Recently a friend of mine went to Burning Man and had what I can only assume was an insanely over-the-top, memory-making, and slightly illegal time. She was gone for a week, and as the days passed, from time to time I thought of her. Each time I did think of her I (for some reason) pictured a tight rope, some stilts, an occasional tutu, and an enormous amount of glitter. I know she will be happy to hear that. While I was thinking of her I was usually doing something like scooping the motherfucking cat litter (cat animosity), cutting up cantaloupe for the kids, loading the dishwasher, or the ever-thrilling picking my tantruming 2 1/2 year old up off the floor so he doesn’t suffer a concussion. And I realized, in these moments, that I have lost the cool.
Now don’t give me shit for implying that at one time I was cool. I’ve never been Jack White cool or (according to the Google search “coolest woman ever”) Madonna cool. In fact, many people are cooler than I have ever been. Most of them have these edgy haircuts and look all self assured with their neck tattoos, and some of them actually eat fire. For fun. Because, apparently, eating fire can be fun. Eating brownies is fun, especially if they have frosting on top, but fire? Yeah . . .I don’t know about that. But I will say that anytime I have seen Flam Chen (our local fire-eating ladies) I have thought, “they are really fucking cool.” Actually, now that I think of it, I met one of them once and she was kind of a bitch to me and all uppity, even though she was really dirty and seemed to live in an abandoned warehouse with her small child. Suddenly I feel like I need a different example of cool.
I suppose that I have had that moment in life where I’ve realized that, from now on, no matter what, I am a mother. You know what I do to fill up time during the day? I grocery shop. I stalk the house like a caged animal, and while the kids are busy I watch 10 minutes of Veronica Mars (which is a really good show, and since I am lame, I am considering signing the petition for them to make a movie), because I don’t have the kind of time anymore that it takes to watch a movie, and if I am really feeling the time looming? I change my stupid status on Facebook. This is what has become of me. It isn’t that I am without perspective. I realize that I don’t have cancer, I’m not an amputee, I didn’t come from an underprivileged home filled with drugs and violence, neither of my children is ill, and we aren’t on, like, food stamps or anything. It’s just that, suddenly? I’m shopping for Spanx, not getting carded, and penciling in the bake sale at my son’s preschool. It’s all too much!
One of the coolest things that I have done in the last 4 years is once, when Luca had the flu, I actually managed to catch his vomit in my hands as it came out of his mouth. I didn’t even have to mop! Let’s see . . . I popped a rib out holding Luca too much a couple years ago and it hurt like hell, but I guess that could be construed as a little cool? Oh! And I found a spray that actually makes the smell of vomit or pee go away! It’s amazingly cool! I did manage to find a Trilobite and an Icthyosaurus for Rowan on this cool website that specializes in fossils and prehistoric beasts. Super cool. And I guess it is cool that I actually know what those things are. You probably don’t, which means I am a little bit cooler than you in that way. When electricity struck our house last year and killed most of our more beloved appliances, I managed to get a sweet deal on a T.V. at Best Buy when they were out of the one I wanted. That was totally cool. I’m still a C cup. Pretty cool. I managed to drain some spaghetti while nursing one of my kids once and it would have been cool if I hadn’t suffered a steam burn and almost dropped my baby.
But come to think of it, knowing my personality, some of the things that seem cool to me as an outside observer would drive me freaking crazy up close. For one, I don’t really like people all that much, so something like Burning Man would turn me into a twitchy lunatic. Being set on fire is a pretty big fear of mine, so fire-eating sort of loses street cred with me right there. I tried an edgy haircut once when I chopped my bangs really short (have you seen Amelie? She was adorable!), but it made me look bloated and a little slow. There are a lot of cool shows I could go see this fall, but it sort of bugs me to see concerts with a bunch of people that I don’t know but seem to like the same music as me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it makes me nauseous.
So where does that leave me? I’ll tell you where that leaves me. Sitting next to the boys with my head phones plugged into an episode of Veronica Mars (I swear, it is a really good show!) while they watch Martha Speaks, cleaning the smoothie off the wall, scheduling play dates, trying to stay up late enough to read a chapter of my book, deciding whether or not I should buy a pressure cooker, not being completely sure I know what a pressure cooker is, and feeling really uncool. And a little bloated. And old. Sigh. Maybe I need to get my hands on some glitter.