Sunday, November 26, 2006

Destination Anywhere

I went blitz-holiday shopping this afternoon while my son and husband were tucked into their respective beds for a winter nap. I came across a book of dirty quotes that I bought for my sister-in-law, a hip young thing. I found one I especially liked:

"I tell you, we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you different"- Kurt Vonnegut


Just about the time I tucked this book into my purse with its receipt, I was receiving a call on my home answering machine from Northwest Airlines telling me that my package had arrived at the Madison airport. The guy said It's leaking pink and green. We're not sure what to do with it. Please call us and let us know if you are going to pick it up.

Pick it up? Wasn't it the fools at Delta who were supposed to have A) gotten it on the right plane in the first place and B) at least try to deliver it or call me begging for forgiveness? It's enough to make you want to lie a bit... tell them the ice cream was for your Aunt Bessie in the nursing home and how disappointed she'd be.

But no, I called and told them to throw it away, as long as I could use their name to corroborate my loss report so I didn't have to jackass across town with my digital camera to photograph the pink and green puddle (Wicked Witch of the West after consuming Pepto Bismol?)


I returned home to find that my ever-industrious across-the-way neighbor had been at it with the holiday decorating. His house is quite primped and lit and symmetrical with its garlands and bows and lights. I can only think he must look over to our darkened house with disappointment (or, perhaps, relief-- my husband installed energy-saver flourescent bulbs outside and we mostly forget to turn them off, which means that our house is forever bathed in that pale, flickery light most often reserved for the outsides of jails and big-box parking lots).

Now that it is dark just before 5pm here, my son is quite captivated driving around town, especially now that people have begun the bedecking of their houses with all manner of lights and snowmen and tableaus of white deer in silhouette. The poor thing-- he almost doesn't know where to look, there's so much going on.


The other thing is that we have been patching my son's strong eye for the past three weeks, hoping that we can strengthen the weaker one. Apparently it's pretty effective, and many kids end up doing it at one time or another. Still, there's something almost sad about having to do it. I know that he will be better for it, he will see better for it, and it is better to do now than when he is 7 and some dopey kid gives him shit about being a pirate or something.

In order to get him to stay still while we put the patch on, we give him two M&M's minis which he joyfully chomps on before revealing a green or blue grin. I ordered these special patches online which are decorated with, variously, stick figures, ladybugs, dalmation spots and the like. Other kids seem to think it's just a big sticker. Though apparently a 5-year-old at the playground this morning accused my son of being a pirate and said that he must be slain. Umm, ok. Get your wacko kid away from mine.

He seems to see not too badly (or at least compensates for it well enough) out of the unpatched eye... obviously, though, his peripheral vision is affected. In some ways he compensates almost too well, which makes me let my guard down. At a playground the other day he walked directly into a woman carrying an infant carrier because he simply didn't see her.

At any rate, he seems much less self-conscious about the whole thing than I do for him. At the very least, he seems to have no concept of how long he's been patched or how long into the future it will continue. He seems to measure things by the pairs of M&M's which come twice daily like tides. Vision is the least of it.


I've always loved people and things that are a little off-kilter. That's one of the reasons I love nicknames-- real nicknames, the earned ones.

I met up with a girlfriend this afternoon and she told me that she had given her daughter an unfortunate haircut. Her new nickname for her daughter is McGuyver, after the eponymous TV show.

My son's nicknames are of an evolving nature. There's the diminutive of his name. Then we turned to Muck-a-muck, which is one of the nonsense syllables he ran around saying at 12 months "muck-a-muck-a-muck-a-muck-a-muck". Today he is I HEART MUCKABEES, a combination of the previous Muck and the wonderfully helium-inspired movie I HEART HUCKABEES where Mark Wahlberg and Jason Schwarzman end up beating the crap out of each other with inflatible pom-pom balls.

One day my son will be able to pronounce his own name. He will stand behind it with all seriousness. I remember giving him that name and at first being so shocked that this little being had this serious, official existence. Now, the shock of the arrival has faded and we are left with this little muck (muecke is the german word for mosquito) who buzzes around us and points out the lights.

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