I'm sitting with my three-year-old son in the long, mosquito thick grass of our front lawn.
The grass has gotten to such an unruly length because I accidentally mowed over the cord that ran from the garage to the burlap coffee filter my wife absently indicates by muttering, "pool".
There was a tremendous whipping, screaming sound, and in one moment, I simultaneously destroyed the lawn mower's cutting system and the various filters and pumps keeping the pool from becoming merely a chilly toilet bowl.
"Crusher?" my son asks.
"Yeah, Rock Monster?"
Lately he has insisted we pretend to be violent, grotesque monsters who speak only in guttural pidgin English.
As we stomp our way around the yard, two beasts unleashed, he stops occasionally to pick a flower ("for Mommy" he growls) or to point out a Monarch butterfly settling on a blade of grass.
Crusher and Rock Monster, terrible to behold, but not utter savages.
He will not let me break character for anything. Whining about coffee, pleading for a bathroom break, suggesting lunch choices; it all has to be done in Crusher's caveman snarl.
"No, no-say it wike Crusher. Talk wike him."
When I am in the bathroom, I pretend I am a bachelor. Its fun to imagine I have the entirety of the day still to myself. Time is mine to waste. This is all you need to know about parenting. It involves hiding and pretending.
But even there, I am tapped for a performance.
"Crusher?? What are you dooooing?"
"I'm almost done."
"Talk wike Crusher."
I clear my throat and take things down to a gravelly octave.
"Me going potty."
Uproarious monster laughter from the other side, and then bam! on the door, fingers twisting at the handle.
Many of the door handles in our house do not operate as they should. They no longer open things, they only jut out like useless brass schnozzes.
Do people still call noses "schnozzes"?
I don't know. I am on the furthest ring of the solar system around what people say. By the time I catch wind of trendy doings in the vernacular, they've already been co-opted by the ad industry and slapped on the signs above the gas pumps or printed on T-shirts discarded in a dumpster behind T.J.Maxx.
The point I'm ambling towards is that Rock Monster can't get in to my sanctuary, but he does everything he can to assure me of his waiting presence. He's like a metaphor for God.
I have not written or drawn anything in months, but it has been for a very good reason.
I did not wanna.
Not really. I just don't have the jazz anymore.
It went the way of all impermanent things: out with the bathwater.
In an effort to reignite the spark, I started to keep a diary of my thoughts. That took about one entry, and then I had the whole rest of the composition book to fill up.
Sentence fragments and dead ends litter the pages now like creative dry heaves.
"Here Mike, read this." My student Marcy shoves a crumpled piece of lined paper under my writing hand.
Marcy has been having what we in the industry call "a very bad year". Every day, she tries to push as many buttons as she can find: hitting, pushing, yelling, swearing.
She tried to injure herself with a soft plastic garbage tie, ineffectually mashing the bendy corners along her forearm.
When she realized a nearby pair of scissors would do a better job, things got a little wrestley.
The note reads: "Hey Mike. My pee hurts again. I'm sorry, but it does. I cleaned my room last night." Smiley face. Heart. And a "Love, Marcy."
She often blames her troubled behavior on urinary tract infections.
I had to block a door to keep her from bursting in and smacking kids, and the whole time she was just screaming, "I HAVE A U.T.I.!" and kicking the door with her foot.
I don't know. Things are about the same.
These past few months have felt like they are missing something for me, and I am not sure if that something is Gweenbrick.
But if possible, and if you can keep your expectations super duper low, I would like to drop a few kids off at this blogging pool once and awhile.
Talk to you soon.