Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Working on Chapter 9 of my book right now.
"Who's got PMA out there right now?" the peppy cheerleading professional asked us in the high-pitched bark of a Jack Russell. By "PMA" he meant "positive mental attitude," of course. Just the mention of such an important bellwether of a cheerleader's essential vitality sent the whole camp into a nearly orgasmic demonstration of their unmitigated zeal for the day ahead, with some stepping forward out of the crowd here and there to more safely complete a toe-touch or round-off back handspring without kicking someone's teeth out, with girls searching their relatively uncluttered brains for some adequate means of demonstrating just how completely positive and totally overwhelmingly psyched they all were to be there, together, trampling the dew-covered grass as one in the premature heat of a summer morning.
Friday, September 18, 2009
BEST NANNY IN THE UNIVERSE
So, your friend in L.A. is about to have a baby, or she just had one. She's not sure what to do about daycare. She calls you, sounding tired and worried. Or maybe she's too tired and worried to call.
I have a special gift for your friend in L.A.! I have the phone number of the Best Nanny In The Known Universe. Juana took care of both of my daughters when they were very small. She understands babies. Babies understand her. Babies relax and smile in her presence, making it easier for their (far less understanding and patient) mothers to scurry off to their (often seemingly pointless and taxing) full-time jobs.
Handing your baby over to another human being, whether it's a nanny or a daycare worker, can be totally heartbreaking. But if that human being is the Best Nanny In The Known Universe, it's not quite as difficult, because your baby likes her better than you. If you're strong enough to tolerate that fact, then I have the nanny for you. Also, if you hate the idea of having a nanny around, but like the idea of having someone who's really smart and self-possessed and low-key and capable, helping you out and taking care of your baby when you really, really need to take a nap or get a little work done or just leave the house for a few minutes, then, yes, I have the nanny for you.
Settling for a half-assed nanny or a chaotic baby room staffed by overwhelmed, overworked caretakers is seriously depressing. It's like a trip to Disneyland: absurdly overpriced and totally soul-sucking.
You know what's the exact opposite of that? Hiring the Best Nanny In The Universe.
Email me (rabbit at rabbit blog dot com) and I'll give you her magic number. Lucky you!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
It's good to know that you southern Californians have escaped incineration by towering columns of hot gas that consumed the surrounding scrub-covered hillsides of creosote bush and sage. We need you, us sweltering southerners, in our too soggy to burn landscaping, termite feasts passing as houses and damp linen suits. You remind us that not everyone has to go around biting their lip while boorish co-workers go on about how "Joe Wilson told Obama what for."
Just watch out for the mudslides when the rains come.
But here in soggyland, I still have a problem, and not a pretty one. That of the dating 50-something. Our salt and pepper hair and firmly established careers (secured by golden handcuffs) are supposed to give us that air of serenity that comes with approaching mortality. But we have empty nests. And our exes have moved to other cities, leaving us free to mingle without the encumbrance of those icy stares. Yet dating is still pretty much the same game, in essence, that it was in the 9th grade. The one you like doesn't like you. Why do my calls go straight to voice mail? She's leaving town again this weekend. You get the idea.
Here's to the hope that some rock hurtling through space will take care of this planet's human infestation. It's really the only answer that appears plausible at present.
Soggy in Soggy Bottom
Since the rules of the game are the same as they were in the 9th grade, let me give you the same advice I'd give a 9th grader, since you've probably long since forgotten them, and since most people never learn any of them in the first place. There are lots of reasons she might not like you, and the vast majority of them have nothing to do with you. Sure, she might not like you because you smell, but she also might not like you because she's stupid.
We always factor out the bad taste of the object of our desire. We desire them because we imagine that they have good taste, that they think the way we think, that they are special in a myriad of ways, subtle and sacred. But maybe this person just doesn't value smarts and a good sense of humor (assuming you have these things). Maybe you're dashing and sweet but she doesn't really go in for dashing and sweet. Maybe she prefers brutish and lumpy.
And never underestimate how flinchy and unnerved most people feel, especially when they're older, when someone is giving them a lot of attention. Isn't this unnecessary? Shouldn't I just go it alone? His gaze reminds me that I haven't bothered to brush my hair today. Wouldn't I rather be eating a nice bowl of cereal in my soft pants? The existential angst sheds a curious, warped light on the whole question of dating. Do I want to put up with someone's bullshit for the few years that I have left?
Not that you're THAT old in your fifties. But people are more suspicious. Maybe there's something in your ardor that feels a little bit desperate. Now, see, that's bad advice for anyone: Don't seem so desperate. I fucking hate people who tell you that. But I am desperate, you want to say. Who doesn't want love in their lives? Come on, motherfuckers! If the prospect of true love doesn't make you shake and sweat, what exactly is wrong with you?
The sorry fact remains that people don't like people who are maybe too fixated on salvation via another human being. And unfortunately, the people who DO like people who are fixated on love are sometimes just a little off-kilter as well, a little depressed about impending death (or impending PSAT tests, if you're in the 9th grade) or the gloomy specter of continued loneliness. And there's nothing bad about that, necessarily. If you're a little gloomy, then gloomy may be your love match. I know I've dated a few torturously sunny men and to them, I was just one big overthinking bummer. That's no way to live.
But I guess what I'm saying is, don't confuse other sources of depression or angst with loneliness. It's easy, as a romantic, to assume that you're down because you're lonely, when really, you're down because you have to make your peace with your place in the motherfucking universe. Personally, I would advise you to sign up for more of the sorts of activities, private and public, that address your growing need for solace and hope and self-soothing. I would make that your primary goal. And make dating more of a passing fancy, secondary to your personal trajectory as an individual.
Also, it cannot be said enough: You have to exercise a lot. Not primarily to avoid a saggy ass (although that IS a noble goal), but to keep yourself upbeat in the face of old age, bad dating prospects, and ignorant rednecks. And exercise is the only cure for unnecessary swooning. It makes the mind less obsessive, less broody.
Above all, remember: Rejection isn't personal. It always feels like the MOST personal thing, but it isn't. Often, people don't like you because they're not people you would be crazy about, either, if you got to know them a little better. Don't waste your time on people who don't like you or at least don't seem to be really excited to see you again. It's a big drag on your energy, and you deserve better. You're a fine young(ish) rabbit, rakishly draped in linen, composed and confident, unconcerned with the naysayers, undaunted by the sands slipping through the hour glass. You have faith in yourself, you are daring and witty, and you are destined for greatness, even now.
Good luck out there, Mr. McSoggerson. I salute you!