like the others I'm back for a third read and I still can't find the words. So I'll go with "wicked good". (Thanks Cathy).
    And thanks, you.