Monday, August 20, 2012


The kids went back to school today and appropriately for my mood it's overcast and fuggy. It used to be the start of the school year was an enlivening time for me - apples, sweaters, sharp pencils and new classes - but the past two or three years it's leaned more toward sober and pensive, with perhaps a big dollop of self pity (on which I am trying to cut back, so bear with me). Today I am definitely feeling sober and pensive, with occasional dips into the black bile. Just dipping the toe, though. Rather than bolt into white-hot rage when, say, some unmemorable lawmaker says something breathtakingly stupid and cruel (That's what unmemorable lawmakers do, I remind myself sternly. It's like painting their drab house pink in the hope that it will stand out from the 90,000 other drab little houses on the market), I just get irritable. Rather than feel weepy and mournful on a morning when my son starts middle school, I just make him an honorary First Cup of Coffee (sweet, and half cream - I'm not sure if these make the habit more pernicious or less), take a picture of his impatient self, and feel, well, rather more wrinkled and middle aged than not as he heads off to the bus stop. And I try strenuously to put out of my mind my unfortunate breakfast reading, which centered on middle school power plays. Augh. I tell myself with rather more bravado than conviction that Si's still too young for all of that. Or too oblivious. And I mean that as a compliment: obliviousness is a powerful social coping tool, one which I have kept sharp and well-polished.

I told him not to smile for this one. He's actually very excited.

Later this very morning, in fact, I bring it into play at the elementary school bus stop, when a gaggle of bus mothers from the neighborhood stand around chatting and their topics are: a) how underestimated their children are at school (our beloved school, which admittedly is bursting to the seams with Exceptional Children); b) how very very awful teacher X is and how both they and their children were thankful that they hadn't gotten teacher X this year (Teacher X was ours last year, and while he was not without flaws, I thought he was sweet and gentle and fine); and c) crazy ex-husbands shacking up with crazier girlfriends.

Also very excited. And maybe got a up a mite too early.

Ai yi yi. It reminded me why usually I say a polite hello and bust obliviously on home.

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