Beyond The Stockade There Is Chaos And Nothingness
Thursday, May 08, 2003 I've been following with some degree of interest the procreation debate in Salon. I was sort of surprised, I guess, that they were unable to find anyone at all (according to the editor) to write about regretting having kids. Not even anonymously? Wow. Especially since they also quoted that Ann Landers column where she asked her readers if they had it to do over again would they still have them, and 70 percent of the respondants said "no". Seems like someone out there would be willing to offer up that side of things. The interviewer and her subject mused that it was "too hurtful" and that the only way someone would write about it and let it be published on the web is if the parent/child relationship was in a state of total collapse.
You know, I don't know if I agree with that. I would actually be intrigued if my mother admitted that she would really have rather done something else with her life. I don't even think it would hurt my feelings - how could it? I guess if she said she hated me that would be one thing, but otherwise how can you take something like that personally? My mother didn't exist before me? I'm pretty sure that my mom has actually been envious of some of the choices that I have made in my life, i.e., very specifically, divorcing someone who was pretty much exactly like my dad (whoops) (note to self: when the warning signals are coming straight at you 90 miles an hour with sirens and horns blaring on a clear day at noon, pay attention to that). I think she saw me take the path that she couldn't, and frankly the most meaningful thing my mother ever said to me was "I don't blame you".
(Side note: My mom and dad get along great now. They are still married and have been for 38 years, they have friends and go ballroom dancing and travel a bit and generally enjoy each other's company. But I know that due to my father's lifelong depression, the path that got them there was very hard and their current relationship didn't emerge until I was already out of the house.)
So I guess it wouldn't surprise me if she said the same thing about having kids. Maybe it's because I experienced that rare moment with my mother when I was able to see her as someone who made a choice (to stay with my dad for better or for worse) rather than just my mom, and to understand that that wasn't personal and it had nothing to do with me, even though if she'd left my dad it's likely I would not have been born. I'm pretty sure I could never have a conversation with her that would include the question "do you regret having kids", but I'm able to wonder without worrying about my ego being bruised if she's ever truly wished that.
I don't have kids, so I don't know anything about what it's like to have kids. What I do know is that sometime in the next, say, 5 years (to be generous about just how wide open that window still is) that decision will be made. And I also know that I really pretty much like my life the way it is. I am definitely missing that thing that makes me really want one of those. I don't even want a dog because they smell and are too much trouble. But I also think I would be a great parent (and I also love dogs).
I guess to "regret" and to say "I wish I made a different choice" can be different things. To "regret" implies that you really hate the way things are now, whereas you have some wiggle room with wishing things were different. Maybe that's what they can't get anyone to say, and I don't think it has anything to do with the disintegration of the parent/child relationship as much as it does with being able to be honest with oneself. When the interviewee said it would be too "hurtful" to admit regret I wish she had been more specific about that. Hurtful to who? The child or the mother? I'm aware that there are bad parents out there, and I'm aware that there are people who just should not be parents under any circumstances, but I only have 4 minutes left today before I get in my car and go home (where I keep my poisins under the sink and my knives in easy reach) so let's just say I'm thinking only about the kind of people Salon might approach to report on regretful parenting.
I'd really like to see the results of that can of worms being opened.
posted by [AOK] | 5:05 PM
Interest Level: Moderate
There is a guy whose blog consists of photos of what he ate for lunch every day since February 28.
I admit! I'm losing steam here! I'll do what I can, but I make no promises.
Part of the problem is that I actually have been moderately busy at work, and since I can't be bothered to do things on my own time I can claim that, in a sense, I just don't have time.
I went for a walk today at lunch around the neighborhood my company sits on the edge of. Skokie is really not an attractive town. (Sorry, kids). It was a good walk, though, as lots of things are blooming despite the fact that it's now almost mid-May and we really haven't had that many warm and/or nice days yet. Today is actually not all that nice, nor was yesterday. During my walk I saw a bunch of kids, about 5 years old or so, all wearing yamulkes and gathered around a corner of blue tarp where they had trapped a beetle and were poking it with a stick while their teacher screamed herself hoarse behind them.
Crap. You see, this is the problem. I sit down to start writing something and I get three fucking emails asking me about shit that's going to take me hours and will be painfully tedious to complete.
posted by [AOK] | 2:33 PM
Tuesday, May 06, 2003 Know what I did today?
I cleaned my desk. I cleaned my desk because my boss said I was making him nervous, and usually I would have blown that off except that my review is coming up in 2 weeks.
I actually haven't had a lot of time to post anything this week, so let's have a review of my weekend:
Friday evening I ordered and picked up food from Hema's (saag paneer, lamb vindaloo, veggie and meat pakoras, dal makhni, rice, bread, mmmmmm) then put it in the fridge and went out for a drink. Came home and ate it. Went to bed.
Saturday evening rented Waking Life, chose a random card from a deck that indicated I was supposed to buy cheeses that started with the letter "C" for dinner, so I did (an Irish aged cheddar, a German soft blue called Camonzola, and an Italian sheep's milk cheese called Caciocavallo). The movie was pretty interesting and I have some things to say about it but I don't know if I'll get to it today. Had a very stoned moment, impossible to relate out of context and involving a salmon mcnugget (though not in a way you might imagine) that caused me to almost snort said mcnugget out through my nose. Saturday was a nice day which meant that those we from the east coast call (with no hint of affection at all) "chowdaheads" were out in full force, and I came close to beating a woman senseless in Whole Foods with a loaf of frozen brioche.
I really really really hate shopping at Whole Foods, but they have a good cheese selection.
Sunday my friends had friends in town, and we and another friend ate a sandy yet delicious meal on the beach and proved ourselves to be very hardy individuals indeed. Sunday has been the only not-nice day we've had in the last 4.
Last night, which is not the weekend but sort of behaved like one, we saw our friend's opening night production of The Lady From Dubuque. There were lots of things that were good about it and a couple of things that weren't great but didn't completely suck, and really the main problems are with the script which is, well, a little hollow. Our friend is by far the star, and he was quite excellent.
We all know this is filler so I'm going to see if there's anything I need to do here before I go home for the day...Dinner tonight is Vietnamese crab and mung bean vermicelli stir fry, which we are making before we watch 24.
posted by [AOK] | 4:39 PM