12 april 1999  

symptoms and excuses

There must be a name for what I’m feeling. To call it Daddybrain is too vague, conveying nothing of the fatigue, the bewildering lack of focus, or the compelling urge to throw in the towel. This is what happens when you spend 12-14 hours a day with a seven-year-old girl, and you do it five days in a row.

But it’s a blessing, you’ll tell me, a glorious chance to be with my only child during those irretrievable years that go by in a flash, those halcyon days of innocent childhood. Fuck you.

Yeah sure okay fine. That’s all true, they’re halcyon, they’re innocent, and they go by in a flash – IN RETROSPECT. When you’re actually living them it can be like watching a haircut if you have anything you call an attention span. I’ve got an attention span, a big sticky one that can keep me oblivious to the world if I let spare meit, but over this past week it’s been drying up for lack of a surface to adhere to.

When you’re trying to concentrate and do hard work like, say, writing or bowling is, interruptions are a thorough vexation, a bane, and if given the time and opportunity to accumulate, for even a gentle fellow, say, like myself, unrelenting interruption will begin to piss the fuckin’ goddamn shit out of you.

Are you beginning to sense that I have some feelings about this?

If you’re a gentle sort you keep it to yourself. You do not kick the paperboy across the room or slam the door in the cat’s face. You simply gird your loins and return to the hypnotic blink of the cursor.

And when the interruptions come from an innocent child in her halcyon days, well, you explain that you’re working, you give her the Twinkie she's asking for (which, to make her even more endearing, she calls a Twinkly), you send her back to watch more Scooby-Doo and then you grind your teeth into tiny coffee-stained nubs.

I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for an adult conversation to help put some traction under these wheels in my head. I can count the uninterrupted face-to-face adult conversations I’ve had over the past year on the hangnails of one finger. I’ve promised myself that I’m going to have two complete conversations in a row in September.

It’ll be September of 2010, the year Amy goes off to college, but I’m darn near certain I can do it.

I used to have great conversations – late night kitchen table mindfests where futures were plotted and dreams unfurled for friends to see. Occasionally there were gasps.

Not anymore.

I may decide to stop thinking altogether. I’d certainly feel better. There would be no more thwarted attempts to connect with other grownups on any level beyond mundane surface talk like what’s for dinner or how ‘bout those Dodgers. There would be no more frustration at being interrupted because there’d be nothing to interrupt. I’d just be there. For everyone. I could get the important stuff done, like grocery shopping, yard work, and shepherding Amy through her homework, all without any of that pesky life-examining bother. The house would be in order, the cabinets organized, and just look at that shine!

The shocking infrequency of my adult intercourse really hit home for me when I was trying to remember my last real face-to-face adult talk. It took me a while before I realized it was with Bill Gallagher. Two weeks ago. Is there something wrong when the only way you can engage in discourse is by scavenging for it out in the streets?

"Psst. Hey, buddy. Spare a verb?"

Some guy who looks like he’s loaded with time will look me up and down and say, "Sorry. I give all my ideas at the office."

I admit it. I look needy.

I’m lucky I remember still form how to sentences.

* * * * * * *

I am adding a couple of new sidebar features. In light of the moods I’ve been in lately, it may come as no surprise that I’ve chosen to include "today’s excuse" and "today’s symptom" as instruments to help gauge the current conditions of your not-always-congenial host. For those of you prone to hypochondria or sympathetic pain, be careful – some of the items listed may be contagious. I don’t know how long these features will last, as I suspect they may be a reaction to the general illiterate malaise I find myself in these days. If I can’t spin English all around good, maybe I can distract you with fluff and giggles. Then you’ll love me, right?

today's music:

"When The Circus Comes" -- Los Lobos -- JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM EAST L.A.


today's wisdom:

""You know you can catch cold sitting around in damp things especially when you been exercising hard like bowling is."

- Stanley Kowalski


today's excuse:



today's symptom: