Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.

please note the shoes...

A few weeks ago, I had one of those days that makes you question everything. I know I've been super dramatic lately (LATELY), but since I went back to work, everything feels like crazytown. Someone always needs something, and no one seems to be getting what they need. I miss Jack, I miss Nipper Knapp, I can't stand how many bottles Charlie has already had in his little life (I know, I know, but it's how I feel). The nursing, pumping, driving, mascara, slating, smiling, driving, pumping, nursing, sleeping, oh eating, nursing, schedule is starting to tear me apart. How is it that I'm "doing it all", and still feel guilty. On this particular day we had auditions all over, and Jack was out of school, so he was along for the ride. Poor circus baby. 

We had a callback in the afternoon in Santa Monica that we couldn't take the kids too. So we had arranged to have Sadie's AMAZING babysitter, who has been helping us out a bit here and there pick up the kids in between auditions at the pizza place where we'd be having lunch. I was a little nervous. Jack doesn't really know the sitter very well, and I was worried he was going to be upset. He wasn't. I told him she had good music in her car, and he said "but daddy and I listen to DUDES music". I asked what that might be and he said "Star Wars, and Batman".  "And Tangled?" I asked. "YES, and Tangled". I burned him a cd for her car. But then I was worried about having both boys in the car with someone else, driving around LA, on the 110 freeway, eek! You know mom stuff.

I was worrying about mom stuff, talking on the phone with Sadie (on the bluetooth to the car, geez). I was stopped in traffic about halfway between Pico and Venice, on La Brea, when I saw a car speeding up behind me. Crash. Shit. I think I might have said "I'm having an accident". I don't know. It was a blur. The tail end of my car was smushed, the trunk pushed into itself, so the door won't close. The girl didn't have any id. No wallet. No purse. Nothing. Oh, and it wasn't her car. She said "can I just give you my phone number?" She was young. Sigh. No, you can't just give me your phone number. The whole time I'm standing out there talking to this twit, the headache that I'd been staving off starts to build. I'm squinting into the mid day heat, taking iphone pics of the car, the girl, her car, the plates. I'm going to be late for my callback now. I'm paying someone $18 an hour to drive my kids home so I can talk to this girl. That's the economic facts of the situation. This girl cost me at least $7 in babysitter time. I take the registration info from the owner of the car.

In the middle of it, the babysitter texts. They're home. Jack gave her directions the whole way. I'm thinking over and over how glad I am that the kids weren't in the car, their little bodies safe at home.

I meet Nipper Knapp at our callback. I hug him hard, and for a long time. I know we need to go in, but I'm stunned, and I just want to stand there on the street and hug some more. I also want to lay down a little bit. We go into the casting office. We make small talk with the casting agent and her husband. We do our scene for the director, which happens to be our house has just been robbed, no problem, I'm right there.

We had planned to try to get in early and go to the Rose Bowl to use the gym, and swim, while we had a sitter. But now, the bumper of the car is hanging off, and I'm frazzled, and it's 3:30 and we're out in Santa Monica, and it'll be an hour home anyway. "Let's just go home." "No", Nipper says, you should go swim a little, decompress, I'll go home and relieve the babysitter. I love him.

So he hauls my swim bag out of the trunk of the broken car. Up and over the backseat because the trunk door is broken. Off I go. I'm in a fog. I'm in that weird state where stress gives way to extreme sleepiness and lack of focus. I text my mom, she calls me 13 seconds later. "Are you ok?" "I'm fine". Not really though.

this doesn't haven't anything to do with this story, I just saw it, and it made me laugh. Am I the whale? Is life the whale? 

When I get to the Rose Bowl, I realize that some things fell out of my bag. I have one flip flop, and no towel. COME ON! I'm determined to have one thing progress as usual. I put on my swimsuit, tiptoe across the hot pavement, and jump in the pool. My back and neck are tight, and I can't tell if it's tension or from the accident. I swim a little, but mostly, I just float. After 20 minutes of staring at the sky, I get out.

Here's my grand plan. I'm going to shower, and then I'm going to get enough paper towels to dry my hair a little, just so it's not dripping. I'm going to put on some lotion, and air dry. It won't take long. This is my plan. We all know how well my plans have been going lately. As soon as I get in the shower I realize I'm an idiot, but it's too late. The locker room is filling with tween girls. They've just finished swim practice, and they're everywhere. There's nowhere to stand much less AIR DRY. I'm used to being there in the middle of the day with all the other jobless old ladies and hobos.

I wedge myself in between two 12 year olds. I'm naked holding my giant pink and orange LL Bean bag. You know, they're like "Uhm, gross". I would be, if it wasn't me being the weirdo. I walk over to the paper towel dispenser and it's out. Of course it is. The only other one is near the door to the pool. What are my options? Did I mention the only clothes I have to change into are my audition clothes (too tight jeans, and a halter top, electric blue clog sandals), and my workout clothes (white v-neck tee, nursing bra, grey striped cotton leggings). None of this is going to be awesome if I have to put it on wet. 

Here's what I do. Because I have apparently lost the shame particle, that should have made me wait naked in the bathroom stall until I was dry. I dry myself off with the halter top. That's right, in the middle of a throng of overachieving (swim team? c'mon) 13 year old girls, I dab myself dry with a halter top. I make every effort not to get too *ahem* personal, but god help me, I'm not gonna walk through the Rose Bowl lobby and parking lot with a wet cooter. I get mostly dry, and I wrap the halter around my hair to keep it from dripping. I'm standing there with this drenched halter turban, digging through my bag, and it's really hot in there, and I'm still a little bit damp, and I'm starting to sweat because my nervous system is shouting "FLIGHT! FLIGHT!"

Not just a little bit, I'm dying inside. I want to tell this girl next to me who has become morbidly silent amidst the other chattering girls, to "I used to be normal, just wait until you go back to work after having your second baby, extracurriculars my ass..." But I don't say anything, I just bury my shame deep behind an aloof mask and carry on. Like, this is just how I do it. Soon this is how everyone will do it. I'M DOING THIS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!!! 

The girls clear out as fast as they came in, and I'm mostly alone to finish the post swim of shame. I'm just pulling on my workout clothes, with my clogs (Maybe they'll mistake me for one of those cool/weird European women, that don't understand fashion conventions, but ends up looking "neat" anyway) (#maybeIshouldstayhome) as another rush hits the locker room. College aged lifeguards in training. Thank you god for small miracles. "I really didn't need to stand in a humid toilet stall and dry myself with tp today."

Did I mention we just asked my mom to move here for the year to help us out? Do you like how I buried the lead?


  1. You're an amazing writer. I love this article/blog.
    You blend humor, tragedy and everyday drama into a beautifully written story. Please write more.

  2. God has a dark, dark sense of humor. God is also a man. I have a lot of evidence to support both of these points. I'm adding your day to my list.