Friday, October 28, 2005

Someone else's money well spent

Let's not speak of moving day (sunday), Baseline work (due Monday), and various things keeping me from being ready for either of those things. Let's talk about Pea and NannyJo.

So, it's hard for me to comprehend that other people aren't as devoted to the lil people they watch as I am. Devotion is definitely the right word here, I believe, because I'm one of very few nannies following Pea around the playground so she can attempt stairs and slides and whatnot, one of the few who picks up the baby at random moments to sing a song or kiss her hair, one of the very few who TALKS to the baby constantly.

On the one hand, I can understand all levels of caregiving I see. I realize that I'm not seeing people at their absolute best at all times. I realize that they consider my brand of nannying a sort of hyper-vigilant, anxiety-ridden fakery. I realize that they don't know how relaxed I am, generally, and how much I enjoy myself in Pea's company.

This is all to say that I'm beginning to love our music class, because I'm beginning to feel at ease. It's so nice to see the same moms/nannies/dads/babies from week to week, to lean back in their presence, watch the kids do what they do, help them here and there, interact with adults, etc. It's especially nice for me because I don't feel quite so unique in that setting. The class forces everyone to be alert and participatory, like I usually am (after 11am or so, that is). It forces everyone to notice and enjoy the alien life of babyhood. I get a chance to show Pea off a bit, show myself off a bit, glean information from other people.

It's totally worth Miriam's $200.00.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Morning person my ass

I had to be at Pea's house a full hour earlier today. Please allow my earlier poetic waxings of camp nostalgia to conflate with the episode below:

This morning I woke up before any of my roommates, which is a feat. Jake gets up mighty early to work demolition or the early valet shift at the Ritz. Today was his day off, and I hoped my face-washing wouldn't wake him or his bladder. I had already determined not to take a shower, afraid I'd be tired enough to try to shave my eye or something as strange.

I heard someone bumping around over the sound of the water. I prayed it wasn't Becca, because she has the tendency to knock on the door while I'm in the bathroom and attempt full philisophical conversations through the door. Things like, "How long do you think you'll be?" My reply is an audible, "Go the fuck away!" But really, if I were less inhibited, I believe I'd say, "Hmm. How long have any of us BEEN? Are we here at all? These are all good questions."

Anyway, I think she's been suitably trained by now and didn't knock on the door. All the better for her.

Dressing for the day, I tried to imagine how I could possibly get my breakfast without sharing air with Becca. Y'see, it's partially because I hate EVERYBODY in the morning. People are so repulsive before the sun's up, aren't they? I harbor a more specific hatred for the way Becca operates in the world. To narrow the focus once more, I hate the way she operates in the kitchen.

As I tried, and failed, to invisibly slip to my pantry, the fridge, and the spoon drawer, Becca managed to position herself in exactly the wrong place for each movement. Now, when other people are holding a box of cereal, a bowl full of it, and a jug of milk, you might think to yourself, "Aha! That girl means to EAT that cereal! She may need an implement of some kind. Saaay, I'm right here by the spoon drawer. I could supply the spoon myself! Or, since I'm feeling a little lazy, I could just move myself out of the way. Zip! The way is cleared."

This is not how Becca operates. She stands there. Her mouth is moving. It's too early for me to know what she's saying. Something about an exterminator? Who is she calling at this time of day? Is that MY phone? And how has she dirtied four bowls within the ten minutes of wakefulness she's had in the kitchen?

I approach the drawer from the side. She's still yapping. I lunge. Useless. The path is blocked. She's talking. What is she talking about?

"... and I can't believe Stan sent a landscaper guy to kill the bushes instead of sending someone to rip up the carpet. Like we needed the bushes trimmed! I sent him that email... Oh yeah, I CC'd it to you... saying that we had to have something done about the carpet or I'm calling the Board of Health and I said that we needed to hear from him by this Friday or else..."


"... yah?"

"I don't speak English before... what time is it?" The clock read 5 past 7. I couldn't formulate the words, proving my point. "Before hours from nowish."






I think that's what happened. But I was tired. I could have dreamed it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

But here's the thing...

He pours us Apple Jacks with marshmallows. No milk, spoons optional. When my small helping is gone he lets me grab a few of his, making a fake fuss about it. He bought two boxes of the stuff because it goes perfectly with his season 1 DVDs of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He allows my hero worship of Patrick Stewart. We briefly discuss how Worf managed to keep his mad Klingon Skillz despite the fact that he was raised among peace-lovin' humans. (This is not a fact we both happen to know; we're not that bad. It's in the episode.)

In the middle of the night, he rolls over, curls his legs under mine. If I don't scootch back, he pulls me in tight with one arm across my body. Even if I DO scootch, he still pulls a little, holding me close for a second.

It's all part of the illusion, of course, but such a comfortable illusion it is...


I got a cell phone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Big U has two new roommates. I guess the bedbugs drove everyone out. He's never had them in his room and couldn't manage a move with grad school and work. He moved to the room on the end last time people moved around. This room has blinds and the lightbulb is covered. It's a fitting shade of blue, like all of his sweaters and button-down shirts.

The roommates are girls and I will never meet them. Why should I meet them? I should never see him again, right?

But I'm comfortable in that room. On Sunday night we entered it like royals retiring from the throne room, all the pressures of the public left behind somewhere. I always check for new things, as I do when I go home to El Victoir. I was so tired from my train ride, so annoyed with myself for being there, so hugely in need of any kind of reassurance that I didn't have time to take it all in. I attacked him with a kiss. He countered.

So I didn't notice the little sign above his computer desk. Rather, the computer he uses for email, internet, all those things - not the one he uses specifically for gaming (ugh!). Lying in bed, squirmy with latent energy, he babbled about things while I somehow got my lips to form words in a smushy way through the pillow. One of the things he said... I was sure it was a joke.

"See that there?"
"My eyes are closed."
"Well open them. Look."

I followed his pointing finger to the sign on the wall. I'm nearsighted at the best of times, so you can imagine how useless this excercise was. The thing was just a rectangular piece of paper on the wall.

"What's it say?" I mumbled.
"It says, 'Sleeping with Jo is very bad.'"
"It does not."
"It does, too."
"Why would it... Why would you... It doesn't. You're trying to get me out of bed."
"It does!"
"Well I'm not getting up."
"I don't want you to."
"Why did you..."
"Because it IS bad, isn't it? I mean, it's not BAD, it's just not a good idea."
"Hmph. It doesn't say that."
"It does."

Monday morning came early after a sleepless night. Sleepless, I say, not because of any extra doses of reassurance, but because I kept finding myself staring at that damn sign, wondering if it really said what he said it saidy said. And then I'd look at him, the way his face goes all babyish when he sleeps on his side. Why would you do that, Mr. Man? Mr. Boy, really. Men don't do things like this, even suggest things like this. Doesn't matter, I told myself. He didn't really make a sign. He's teasing.

It was easy enough to check on my way to the shower. I didn't. Back in the room I still didn't look. He rolled over under the covers and mumbled something. I stared at the rug for a moment and then finally turned around.

Sleeping with Jo


Except he underlined "very bad."

What should I have done then? Screamed at him? Punched him in the neck? Fallen down in a prolonged fit of sobs?

"Wow. It DOES say that."
"Told you it did."

I dressed and went over to the bed. I used to shake my head so he'd get a cold shower from my hair.

"If you hang out for, like, ten minutes, I'll walk you to the door."
"Lucky me."
"Hang out."
"Kay. Move over."

He wiggled under the covers, sliding to the cool side of the bed. I lay down on top of the comforter, my wet hair soaking the pillowcase, his body warmth seeping up through the blankets. His eyes were closed, and I closed mine for while, measuring my breaths.

Those lines from James slipped into my head uninvited.

"These wounds are all self-imposed.
Life's no disaster."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Heedless Breaker

Back from El Victoir. Damaged as usual. Everything to say, no way to say it. I'm so tired of being misread. I'm tired of people's assumption that I haven't tried optimism.

Lately I've been repeating myself when I answer a question or tell a story. It's this bizarre tic-like thing that I only notice sometimes, and sometimes other people bring it to my attention with their frustration. Even as I do it I feel ashamed, childish, like I'm trying to force the words into other people's ears in some violent, violating act. If I just say it AGAIN you have to HEAR it you have to HEAR it you have to HEAR it. It's most disturbing because it's an audible proof of some of the weirdness in my brain. I hate letting people have access to that part of me.

Just one more strike against me in the battle for control.

Monday, October 10, 2005

A heartbreaking victory

By the way...

Lil Pea cried on Friday when I left her at her aunt's house to catch my plane. I hugged her, kissed her temple, set her down. She zoomed off into another room, then turned just in time to see me heading out the door. Her eyes got huge and her face turned red and she ran toward me. Her aunt grabbed her and held her by the window so I could wave to her.

"Bye Sweet Pea! Bye, my love!"

She bawled, her mouth wide open, frantic tears running down her face, body contorted to reach to me.

I can't deny that I had some mistiness myself. It was partly sympathetic, and partly a huge emotion from the proof of her reliance on me. How will I ever leave this baby?

Leavin' on a jet plane

Tom and Sara drove me to the airport. Sara got out because Tom's new car is a coupe - she gave me a hug on her way to the front seat. I didn't think Tom would get out, but he did. He walked around the car to give me a hug.

"Have a good trip, Jo."
"I will. Thanks for driving me." Still hugging me...
"It was good to see you." Let go. Let go.
"Good to see you, too." He lets go, I grab my bag and sling it over my shoulder.
He hugs me again. "We'll see you soon, I hope."
"Yeah." Let go. Let go. "Maybe Christmas."

It's funny how it works. Smacks and Cripps have this hero worship for Tom, wanting so badly to fit into his life somehow, to understand him, to draw him closer. And Tom... I just got it today. Tom needs my approval. He needs SOMEthing from me, and this huge discomfort I feel comes from the onus of that need. Is it a kind of hero worship?

More likely it's the same desperation I feel. How can this family be so... unseaworthy? What the hell can any of us do to fix it?

And why am I so unwilling?

Friday, October 07, 2005

News for your blues

The party was not disastrous. I got to hang out with a French kid who plays guitar and likes tequila shots and smells reassuringly like fresh tobacco. (And then he made out with Becca. HA!) More importantly, I got to see some people I get really excited about and never see - Dana and Matt, Jim, Brendan... People who make me feel comfortable in my own skin, people who always have something interesting to tell me. I love it.

Alas, the Housewarming Party was a sham. (Ben took to calling it a House Cooling Party.) I've been looking at apartments. I found one I like, now it's a question of who likes me. The place I found is $40 cheaper, one roommate fewer, heat included, in much better shape overall, no apparent freaks living therein. While I met one of the girls there was a jam session across the courtyard; sax, bass, drums, piano, pure jazz. It was like a beacon calling me home.

That girl better like me.

A miscellany of events in no particular order:

Roomie Jake asked me if I've ever thrown a sex toy party. Is that a pick up line?

Pea and I went to tot music class, and she was by far the most active baby, stealing maracas and strumming the guitar without invitation. I miss her less mobile days.

I've been weirdly reckless this week, agreeing to blind dates, drinking cider before seeing apartments, throwing my laundry willy-nilly about the room (WILD, JoBiv! Settle the hell down!). Figured it out - it's because I'm going home today. I have a track record of pre-parental-visit recklessness. It used to involve Uly.

Chorus and choir have been trying. Bach has this funny way of changing the notes on ya every time you close the book. Bastard. That's the Brookline Chorus - very challenging, interesting people, more time spent gabbing at breaks and before rehearsals with people my age. Community Choir is a shambles. I've been considering bringing a straw to choir so I can shoot spitwads at the director.

Got three freelance projects done so far; lots of money coming my way. Maybe I can pay last year's taxes now.

Last night, while waiting for the 66 bus (total wait time: 45 min.), a skinny kid on a bike zoomed past. Our eyes caught. He skidded to a halt. "John!" "JoBiv!" "Whoaaa..." He was a friend from SBU, a boyfriend of a friend who went a lil psychotic on me. As I told him last night, he was one of the few people I could stand at Bona's. He lives in Allston. We didn't exchange numbers.

I feel so broke up. Don't wanna go home.