30 April 2012

All is vanity

Lately there is something different about me, and no one has noticed, so I will have to tell you: I AM NOT WEARING GLASSES!

I haven’t been able to wear contact lenses since Sacha was born six years ago. And while contacts would have been nice, it was nothing worth pining over.

But Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah was in April, for this one occasion, I really wanted to be without my glasses, without a complete lack of vision, so in January, when I went for my annual eye exam, I decided to give contacts another go. The first pair I tried had to come out immediately. The next two pairs felt fine, so the doctor sent me home with a few samples. I could tolerate neither for more than two hours. Back I went, and came home with two more pairs to try. One was no better than the first two, but the second I was able to wear for 4-5 hours, with frequent eye lubrication, before my eyeballs felt ready to leap from their sockets. But, it was long enough to get me through the affair. By this time I had tried enough brands that it would have felt caddish asking for just one more sample. As it happened, the lenses that worked for me were also considerably more expensive than the others I'd tried. And so I spent a not inconsiderable sum of money for a ninety day supply, for the privilege of wearing them for one day.

I wore them a few times in the weeks leading up to the Bat Mitzvah, to get my eyes used to them, and was never able to tolerate more than six hours. And then, two days before the affair something miraculous happened: I wore them for nine hours, without having to use eye drops once. I wore them for so long I forgot they were in my eyes. It was a miracle! I had been blind, and now I could see! And though I’d promised myself that I’d ration them because they were so expensive, I am addicted, and wearing them most every day.

So to all my friends, passing acquaintances, and strangers to whom I look familiar, the next time you run into me, with my newly naked eyes, I would appreciate your following this script:

You: Hello!
Me: Hi!
You: How have you been?
Me: Well, and you?
You: Good. You look...different. Did you change your hair?
Me: No.
You: Have you lost weight?
Me: No.
You: Oh well. I guess you’re just having an especially attractive day.
You: Oh! That’s it! Well, no wonder you look so good.
Me: Well, thank you. Do you want to have lunch?
You: Yes! Where shall we go?

02 March 2012

The tao of Sacha

Me, reading this: He tells me that God is a word.
Sacha: God isn’t a word. God is a Hebrew person.
Me: Well, we can’t really know what God is. Lots of people believe he’s not a person, and he doesn’t belong to anyone.
Sacha: God is a man!
Me: What makes you think so?
Sacha: Well, if you look at him, you can tell that he’s a man. Also, sometimes he goes invisible.  
Me: How can you look at him if he’s invisible?
Sacha: I know because it says so in the pledge - god, invisible, and justice for all.
Me: Indivisible, not invisible. Do you know what that means?
Sacha: Just read.


Me: Go sit on the steps.
Sacha: No.
Me: Now.
Sacha: I don't want to!
[Sacha sits.]
Sacha: I don't want to sit on the steps! It's not fair!
[Me, going about my business.]
Sacha: You're not listening to me! I'm telling the truth!
Me: I’m sure you are. You’re still not getting up until you settle down.


Me: TV time’s over. 
[I turn off television.]
Sacha: Hey! Don't do that.
Me: I just did.
Sacha: Never do that!
[I leave the room.]
Sacha: New rule. Never turn off the tv. Without asking. A kid for permission first. I just made that up.


Me: Sacha, pick up the cards.
[Sacha continues to play.]
Me: Sacha, pick up the cards!
[Sacha continues to play.] 
Me: Sacha!Sacha: I’m not your servant. Sheesh.
Me, silently snickering: Go to your room.
Sacha, on way up stairs: Ah, finally, I get to rest!
[I pick up the cards myself, while Sacha plays happily in his room.]

17 August 2011

Put your rage on the page

Toward the end of the school year, Sacha had a particularly bad day at school, during which he accidentally clocked his teacher in the chin hard enough to send her to the doctor midday, after she forcibly brought him to the sink to make him wash his hands. 

In my completely unobjective opinion, the bitch had in coming, but that is a story for another day. For now, suffice it to say, it does not take a military tactician to point out that if you find yourself embroiled in a power struggle with a hyperactive, oppositional five year-old, you’d best step down, as experience has taught me that you will always come out on the losing end of that showdown.

Sacha was feeling pretty bad about himself, and I was feeling drained from soothing his addled nerves, and so, when we got to the pool, I let him go to the shuffleboard court on his own. I wanted a little time to myself, and instead of checking on him at my usual 5-minute intervals, I stretched it to 10 minutes. When I did check on him I watched him from the edge of the court — see ticking time bombs, sleeping dogs, etc., —  and from my vantage point, he seemed to be playing happily with a bunch of kids.

Twenty peaceful minutes later, a lifeguard brought my screaming child to me, explaining that he’d been interfering in people’s games. I apologized to the lifeguard, and attempted to comfort my extremely low-frustration tolerant son. I gave him the requisite talk about not disrupting people's games, but my heart wasn’t quite in it, because I knew it was really my fault.

I spent the rest of the afternoon limping around the pool with Sacha clinging to my leg screaming. I was in this position when a woman approached me. "Excuse me," she said, "is that your son?" I took this to be a rhetorical question, what with the clinging and screaming and the strong familial resemblance, but nonetheless, I answered, “Yes.”

“Could you please watch him on the shuffleboard court?” she asked.
“I know; I’m so sorry; the lifeguard told me. I was checking on him, but clearly I didn’t get close enough to see what was happening, and I read the situation wrong.”

“He really shouldn’t be left alone there,” she continued, “He was very disruptive.”
“I’m really sorry,” I said.
“He kept messing up my daughter's game. He kept moving the puck around, and changing the scoreboard. He made it impossible to for us to play.”

At this point, I started to lose my temper. My brain said, “Look, second bitch I have encountered today, you should put on your listening ears, because I have just said, ‘My bad.' Twice." I have taken responsibility for my son’s actions, and social convention dictates that no matter how pissed off at me you are, and perhaps rightly so, you should, at this point, graciously accept my apology and go on to resent me for the rest of your life, if you like.”

Instead, I repeated, with all the politeness I could muster, “I am terribly sorry, and as you see, my son also feels pretty awful too.”

With that, I hobbled off on my screaming peg leg. I think it is safe to say it was not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

02 August 2011

Asshole alert

Some people have fine-tuned gaydar — which in this day and age, is really not that impressive. I, on the other hand, have exquisitely honed assholedar, and lately I've been attracting them like a magnet. I could tell many stories of encounters I've had lately, and perhaps for the remainder of the summer I will make this a regular feature, but for now, consider the following:

We recently got a new car insurance policy, and I had to bring our car in to a designated photo-inspection facility. I called in advance to see when was a good time to come, and was told to show up at an appointed hour. I arrived promptly, and announced myself to a mechanic, who told me to wait in the office for his boss. Although the boss wasn't busy, he scowled at me and kept me waiting for ten minutes before he began inspecting my car.

Boss: Pull up over here.

[I pulled up over here, parked my car, and got out.]

Boss: No; pull up here. [Nods head 3 feet ahead of where I pulled up.]

[I got back in the car, and pulled up here.]

Boss glowered his way through the inspection. When he finished, we had the following exchange:

Boss: Do you know your front tire needs to be replaced?

Me: Yes, I do. It's on my list.

Boss: You know that tire could blow?

Me: Yes, I do.

Boss: I see you travel with babies in the car.

Me, internal monologue: That is technically untrue, although I can see why you would make that assumption, because I do have one car seat in the car. But since I don't want to give you any information about my personal life, I will let this slide.

Me, aloud: Yes, I do.

Boss scowled his way though the paperwork and dismissed me. As I got into my car to leave, Boss said, "You really should replace that tire."

Me: I know. I'm going to.

Me, internal monologue: Can you shut the fuck up already?

Boss: I would hate for to injure someone, or kill yourself, or your babies.

Me, aloud: Thank you!

Me, internal monologue: Thank you, asshole, for pointing out to me what I've already acknowledged that I know. I agree that it is of paramount importance to replace the tire. I am so sorry that I am a busy woman with three children, and, seeing as it's summer, a great deal less free time on my hands. Thank you so much for continuing to berate me and show me the error of my ways. I appreciate your concern for my "babies," and for every other sentient being on the road who I am endangering, and thank you for pointing out that I have no concern for my own children, life, or human welfare. In departing, let me add that if you have miraculously managed to find a mate and procreate, I pity your family for having to endure your domineering, authoritarian manner and passive-aggressive communication style, to say nothing of your poor listening skills. I also thank you for acting like you are doing me a favor by inspecting my car, which, while I am not personally paying you to do, you are being suitably compensated for by my insurance company. May your business continue to thrive and prosper!

18 July 2011

Department of minor complaints


There is a man I see everyday when I drop Sarah and Gabriel off at camp. He has two children in the same classes as them, and we often wind up walking the halls together from one room to the next, chatting pleasantly about nothing.

The other day as I was driving away after drop-off, a car began to pull out in front of me, setting us on a slow motion collision course. I issued a light warning honk and swerved. But the driver ignored me, peeled out and cut me off. I looked over to see who this asshole was, and IT WAS MY HALLWAY FRIEND. I’m pretty sure he saw me too, because the following day, as we passed in the hall, our smiles were significantly less friendly, and there was no idle chit-chat. I took this as a sign that he was either ashamed to have been outed as an asshole, or more likely, had hardened into a self-righteous stance in order hide from himself the fact that he is an asshole. Either way, he shall heretofore be known to me as Mr. Not-As-Nice-as-I-Initially-Thought.


Camp policy requires that parents sign their children in to class every day. I can understand this in a pre-school, or on the first day of camp, when children may not know where they’re going. But at this point, Sarah and Gabriel have seven years combined classroom finding experience, and they have a one-hundred percent success rate. I am decidedly in the pro-autonomy, anti-helicopter parenting camp, so boo to you, Working Advantage, for making my children take a small step back.


1. There have been several times in the past few weeks when I have used public restrooms, and the person in the stall next to me has left without washing their hands. It’s kind of interesting, in a social experiment way, to see the gap between self-reporting and compliance in action. I would like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume that if they’re not turning on the faucet, it’s because they carry their own bottle of hand-sanitizer. But still, as I tell my children, SOAP ALWAYS FOR NUMBER TWO. So for the sake of appearances, fellow bathroom going compatriots, couldn’t you at least turn on the faucet for a few seconds? I would be none the wiser, and it would make me feel a whole lot better.

2. Single occupancy restrooms in which the toilet is directly across from the sink, over which there is a large mirror, are an exceptionally poor design choice. The large mirror is good for fixing yourself up, but unless you scope out the joint in advance, and then remember the layout when you’re done with your business, you have the unfortunate experience of watching yourself wipe. I’m sure there are some fetishists out there who find this erotic, but I suspect, like me, the general populace does not.

On the other hand, props to single occupancy restrooms for allowing people to not wash their hands in privacy.