Chatting with Lexi: On Getting Up

It wasn’t my fault. I swear. It didn’t matter what it was, or if anyone had even scolded me about it by that point, I was in defensive mode. Because, sooner or later, everything would come back to me in some way, shape, or form, and I had to be ready. Not that being ready did me any good. My mom was still always at least 3 steps ahead of me when it came to everything I ever did, or was going to do.

I still have no clue how she did it.

The life of a 13-year-old is tough. They go through so many changes, both physically and emotionally. Their brains are processing information at a frantic rate, so no wonder we see them as paranoid bundles of energy. I never quite understood this until Lexi turned 13 this year, and boy, am I understanding it now! Funny how things do come full circle. My mom told me this about 3 steps ago, and I am just catching up now.

I hate when she’s right.

A few days ago I tried to wake Lexi up, to get the day going. It was the weekend, which is prime sleep time for any self-respecting 13-year-old (“Like, seriously, Dad!”), but after 10 am all bets are off. In my book anyway. Apparently, not in the Book of Lexi. Continue reading “Chatting with Lexi: On Getting Up”

Labeled

I often think about all the labels I wear, or have worn, over the years. First there was “son,” a dubious one indeed because I had no control over it. Indeed, I didn’t even really know it existed on a conscious level until I had been one for quite some time. I remember my mother leaning over me to tuck me into bed one time, and thinking: I’m her son.

Then there was “brother,” which has been with me just as long as son. I don’t know my life in any kind of context when I wasn’t a brother, when I didn’t have someone else who shared my experience growing up in that house. And we were close at times, while not at others. We battled for space, for time, for pretty much whatever spoils could have existed. That was the life of being a brother.

Next I guess you could add “neighbor” to the list, though I was a poor one. We lived a pretty sheltered existence, but there were others on the block who I connected with from time to time (large expanses of time between the connections). These boys and girls always seemed alien to me, like some kind of extra-terrestrials who lived completely different lives even though we lived right next door. Continue reading “Labeled”

What Brown Can’t Do

The slogan for UPS used to be “What can Brown do for you?” and I think of it every time I sit here trying to be a zen master, trying not to use every swear word I know to describe the brown truck and the clueless driver who can’t find my house.

Warning: Rant coming.

We live rural. And with that comes a lot of adjustments that have to be made. We have to drive half an hour to get to some semblance of civilization (i.e. the nearest Walmart). We have to commute half an hour to get to our respective jobs. And we live on a road that claims to be in Poland but is actually in Newport.

Hence lies our troubles with UPS (apparently FedEx can find us, no problem).

They just can’t seem to find our house. Time and again we’ve ordered things online and they just haven’t been able to make their way to us. Just before Christmas I had an amazing present for my wife coming through UPS, and the truck drove down our road but didn’t stop at our house. I saw it. It passed right by, slowly, but our driveway is very long, and it was impossible to get him to notice me shouting from the garage doorway. Continue reading “What Brown Can’t Do”

Unfinished

When you run a part of the relay and pass on the baton, there is no sense of unfinished business in your mind. There is just the sense of having done your part to the best of your ability. ~ N.R. Narayana Murthy

I’m not a runner. I really never have been, though I did run from bullies when I was in elementary school. For a while I ran around my neighborhood, too, until loose dogs made me stop. Or at least that was my excuse for stopping. That’s pretty much it.

But I’m a big fan of the Olympics. I watch the runners go around the track, and I envy them. I love the relay because each runner goes all out for only a quarter of the race, but that’s it. That’s their job. It will forever be unfinished for them.

The baton is the only part of the relay that completes the entire cycle.

It’s something I think about a lot, the idea of trusting in others to get something finished that I’ve started. Continue reading “Unfinished”

Not the Swearing Kind

He had Tourette’s, but not the swearing kind. In fact, if you didn’t know him very well you wouldn’t even suspect he had any issues. If you looked closely, however, you might notice the trembling in his right hand, the clicking of his tongue slamming repetitively against the back of his teeth, or even the twitching of his left eyebrow in time with some hidden drummer in his head. It was at once both familiar and reassuring, but also supremely frustrating to him. It had only caused him real trouble twice in his life: the one time when he accidentally voted for Jill Stein, and the other when he wet himself at the urinal at City Hall. Both times had been quite embarrassing. He had vowed not to let either one happen again.

He was a tour guide at the Museum of Modern Art, one of the fifty white-jacketed walking encyclopedias of the history of painting, with some sculptural knowledge on the side. When he was on his feet, using his hands to gesture at the works on the walls, he sometimes forgot the shaking that consumed him at all other times of the day. It was as if the motion lulled his brain into a sense of comfort that nothing else could. He wished he were able to bottle that feeling and keep it with him all day long, but he knew it was as impossible as Easter on the Fourth of July. Continue reading “Not the Swearing Kind”

The Tone & Timbre

My father called here this morning. Why does he have such a hold over me? I hadn’t heard his voice in 6 months, and yet the tone, the timbre, are as familiar to me as my own, yet so foreign at the same time.

Alexa answered the phone, but she didn’t recognize him. After all, she’s only talked to him twice before. She covered the mouthpiece and asked me who he was, if she should speak with him, if it was okay. I wonder if he wants some sort of relationship with my children. He claimed he did once, but that was a dog’s age ago, and he disappeared again.

Is he back? Or was this just a Mothers’ Day surprise?

Why does he, even now, hold such sway over me, over my thoughts? I ask myself this less and less, but always when he calls again, after so much time. And I know I should make up my mind. Do I want to try and craft a relationship with him, even now, even after all this time?

Continue reading “The Tone & Timbre”

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