Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Make Your Life Super Difficult

Writing, Storytelling, HumorI've been thinking a lot lately about how I always take the long way around. And not in the cool, off-the-beaten-path Dixie Chicks kind of way. No, no, no. In the effing infuriating, why-can't-I-just-get-a-grip kind of way. The pluck-your-eyeballs-out-of-your-head-from-exhaustion kind of way. It's my specialty.

I've also been thinking about something a writer-acquaintance said about "mommy blogging." That we are all trying to find some kind of UNIVERSAL message. Something that can go viral and get picked up by the Huffington Post. No one is just telling her story anymore, for the intrinsic value in the story and in the telling.

But that's not why we started writing, is it? For page views and high fives?

I wrote the post below in August 2012, mere weeks after I began blogging. It's a simple story about my family and how brilliant I am at making things difficult. Enjoy.


This is my corgi, Hudson: 

Urban Moo Cow
I updated the photo to a more recent one. He's so cute, right?
He has become insanely neurotic. Things he is afraid of include, in no particular order: swimming in water, driving in cars, going through doorways, the Swiffer, the vacuum, my Medela breast pump and anything that squirts out of a nozzle.

Of these, the only one that makes sense is swimming. When Hudson was eight months old, Rayne decided it would be brilliant to teach him to swim by tossing him into my parents' pool where I was waiting. As I lunged for him, Little Hudsy rose to the surface in a frantic fit of desperate doggy paddling and has never recovered.

I've tried many, many times to get him back in the water, even submerging my body in a small, warm, undoubtedly pee-filled dog therapy pool in downtown Manhattan. Hudson spent the entire time clawing at my body until he was up on my shoulder, clinging to my scalp for dear life. The place refunded my money. The whole experience was awesome and not at all embarrassing or revolting.

Let's just say that Rayne won't be taking the same approach with Henry. {Ed. note: Oh, no, he has not. He has NOT.}

But I digress.

This weekend we had plans to go to Boston for our friends’ son’s second birthday party. In the past, I might have left Hudson alone in our apartment for the one night and arranged for a dog walker. But I have a good deal of dog-mommy guilt about how unhappy Hudson has been since Henry arrived and we turned his world upside down by moving.

So in a bid to make my life extremely difficult, I found a friend to watch him. A friend who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, at least two hundred thousand miles from my apartment in Brooklyn, metaphorically speaking.

“Okay where are we dropping Hudson off?” Rayne asked as we were piling the stroller, two pieces of luggage, the diaper bag, the Pack-and-Play, Henry, Henry’s binky, Hudsy, Hudsy’s bag o’ tricks and our already-exhausted selves into the car. He was not mega-psyched about my response.

“Let’s take the Brooklyn Bridge and go south on the FDR, around the horn. We’ll zip right up the West Side Highway,” I offered unhelpfully (as it turned out).

After over two hours in the car, we were not yet to the dog's weekend destination. Hudson was apoplectic from having been in the car so long; Henry was waking from a nap. Boston was another five hours away according to our GPS and another six according to Google Maps. We were going to miss the birthday party. And our friends, who had just brought home a new baby, were unlikely to want to split a few bottles of wine with us into the wee hours.

Rayne parked the car in a tow zone on Broadway in the 70s, where we sat while eating take-out mediocrity from a Euro-pan cafĂ©. He was furious, which he seldom is. “Our life is complicated enough. Why can’t we make decisions that make it simpler?!”

I didn’t have an answer. Taking the long way has always been my specialty. I walk the fine line between “doing (what I think is) the right thing, even if it’s harder” and “being compulsively stubborn.”

We drove an hour home, for a final tally of nearly four hours in the car. And a net total of zero miles traveled.



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