Jump!

How do Buzzfeed Quizzes so profoundly nail the story of my life?

How do they know my zodiac sign from my favorite sex position; or that I love to eat and am also a bit of a lush because of Peter Griffin; or that this is the year I’ll quit my job based off the Australian snacks I happened to choose at random?

Seriously, this is what it said: “You’ve been sitting at the same desk, staring at the same screen blankly for far too long, and this is the year you’ll finally take action! Out with the old, in with the new.”

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Subversive park rangers, national heroes

Rogue National Park Accounts Emerge on Twitter Amid Social Media Gag Orders.

The headline, alone, gives me hope.

The First Amendment is the cornerstone of what makes America great, and it’s beautiful to see these freedoms being upheld. In fact, maybe Trump–with his ironic platform and backwards ideals and misguided crusade against the very founding principles that distinguish our United States from the wider world–will, in fact, serve to unite us.

Maybe we needed to be grabbed by the pussy, these cold and chilling threats to our democracy the unexpected glue that will band us together in ways that transcend politics and bond us in the indestructible beauty of our nation’s moral fiber.

Maybe that’s the audacity of hope. That we are great because we are good. That our destiny will be written by us, not for us.

Feeling anxious

Still haven’t heard back from the Times, or the other job, or Little Jay Z.

Little A has been battling a stomach bug since Saturday.

My deadline is this week, and I’m just barely making it.

A meeting at work was moved from yesterday to Friday, and it happens to coincide with Little A’s school play.

We’re down to one car because I killed the other by driving 6,000 miles without an oil change.

I still haven’t made Mr. D’s Christmas present.

I am slacking miserably at my bridesmaids duties.

I fucked up the Flat Stanley project for Big A.

I’m back to writing essays in my head, and they’re not even very good.

On the plus side, I think Little A is getting better, and I’m sleeping well, and I’ve gone for a run two days in a row, and I know that if I just do good work, everything will be okay. Just need to feed the good wolf and remind myself to “live a wonderful life and know it.”

I’m a bad friend

This is the start of an essay for a longer day, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about. Mostly because of my last essay on Gwyneth.

“Well, it’s not like she’ll ever see it,” Mr. D said after I posted it.

“No, she might,” I replied. “She knows about the blog.”

An hour passed. I felt anxious about letting my bitch flag fly so flagrantly.

“Do you think she’d be offended,” I asked Mr. D.

“Probably.”

I thought about it for a minute more. “Well, it’s not like we’re good friends. Plus I ruin friendships all the time.”

Mr. D laughed. “And now you know why.”

 

Mommy bloggers are arrogant

I’m obsessed with my high school Gwyneth Paltrow. I think she probably likes it that way.

Gwyneth bakes cayenne and white cheddar mac and cheese casserole with sautéed garlic and caramelized onions, roasted broccoli and a breadcrumb topping. And she “pretty much invented the whole thing as [she] went along. And it was ridiculously scrumptious.”

She asks, “Have YOU locked your kids out of the room on a Sunday morning lately?” before adding a winky emoticon and a #doeet hashtag.

Last Thanksgiving, she and her husband and their kids biked through four miles of lava field at sunset and hiked over another half mile of it to sit on the coast, on the edge of a sea cliff, and watch the lava pour into the ocean. Biking home in the dark with headlamps capped off the adventure, and when they finally got in at 9pm, they put a pizza in the oven and all passed out before it had time to cool. Her iPhone pics “definitely couldn’t do it justice,” but that didn’t stop her from posting 15 photos and an intentionally misspelled #Thanksgivin hashtag.

I relish in the sanctimony, in the not-so-humble humblebrags. I’m a glutton for all things Gwyneth, and I hate-follow her even when I quit social media and surreptitiously log on under Mr. D’s account.

She is at once everything I despise about mommy blogs (the irony is not lost on me) and everything I wish I could be.

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Cake bukaki makes me sad

We used to own the book 102 Dalmatians, and it was one of Big A’s favorites. We would read it all the time a few years back, one of those fleeting childhood fixations I had forgotten all about it until Saturday morning, as my stoner hands scrolled absentmindedly through the kid’s section of HBO Go.

“That one!” Little A cried, and navigated my cursor to not 101 Dalmatians, but it’s sequel.

“Are you sure you don’t want to watch the first movie instead,” I asked, and she remained adamant.

That one.

So on went 102 Dalmatians, and off to the kitchen I sauntered. I paid the movie only half an inebriated mind as I pottered around the house, but during one particularly evil exchange, I looked at the television and declared my hate for Cruella de Vil. I gasped as the word escaped my lips, and backpedaled. “I shouldn’t have said that,” I told Big A, preemptively, expecting her to call me out.

“You can say the H word,” she said. “Oh… but you used it on a person.”

I could almost hear the wheels turning in her brain as she thought about it more. “Well,” she conceded, “Cruella is trying to kill the puppies.”

“Yeah,” I said, as I picked up some fallen toys, “She’s just a bad person.”

I felt wrong saying it.

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The altar of insecurity

No ceilings, motherfucker, good morning.

Dick in your mouth while you’re yawning, I’m going in.

That’s been stuck in my head all morning. Maybe because I woke up and gave Mr. D a beej. Then I asked if he wanted to smoke a morning bowl with me, which is something I never do, but I hadn’t smoked all week and figured, “Fuck it, it’s Saturday,” so now I’m high and Mr. D is the sober one.

Or maybe I’m not high anymore. It’s been, like, three hours. I made pancakes, watched a weird bukaki scene in a Disney movie, did the dishes, had a “red light, green light” dance party with the kiddos. Brainstormed possible essay topics on the relationship between ambition and arrogance, and then another about how the bukaki scene was really a metaphor for feminism and taking the hate our of your heart for the sake of your fart-crack. (The A’s invented that word yesterday, and it’s my new favorite. Superthathu must be wiping a heavenly tear with pride).

In my stoner reveries, I thought about how we all worship different gods and how I don’t want to worship at the altar of the God of Technology. That I love the gods of sex and food and love and intelligence. I think my love of education comes from the belief that god exists in knowledge.

My mother used to make me pray if my foot ever touched paper, and even as a child, I knew there was divinity in the written word, in books. That they carried knowledge, and therefore power.

Obama wrote Dreams from my Father when he was 33. He is a beautiful writer. He would have been brilliant in any career.

Tina Fey has been offered mother of the year awards by working-mom groups and mommy magazines, and she declines because “How could they possibly know if I’m a good mother? How can any of us know until the kid is about thirty-three and all the personality dust has really settled?”

That’s what’s so magical about 33, I think. It’s an age of coming into one’s own. With confidence.

Is arrogance perhaps a manifestation of insecurity? Does confidence radiate, while arrogance takes away?

My parents don’t read my blog. They know about it, and they knew I was a writer when I was in seventh grade. They still have my first essay. But they don’t read my writing.

I’ve always believed that if there was something I couldn’t tell them, then it must be something bad or illicit or wrong. I didn’t tell them about the holiday party. And they’re in India now, so I can’t even talk to them about the job offers and all of the work-related questions that have me wallowing and pining. I don’t know if they’d think I’m too brazen, too dangerously subversive… Or if they’d trust me.

Is Lil Wayne wrong for saying he’s the best to ever do it, motherfucker, he knows it, no ceilings, got dammit, now the fuckin’ sky showing, uh? Was Ariel wrong for wanting more than life beyond the ocean floor? How much more are we allowed to want?

On second thought, maybe I am still high.

What’s on the other side?

I wonder. I imagine all of the people we loved are there, waiting for us.

I bet the other side isn’t as exciting.

I bet it’s more peaceful.

The most powerful, even over Zeus, were the three goddesses of destiny. “They were the three Fates, and they decided how long a mortal would live and how long the rule of the gods should last.” Clotho spun the thread of life, Lachesis measured it, Atropos cut it at the end.

Thathu used to wear a thread. He lived to be 92.

“You know what Drake says,” I asked Big A in Colorado.

My then-five-year-old  rolled her eyes. “No, mom. What does Drake say?”

“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.”

That was when we were still in the hotel. It looked so grey and miserable, but flowers don’t need jackets in the rain, as Little A pointed out. Then we hiked up the mountain, cutting straight up like a dollar sign.

All we have is time.

Mr. D, would you move with me to Hawaii?

Super Thathu

Thathu, my grandfather, has been ready to “pack off and go” for decades, his morbid fascination with death just part of his 92-year-old charm.

Back when he was healthy enough to make the days-long flight from India to the US, he would sit on the sofa with our mutt beside him, pondering which of the two would “win the race.” Not sure what exactly he meant, but our dog died 11 years ago.

He likes to wrap up in a blanket and moan, “Yenna mo pandra da.” (“Something is happening to me.”)

His children describe him as a crafty old man who always gets his way. He has no qualms resorting to blackmail.

When he came to Minnesota to meet his youngest grandchild in 1991, he spent a few hours alone with the crying baby before threatening to jump in the lake.

He once screamed, “You’ve given me AIDS” in the middle of the hospital ward, as terrified patients wondered what the fuck was going on. My grandfather didn’t/doesn’t have AIDS.

He hates all religion and thinks Islam is a scam. Upon being introduced to his daughter’s pious Pakistani friends, he offered some unorthodox advice: “I tell my children, ‘You’ve left behind a shit place.’ But you’ve left behind a shittier place. Now that you’re in America, forget all this non-alcoholic nonsense you learned in Karachi.”

Thathu could toss ’em back.

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